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jsychk

How should I help my boy?

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Hello! I am a mom of 3 boys. Two of them are in Cub Scout and I am heavily involved with the Pack and all their activities. My oldest son should be in Boy Scout now. After I worked with him through 5 years of cub scouting (2012-2017), I let my husband to take charge of him in Boy Scout (Feb 2017) because I think he is more suitable for the role as all the Troop leaders are men. Moreover, after reading the book "Raising Boys," I thought my husband should be more involved with him so this Boy Scout adventure will give the father-and-son duo some opportunities to bond and learn from each other. I was wrong! It turned out my husband wasn't really involved with him or the Troop. His involvement was only dropping him off and picking him up at the Troop meeting/campout. He told me that's what the Troop leaders want (I feel kinda strange because I am one of the Pack leaders and we always love the involvement of parents). Anyway, my husband explained that boys need to be independent so they don't want parents to help them at the meeting. 

Six months ago, my (tender foot) son got in trouble at the out-of-state camp out and got suspended for 6 months. My husband picked him up and later met with the leaders. I was so confused about what to do next so I sought advice from you guys about this incident in this forum. Some said finding another troop while other said learning from this mistake and move on. At that time, my son wanted to go back to this troop because he said he has friends there. He still communicates with them briefly on my phone. Through his scout friend, he said the troop had a special meeting about the incident at the camp and put all the blame on him and another boy who is also suspended. Now, he thinks if he goes back to this troop, the other scouts will not play with him because the parents would not let them. He even said we didn't enroll him last August so he may not even be in the organization now. 

My husband is a passive type of guy, but I have no idea that he didn't follow through at all (at least enroll him for this year...). This month, I keep wondering why my son hasn't gone back to his troop meeting because his suspension is up. My husband just kept quiet and said nothing. I asked my son if he wants to continue, and he said yes but he just doesn't know which troop he should go (after knowing that kids from the same troop may not want to play with him anymore). Also, I don't know how easy for him to transfer to another troop because of his suspension.

Last month, I found out my husband of 15 years may have Asperger (a high functioning autism), so this may explain why he tends to avoid social interactions with the troop leaders (not following through with them after the incident) and doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything that is new to him (he avoids going to the camp out with the troop). I guess he drops the ball, so the ball is on me now. At this point, I am more determined to get my boy back in Scouting so he could be exposed to other men who are more proactive in life, and hopefully some of them will become his mentors in the coming years. 

I don't mind calling up the troop master and getting a feel of the situation...and see if they really don't want him back? Or, should I contact another troop? This Thursday, I am honor to get a district service award at the Recognition Dinner (Roundtable). Should I wait and hope to run into the troop leader and talk to him? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

Edited by jsychk

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Troops generally do look for as much help as they can get- however, that does not automatically mean they are looking for more Assistant Scoutmasters.  Typically, only SM/ASMs are part of the outdoor program, and Troop Committee are not.  Can't say all of what happened in your husbands interaction, if he had just generally offered to help, or was specifically inquiring about ASM (going on campouts).   If the SM will be at the dinner, I would perhaps use that occasion to ask him if you can talk about where your son is at after the "suspension", how you feel he has grown from it, etc.  You could casually let the SM know about your husbands diagnosis, but only if you feel it is helpful to explain why son is not registered for the current year.  Should your son wish to join another troop, I would suggest being up front about what happened, what he learned from the experience, etc.  Many SMs will reach out to the prior SM to get their take, so being proactive, without being defensive, will help your son should he decide to join another troop.  Things do happen (they are kids after all), but most scouters are in this to help youth, not punish them or let a bad decision at this age affect their future success.  i wish you luck.       

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I would chat with the Scoutmaster and get a different perspective. If your husband told you that troop leaders didn't want parental involvement, then he almost certainly wasn't paying attention...no successful troop runs without parental support.

Also, focus on that 6 month suspension. That's really out of line for a well-run troop, and if it really did occur, then the advice that you look for another troop is more than warranted. No good Scoutmaster supports that kind of draconian discipline (with possible exceptions for very serious issues like reckless endangerment). But again, chat with the Scoutmaster to find out what's really going on before you pass judgment.  It does sound like Dad was totally out of the loop.

Good luck!

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Hard to know specifically what to do since I don't know the details.  As a Scoutmaster in my previous life, I would always welcome a conversation with a parent about how we can best help their son.  I wouldn't even address dad on this issue, the Scoutmaster will want what is best for your son.  You may find out that this troop isn' the right fit and a different troop is a better fit.  I would start with buying coffee for the Scoutmaster and talking to him/her about the situation.  

Also talk to your son about why he no longer wants to go.  If it is embarassment, let him know we have all failed in the past and life is about learning from your failures.  His Scoutmaster can be helpful in encouraging him to come back.  It isn't cub scouts so the boys need to be independant but the scoutmasters can help guide them.

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Sorry about your husband. Not about that your learning new things about your spouse -- we all do that. It winds up being mostly good. But, that he is going to have to process this new label, and that can be hard -- especially if it doesn't fit exactly.

My strategy ...

Put the phone on speaker and have your son call the SM. Let him explain that he would like to come back but wants to know if he's welcome. Generally, most boys are pretty forgiving, so he would try a meeting or two to see if that's the case.

In case the answer's "no." Or your son is having a hard time apologizing, talk to some other troop leaders.

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5 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Hard to know specifically what to do since I don't know the details.  As a Scoutmaster in my previous life, I would always welcome a conversation with a parent about how we can best help their son.  I wouldn't even address dad on this issue, the Scoutmaster will want what is best for your son.  You may find out that this troop isn' the right fit and a different troop is a better fit.  I would start with buying coffee for the Scoutmaster and talking to him/her about the situation.  

Also talk to your son about why he no longer wants to go.  If it is embarassment, let him know we have all failed in the past and life is about learning from your failures.  His Scoutmaster can be helpful in encouraging him to come back.  It isn't cub scouts so the boys need to be independant but the scoutmasters can help guide them.

Thread on why her son was suspended from the troop for 6 months. 

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Ahhhhh....the truth comes out!

Thanks, ValleyBoy!

If, indeed, your son was involved in bullying another boy, then he's lucky to have gotten a mere 6-month suspension. That's not something a Scoutmaster should ever tolerate.

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If I were Scoutmaster, I would want to meet with both your son and yourself.  And see if your family has seeked out professional help.  This type of incident is best dealt with in partnership with a trained counselor who can help your son navigate his actions and feelings.  It sounds like it would help you and your husband best work together to help get your son back on track.

This is not something that should be blown off and also something that is a life sentence.  I have been to therapists with my kids many times and they aren't easy appointments but I have found they have helped my son and us as parents best work through issues.   They will also give each of your better strategies to cope with difficult things before they occur.  

I wish you all the best and highly suggest you seek out a "talking doctor" as my son calls it.  If you are willing and able to do this, I am sure the Scoutmaster will help in anyway he can.  We become Scoutmasters to help the boys.  

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Wow! Some of the last few post are kind of scary. To answer your question, call the SM first to learn exactly where the troop is with your son. Then you can discuss better the future.

Barry

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No doubt the boy has been punished enough talk to the SM. We don't usually suspend kids for thier first "lord of the flies" offense and the period beteween ages 10 and 12 are pretty big for charactor building. 

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3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Wow! Some of the last few post are kind of scary. To answer your question, call the SM first to learn exactly where the troop is with your son. Then you can discuss better the future.

Barry

+1  You call the Scoutmaster and get the update on what exactly happened and where things stand for your son's membership in the Troop at this point in time.   I would tell the Scoutmaster that my son would like to continue his membership if possible, and that at this point in time, you (mom) are the main contact for your family.  See what he says, and go from there.  Offer to talk through any concerns and a process for your son to come back under good terms.  Try to make friends with the Scoutmaster and ask if they need any adult volunteers to help out -- so you can find a place in the Troop where you can network with other families and make more friends and a supportive community. If the Scoutmaster is resistant and does not welcome your son back, then go to Plan B and go start meeting with other Troops.

Good luck! 

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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Yes, I agree, some of these responses are scary.  Already knowing from your previous post what happened, I think the punishment was quite drastic and severe.  I don't know any Troop that suspends a Scout without having District involved.  Most problems are handled in house and based on the Troop Guidelines, there should have been at least a warning and discussion with the Parents.  Being removed from Camp early is also a punishment.  My question would be was the camp notified about the removal?  Was your District and or Council notified?  If not, that is another problem.  Maybe this Troop is not that well run with properly trained leaders. I would never want to just dismiss a scout with no help.  Kids today, NEED Scouting.  My two cents would be to go visit new Troops.  Your Son's membership shouldn't have expired until December 31 anyway so they should be able to pull the records back and get him in the system like there was never any interruption.

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6 hours ago, jsychk said:

 

Last month, I found out my husband of 15 years may have Asperger (a high functioning autism), so this may explain why he tends to avoid social interactions with the troop leaders (not following through with them after the incident) and doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything that is new to him (he avoids going to the camp out with the troop). I guess he drops the ball, so the ball is on me now. At this point, I am more determined to get my boy back in Scouting so he could be exposed to other men who are more proactive in life, and hopefully some of them will become his mentors in the coming years. 

 

You say that your husband may have Asperger's. So, he might not. We don't know. Asperger's is very difficult to diagnose in adults. Either way, your husband is still the boys' father and cannot be replaced. Scouting is not about finding a replacement for Dad.

I sounds like you and your husband disagree. You need to work this out between the two of you. 

 

Edited by David CO
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42 minutes ago, David CO said:

You say that your husband may have Asperger's. So, he might not. We don't know. Asperger's is very difficult to diagnose in adults. Either way, your husband is still the boys' father and cannot be replaced. Scouting is not about finding a replacement for Dad.

I sounds like you and your husband disagree. You need to work this out between the two of you. 

 

OK, the son needs some support navigating a difficult situation, and for whatever reason, Dad is not that interested or involved, so Mom is going to help out.  Of course the kid still has a dad.  But if the kid wants to do Scouting and Dad isn't interested, then he will form other relationships with other Scouters.  

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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1 hour ago, Ranman328 said:

... don't know any Troop that suspends a Scout without having District involved.  Most problems are handled in house and based on the Troop Guidelines, there should have been at least a warning and discussion with the Parents.  Being removed from Camp early is also a punishment.  My question would be was the camp notified about the removal?  Was your District and or Council notified?  If not, that is another problem.  Maybe this Troop is not that well run with properly trained leaders. I would never want to just dismiss a scout with no help.  Kids today, NEED Scouting.  My two cents would be to go visit new Troops.  Your Son's membership shouldn't have expired until December 31 anyway so they should be able to pull the records back and get him in the system like there was never any interruption.

@Ranman328, you need to visit our troop. Then you'll know at least one.  I've never read anywhere that a committee needs to notify anyone at the district when they decide to suspend a scout. If you have a reference, do share.

Dropping the boy from the charter was a lame move.

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