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Eagle94-A1

Parent Wars: The Helicopter Strikes Back

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I was not at summer camp the entire week, just the last night since I was picking up Scouts. But I had a chat with the Acting SM about incidents that happened this week regarding one of the helicopter parents. This is the one who allows his son to sneak into the tent with him. Dad who is a MC, allowed his son to sneak into his tent the entire week they were in tents. Then both of them went off site one nite to stay in a hotel.

This is the Scout who has been in the troop  over a year. All of the camp outs he's been to he has either A) snuck out and slept with dad, B) had dad stay outside his tent until he fell asleep, or C) whined and left early. SM has had 2 conferences with the Scout in regards to the matter for Tenderfoot and Second Class. Scout was suppose to stop the matter, and it was after the 2nd Class SMC that the dad stayed outside the tent. Since being given Second Class, he has continued to sneak in or whined about the camp and left early.

And then both of them left to stay overnite in a hotel. They didn't tell anyone they were doing this until they had arrived at the hotel. Mom and Cub brother showed up early for Family nite at camp. Apparently they got a hotel room nearby. When they had to leave, they went to the hotel instead of driving 4+ hours home. Understandable, but the dad and Scout should have remained at camp.

I've commented on the problem in the past and have gotten little to no support on the matter from the other adults. I've even caught hell on the topic when I mentioned that camporees are Boy Scout events, not family events, and only Webelos would be allowed. I was told the troop is "family friendly." But one of the ironies from this week is the person that made the comment is the acting SM from summer camp. I think he is slowly seeing how family camping is causing problems to the patrol method.

Another irony, one I am proud of, is the Scout with the documented medical condition. This is the Scout who must have a parent with him just in case. For a year, he was sleeping in dad's tent in case of an emergency. Last camp out the troop went on, he stayed his with his patrol mates! Then for summer camp, he stayed in a tent with another patrol mate! Grant you dad was in the next tent over. But this Scout is slowly getting what he wants; independence.

 

 

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Parents who don’t understand the objective of programs are challenging because they don’t take the process seriously. I learned to work straight with parents to color in the vision. Either they relented, or they chose to leave. We never asked a single family to leave, but we gave them choices. 

I can’t see your troop’s situation improving until the strong adults agree to a program goal or vision. Either a family program, or a patrol method program. Until they decide, leaders will be frustrated. 

Barry

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So this is an 11 or 12-year-old? What reasoning does he give for not being able to spend the night in his own tent?

More to my way of thinking, what do his fellow Scouts say about this? They’ve got to notice. Anyone in my day who couldn’t do a night in their own tent and needed to physically sleep with a parent would have gotten made fun of to no end, thus solving the problem pretty quickly. Either the Scout’s behavior would change or he would leave the troop.

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

I can’t see your troop’s situation improving until the strong adults agree to a program goal or vision. Either a family program, or a patrol method program. Until they decide, leaders will be frustrated. 

SM and ASM at camp will be having a talk with them. Both are on the record as being for "family friendly," but I think they are now seeing the disadvantages of such a policy. I hope the adults buckle down and get with the Boy Scout program.

 

53 minutes ago, shortridge said:

So this is an 11 or 12-year-old? What reasoning does he give for not being able to spend the night in his own tent?

He's afraid.  Heck he had his entire patrol in one shelter, and dad still had to sit outside the shelter. I was told by another adult that the entire family still sleeps in one room at home, but that is hearsay.

53 minutes ago, shortridge said:

More to my way of thinking, what do his fellow Scouts say about this? They’ve got to notice. Anyone in my day who couldn’t do a night in their own tent and needed to physically sleep with a parent would have gotten made fun of to no end, thus solving the problem pretty quickly. Either the Scout’s behavior would change or he would leave the troop.

Under the new Youth Protection guidelines,  making fun of the scout would be considered peer to peer abuse, and would have to be reported to national and the local council. ;)  Seriously, nothing is being said to him directly as far as I know. Part of that may be the Scout with an actual medical condition, the one who IS slowly getting away from day because he HATES  not being with his buddies. Part of it may be that 1/2 his patrol came from the same den, and they are use to the dad doing this. part of it may be that he is sneaking in so late at night, some of the others do not notice.

But I know several Scouts are extremely angry about the situation since he is Second Class, and they feel he has not truly earned it. They feel he was rewarded for his behavior and do not want him in their patrol.

Summer camp SM was surprised when I reminded him he is Second Class. Another ASM, the one who organizes HA trips has stated he will not be coming on any of his treks until he can camp without dad.

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How does he earn 2nd Class if he refuses to spend the night in a tent he pitched or other structure he helped erect?

And removing a Scout from a campout without informing the SPL or SM beforehand should have resulted in an immediate disinvite of the dad to any future outings.

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1 hour ago, LVAllen said:

How does he earn 2nd Class if he refuses to spend the night in a tent he pitched or other structure he helped erect?

That is a question for the SM as he is the one who signed off on it. Unfortunately in my troop only the adults and JASMs can sign off, not PLs or SPL. And the ASM responsible for the Scout;s patrol is the summer camp SM, and did not realize he is 2nd Class.

1 hour ago, LVAllen said:

And removing a Scout from a campout without informing the SPL or SM beforehand should have resulted in an immediate disinvite of the dad to any future outings.

I think that is one of the issues to be discussed. I told the SM my concerns regarding the Scout tenting with him and the MC's reliability when someone id depending upon him. At camporee, he was suppose to set up and run an event for me all day. Instead he got someone else to run the event while he went fishing with his Cub Scout son. He committed to running the event 6-8 months prior to the camporee. The fishing derby was announced the week before, and over the camporee chiefs objections. And as I have mentioned, he has left early from camp outs in the past. IMHO, I cannot rely on him. 

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No, you can’t rely on him in that case.

My son has a boy in his patrol like this— he’s nearly twelve and has yet to tent with his patrol.  He sleeps in his dads tent on all campouts (Dad is an ASM).  It is what it is.  The other boys don’t make fun of him, but they don’t seek him out to do anything with either.  Outside of specific, organized events, he’s a nonentity to them.  So, for example, they include him on patrol hikes, but nobody is inviting him to play catch or cards.  It’s the logical result of his isolation from his patrol, frankly.

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When I was a scout, I think boys like this were the ones who got severely homesick or never came camping. I wonder if they had dads like these, whatever nuisance it is to the SM, they might have stuck around enough to enjoy troop life by age 15/16. Such a dad was unheard of in my day. Heck, the one dad ASM was an odd duck (but a very nice one).

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Challenge is that dad not only does not help, but encourages the boy sneaking out of the tent and sleeping with him. One time I tried to talk to the Scout into going back to his survival shelter instead of abandoning his patrol mate in the next shelter. dad sat there, didn't say a word until I commented that the trip would not count towards advancement. That got dad's dander up. That episode led to other Scouts congregating around the MC and his son that weekend. On another trip, when the son sneaked out, he point blank stated to the Scouters there that if his son wanted to sleep in his tent he would not talk him out of it.

 

I should add, this is the same family that on several occasions showed up with their Tiger and camped with the troop. Tiger has been a distraction and has interfered not only with the patrol in the troop, but other troops as well as since he was not supervised.

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7 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I should add, this is the same family that on several occasions showed up with their Tiger and camped with the troop. Tiger has been a distraction and has interfered not only with the patrol in the troop, but other troops as well as since he was not supervised.

There’s “family friendly,” and there’s “this is nuts.” Unfortunately, it sounds like they’ve laid the ground work and established precedent for this kind of disruptive behavior, and that your unit leadership is OK with it. That’s hard to overcome.

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I know a couple kids like this.  Sometimes it's mom that makes dad go on every trip, sometimes it's not mom'd directive.  Regardless, I agree with eagledad about parents not understanding the program....or in this case even what I would argue one of the aims of scouts... to foster self confidence and just plain ole growing up.  It could also be some bullying or something happening, but more likely it's parents never letting their hatchling fly.

I've forgotten what your position is with the troop, but I'd say regardless of what it is, about the only thing I can think of is to find a way to discuss your concern with dad in a very questioning and friendly manner, I'm fairly sure that most dads would agree that they don't want their son's to be this way..... try to steer his line of thought towards purposely staying away from the camp outs for a while....in a way so that's it's kinda his idea if you know what I mean.  It might be a bit of a process because I think you'd have to fix it so that the SPL or one of the older scouts puts extra effort into secretly coddling the scout in question...making him feel welcome, not letting him have an opportunity to get lonely or bored, etc... and to be really inviting to the scout to camp with his patrol. 

I think a key in some of these cases is to get the kid to sleep before he's over tired.  I've seen this in one of my daughter's friends during sleepovers that never happen...

all that being considered, if the other scouters aren't supporting...or the dad isn't open to the idea... then move on, pick another battle, and just pray that the problem  works itself out eventually.... but don't worry about it.  You can only do what you can do....

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My wife "forced" me to go to summer camp with the oldest the first year, and is forcing me next year with the youngest. :) I've mentioned the Scout with the medical condition previously. He cannot camp unless dad is with him. And we have one other mom who forces dad, who is currently a MC and working on becoming an ASM, to go camping. Difference is that medical dad does not interfere and lets son do what he is suppose to do. Other dad went to camp, took classes, and only took pictures while at camp. He pretty much left son do his thing, and he did his. There is no bullying, and it seems as if the parents are not letting their son fly. I believe the SM was pressured by the parents to let him have a BOR for Second Class, and he gave in.

Currently I am an ASM. And I did try to discuss the matter with the dad twice. First time dad dind't say a word, and it went in one ear, out the other. The second time dad got defensive and threatened to leave with his son and family. This was at the camporee I was running, and he was suppose to run one of the key events at the camporee .I walked off since I had bigger issues to deal with at the camporee. I brought the matter to the other Scouters in the unit, and they thought it was no big deal.  If I would have known he was going to skip out 1/2 the day like he did, I would have told him to leave.

 

1 hour ago, blw2 said:

all that being considered, if the other scouters aren't supporting...or the dad isn't open to the idea... then move on, pick another battle, and just pray that the problem  works itself out eventually.... but don't worry about it.  You can only do what you can do....

 That is what I am trying to do. But the problem seems to be getting worse. That family keeps coming on camp outs. And the troop is not doign a camp out next month. Instead a "group of families" are going whitewater rafting. This was something the Scouts picked to do, and was turned into a family event. While my middle son would love to go, he when he was told it's family event, he decided not to go. And there are others who want to go, but because it is a family camp out and a parent needs to go, they cannot go.

And then there is the issue of dad and son staying in a hotel one night during summer camp with mom and little brother.

 

Funny idea popped into my head of doing a lost camper drill next time this happens. wake up the entire troop and send out search parties to look for him.

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On 7/8/2018 at 9:18 AM, Eagle94-A1 said:

I was not at summer camp the entire week, just the last night since I was picking up Scouts. But I had a chat with the Acting SM about incidents that happened this week regarding one of the helicopter parents. This is the one who allows his son to sneak into the tent with him. Dad who is a MC, allowed his son to sneak into his tent the entire week they were in tents. Then both of them went off site one nite to stay in a hotel.

This is the Scout who has been in the troop  over a year. All of the camp outs he's been to he has either A) snuck out and slept with dad, B) had dad stay outside his tent until he fell asleep, or C) whined and left early. SM has had 2 conferences with the Scout in regards to the matter for Tenderfoot and Second Class. Scout was suppose to stop the matter, and it was after the 2nd Class SMC that the dad stayed outside the tent. Since being given Second Class, he has continued to sneak in or whined about the camp and left early.

And then both of them left to stay overnite in a hotel. They didn't tell anyone they were doing this until they had arrived at the hotel. Mom and Cub brother showed up early for Family nite at camp. Apparently they got a hotel room nearby. When they had to leave, they went to the hotel instead of driving 4+ hours home. Understandable, but the dad and Scout should have remained at camp.

I've commented on the problem in the past and have gotten little to no support on the matter from the other adults. I've even caught hell on the topic when I mentioned that camporees are Boy Scout events, not family events, and only Webelos would be allowed. I was told the troop is "family friendly." But one of the ironies from this week is the person that made the comment is the acting SM from summer camp. I think he is slowly seeing how family camping is causing problems to the patrol method.

Another irony, one I am proud of, is the Scout with the documented medical condition. This is the Scout who must have a parent with him just in case. For a year, he was sleeping in dad's tent in case of an emergency. Last camp out the troop went on, he stayed his with his patrol mates! Then for summer camp, he stayed in a tent with another patrol mate! Grant you dad was in the next tent over. But this Scout is slowly getting what he wants; independence.

 

 

Is there something wrong with the first kid? Autism spectrum maybe?  Or does he really hate camping? 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, LVAllen said:

How does he earn 2nd Class if he refuses to spend the night in a tent he pitched or other structure he helped erect?

And removing a Scout from a campout without informing the SPL or SM beforehand should have resulted in an immediate disinvite of the dad to any future outings.

He can help to set up his dad's tent.....

 

Parents are always welcome at activities. You can't ban them for anything other than YPT. 

Edited by perdidochas

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20 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

That is a question for the SM as he is the one who signed off on it. Unfortunately in my troop only the adults and JASMs can sign off, not PLs or SPL. And the ASM responsible for the Scout;s patrol is the summer camp SM, and did not realize he is 2nd Class.

I think that is one of the issues to be discussed. I told the SM my concerns regarding the Scout tenting with him and the MC's reliability when someone id depending upon him. At camporee, he was suppose to set up and run an event for me all day. Instead he got someone else to run the event while he went fishing with his Cub Scout son. He committed to running the event 6-8 months prior to the camporee. The fishing derby was announced the week before, and over the camporee chiefs objections. And as I have mentioned, he has left early from camp outs in the past. IMHO, I cannot rely on him. 

How many scouts do you have in a tent? Is he deserting his buddy when he sleeps in his dad's tent? 

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