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Gender Identity Issue

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6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

This is exactly why I am against the BSA accepting transgender and gay youth. Volunteers now feel licensed and privileged to encourage youth toward a lifestyle that may only be a phase or a mental health condition ...

Barry, you do know that being gay or transgender is not a mental illness, right?

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I would emphasize @Cambridgeskip point.... talk with the scout FIRST before telling the parents. If the scout is comfortable with a discussion with the parents... great!  My guess is that is probably the case but it is good to check.  If they tell you to not tell their parents, then pull in your DE/SE for support.  You will need professional support.

Some parents are NOT understanding and can be physically and emotionally abusive.  If a scout believes he is safe confiding something to his Troop, goes home to find out a parent was told, and they beat the crap out of him it could be psychologically damaging.  Again, that is probably not the case but I would recommend double checking first.

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48 minutes ago, shortridge said:

Barry, you do know that being gay or transgender is not a mental illness, right?

I think Barry is concerned about some more nefarious https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria

The worse thing one could do is think glibly "Oh, here's a budding LGBTQIA." When in fact there is a youth who is trying to quell some more brutal dissatisfaction.

 

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

I think Barry is concerned about some more nefarious https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria

The worse thing one could do is think glibly "Oh, here's a budding LGBTQIA." When in fact there is a youth who is trying to quell some more brutal dissatisfaction.

 

There are definitely worse things than that and scouters should be careful to not self appoint themselves as Psychologists.  No issue with discussions with the parents (if Scout is ok with that) and COR to ensure the unit can provide the scout a safe scouting experience.  

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39 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

There are definitely worse things than that and scouters should be careful to not self appoint themselves as Psychologists.  No issue with discussions with the parents (if Scout is ok with that) and COR to ensure the unit can provide the scout a safe scouting experience.  

Both the scouts and parents knew when they joined the troop that there would be no secrets between the scout leaders and parents.

Scouting is not a safe place when any Scout Leader puts themselves above the parents. Such self-righteous arrogance only leads to trouble and possible harm. observing hundreds of difficult struggles over the years, I can't think of a single one that was better when the parents where the last ones to know. But I can think of many that would not have raised to level it did if the parents were brought in sooner.

That being said, our troop experienced many abuse situations, so lets not assume naivety on the subject. I have been called by the local police in the middle of the night to help with family abuse issues.

I also have observed a lot of mental illness issues over the years and to just push off these things as simple life choices is naive and dangerous. Adults should have more compassion for youth.

Barry 

 

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If a scout does not want their parents to know of this situation then a leader should pull in a professional scouter.  This could be evidence of a scout who is in an abusive relationship at home (or many other reasons) and I wouldn’t expect any volunteer to have to navigate the situation.  Ignoring a scout who tells you not to tell their parents and simply going over their head is irresponsible and possibly dangerous.

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2 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

If a scout does not want their parents to know of this situation then a leader should pull in a professional scouter.  This could be evidence of a scout who is in an abusive relationship at home (or many other reasons) and I wouldn’t expect any volunteer to have to navigate the situation.  Ignoring a scout who tells you not to tell their parents and simply going over their head is irresponsible and possibly dangerous.

I disagree.  This Scout is not 18 years old and as someone here already said "We are not psychologists" so yes the Scout's guardians in this case, his parents should be informed.  This might be a way of this Scout reaching out for help.  I would have a discussion with the Scout and obtain as much information as possible before talking to the parents in an attempt to eliminate home abuse.  I for one am not willing to take on the responsibility of not telling the Scout's legal guardian and then something happens and the parents come back at me for knowing and not saying something. I am not sure BSA would defend me either.

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8 minutes ago, Ranman328 said:

I disagree.  This Scout is not 18 years old and as someone here already said "We are not psychologists" so yes the Scout's guardians in this case, his parents should be informed.  This might be a way of this Scout reaching out for help.  I would have a discussion with the Scout and obtain as much information as possible before talking to the parents in an attempt to eliminate home abuse.  I for one am not willing to take on the responsibility of not telling the Scout's legal guardian and then something happens and the parents come back at me for knowing and not saying something. I am not sure BSA would defend me either.

Im not saying ignore it, I said pull in your DE/SE or report it.  I would expect the professionals would come in and review the situation to ensure the scout is not in danger or an abusive household.  If it is determined that everything is ok at home after their investigation and professional review then no issue with telling the parents.  Abuse at home is not always apparent and a scout who tells you they are having gender identity issues may be more likely to be abused.  If they tell you not to tell their parents you should be seeking professional input.

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7 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

Im not saying ignore it, I said pull in your DE/SE or report it.  I would expect the professionals would come in and review the situation to ensure the scout is not in danger or an abusive household.  If it is determined that everything is ok at home after their investigation and professional review then no issue with telling the parents.  Abuse at home is not always apparent and a scout who tells you they are having gender identity issues may be more likely to be abused.  If they tell you not to tell their parents you should be seeking professional input.

My DEs over the years have been barely old enough to shave, with degrees in marketing or communications.  SEs used to be DEs.  I'd be wary of making that call without strong suspicion of abuse, as it seems to me the most logical outcome is a visit from DCFS.  If there hasn't been any drama in the family before the call, there certainly will be after it.

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9 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

Im not saying ignore it, I said pull in your DE/SE or report it.  I would expect the professionals would come in and review the situation to ensure the scout is not in danger or an abusive household.  If it is determined that everything is ok at home after their investigation and professional review then no issue with telling the parents.  Abuse at home is not always apparent and a scout who tells you they are having gender identity issues may be more likely to be abused.  If they tell you not to tell their parents you should be seeking professional input.

The DE/SE is going to conduct a social work child protection investigation? 

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Props to everyone for not making this about membership. It's not.

Let's also not make this about abusive parents.

Impulsive decisions are part of adolescence. Great parents can have impulsive kids. In fact, most parents have impulsive kids. That's why we spend a lot of time training kids about fire, knives, and a whole bunch of other harmful things. In the process, we often see or hear from an impulsive youth in ways that make us pause, not because a given impulse is out of the ordinary per se, but because we think it could be part of a larger constellation. Or, because we think that impulse will result in a culture clash. Either way, if all evidence points to the scout having decent parents, talk to the parents and the scout in the order that makes sense.

It's okay to be honest that you've never dealt with anything like this before, and you're not sure the scouts' friends have either. So, just like with knives and fire and a host of other fairly innocuous things, you don't necessarily want to cater to the scouts' every wish, but you don't want to kick him/her to the curb either.

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14 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

The DE/SE is going to conduct a social work child protection investigation? 

I don’t believe they would do this directly, but would pull in the appropriate YP resources.   If a child is telling a scout leader that they are having gender identity issues AND are unwilling to have that discussed with parents you have several options.  

1) Grant their wish and don’t tell their parents. 

2) Ignore their request and talk directly with their parents.

3) Escalate to BSA professionals (SE/DE/SCOUTS First) who can have professionals investigate prior to telling parents.

I recommend #3 based on what I saw when I was a youth.  Feel free to chose your own path.

 

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

My DEs over the years have been barely old enough to shave, with degrees in marketing or communications.  SEs used to be DEs.  I'd be wary of making that call without strong suspicion of abuse, as it seems to me the most logical outcome is a visit from DCFS.  If there hasn't been any drama in the family before the call, there certainly will be after it.

Yep, this is exactly right. Council would really rather the units figure it out. BUT, still make the call if for no other reason than to protect yourself.

What I learned over the years is that you learn who to trust on these kinds of issues. They are old timers who have been around for a while. In our case, he was the District Commissioner.  But, it could be anybody.

And, if it goes far enough, call the police. But as was said, one you go that rabbit hole, everyone's lives takes a turn. 

I learned that once family issues raise to a level of community concern, the parents will act. Either by stepping back or finding help. We once had a parent drive scouts to an event drunk. When we approached him, he was so ashamed that he went strait to rehab for three weeks. A very active ASM  we confronted for issues left the program and went to therapy. He never got involved again. One family packed their bags and left town,

But, kids play their parents too. I have witnessed dozens of scouters (mostly Scoutmasters) get in trouble because they became part of the games between the scout and parents. The SM thought they were building a close trusting relationship, but the scouts saw the relationship as an alliance to use against the parents.

Then there the scouts who are truly suffering from mental illness. Each case is different, and each one is unpredictable. The hard ones are the parents who don't give much information because they are embarrassed about it. But, they still expect the unit to treat their son normal. I see many of these kids today as adults and they are still struggling with life. 

I have a close family member who has experienced a lot in her life, including different roles of gender as well as volunteered homelessness. Which is a very dark life for a women. I believe today's new family scouting BSA would risk her more harm. 

I wish the BSA could train scouters of the behaviors and signs for struggling scouts and families, but looking back, each case was so different that I struggle to even generalize. What I can say is that even in abusive situations, the parents have to be brought in sooner than later. They have to be part of the solution. And in most cases, they will drive everyone involved (including the unit) toward the best possible solution. Not always, sometimes a higher authority is required, but even then you want to hand it over to the experts and get out of the way. We are just volunteers of a youth scouting organization. Nothing more.

Beary 

Edited by Eagledad

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11 hours ago, Eagledad said:

So we are on the verge of debating whether or not to call the parents. This is exactly why I am against the BSA accepting transgender and gay youth. Volunteers now feel licensed and privileged to encourage youth toward a lifestyle that may only be a phase or a mental health condition, and possibly without the parents knowledge. That is child abuse as far as I’m concerned, and at the very least, not friendly...

I'm kind of assuming here, but my understanding is that you're not a mental health professional, is that right?

Because what you are calling "abuse" is actually what mental health professionals are advising teachers here in NJ to do with students who identify as a gender other than their birth gender, and is prescribed as the best course of action for a student's mental health. 

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