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Boy who wants to quit

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We have a boy in our troop who has told my son he wants to quit Scouts but his parents won't let him quit. You would never guess this based on his actions because he seems to enjoy the activities as much as, or more than, a lot of the other boys. His complaint seems to be that scouting interferes with all the other stuff he wants to do (sports and social life). He is 12 years old. His mother has told me that scouts is the only thing she makes him do (besides doing his best in school) and all the other stuff he elects to do is optional.

 

What do you think about this? I have mixed feelings...on the one hand I think boys should not be made to participate in things they do not want to do, on the other hand, scouts is such good preparation for life and has so many benefits. The strange thing is, whenever I see this boy he seems to be enjoying himself immensely, but his mother said he has a fit if a campout or something interferes with his sports or social activities, even though she has been pretty flexible about letting him balance everything out. There have been times when my own son has complained about the same type of thing and I am not sure what I would do if he wanted to quit.

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I was told a couple of years ago some advice from a dad of 14 year old twin Boy Scouts. First he said don't burn your son out on scouting. Second don't let them quit anything (Scouts, sports, music, etc.) without a REALLY good reason. Having to make sacrifices and balance out different things we do is part of life. None of us get to do everything we want, finding a balance is something many adults have a problem with, especially if they never had to deal with it as a kid.

 

Compromise is a good option. If the boy was unhappy because he was being picked on, couldn't do the work (doubtful in scouts), just hated camping, was really, truly unhappy about everything in Scouting, I would let him quit. Because it interferes with your social life is not a good reason --- being a parent inteferes with my social life, but I don't quit. :)

 

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Sctmom,

 

***Because it interferes with your social life is not a good reason --- being a parent inteferes with my social life, but I don't quit. ***

 

Love that. Thanks for the laugh.

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sctmom,

 

I fully agree with your post. Great advice.

 

As an adult, I am more qualified than a child, to know what is best. As my son's parent, I feel compelled to use my knowledge and wisdom to ensure his growth and happiness. Sometimes, we don't agree. On occasion, he can provide insight and a rational that will change my mind. More often than not, my 40 plus years of living, and my love for him, wins the day. I realize that children are not completely ignorant. However, we (adults) do have wisdom that they do not. We should not be afraid to use it, especially when our goal is to ensure a bright future for our children.

 

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I have had only one firm rule NEVER QUIT - School, Scouts, Sports, or Work. Once he starts something, he has a commitment and must finish. At times he has told me that he wanted to quit scouting for some bad experience, I just said no. One time he said he was not going to any more scout things, he just would not go. I told he he was going and tell his scoutmaster and his SPL, he could just sit there but he was going to the rest of the meetings for that year. If at the end of the year, he still wanted to quit he could.

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Sctmom, I was starting to think that Scouts (boy and girl) was my social life! lol

 

I agree with the no-quit rule for things my kids join. Do you folks mean for the year or for the long term? My son makes a few grumblings during the year, but I am not sure what I would do if he told me he did not want to reregister. Watching this other family deal with this makes me aware I might have to handle it myself someday. I try to be flexible about balancing sports and other activities so he does not get burnt out.

 

Rooster, I feel the way you do about knowing what is best at times. I believe that scouting is very right for my son even if he may not always think so.

 

 

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I have let my son quit 2 things. One was football. It became clear he would be absolutely miserable and so would I. They wanted 8 year olds to practice in 100 degree weather for 2 hours a night, 3 nights a week. Then when the season started, the practices would continue and games on Saturday. This would go on for months. I asked a number of men who either played football as youth or coached youth football. They all said this was too much for such a young age and to let him out, otherwise we would both hate it forever. It was only the second week of practice and they gave me back my money. He really just wanted the uniform. :)

 

I did let him take a break from Cub Scouts a few years ago. We were all burnt out, including myself and ex-husband. My son was having a hard time at school. We took a few months off, with the understanding that he could go back later. The leadership was shaky, my husband and I didn't feel we could be leaders at the time. My son was not having fun, and the other boys were picking on him or ignoring him. After he got school under control he asked to go back into Scouting. We all needed that 6 month or so break. Now he just earned his AOL and is starting off good in Boy Scouts. I don't regret that break at all.

 

I didn't just go by his wants with each of those, I tried to look at the whole picture and consult others. Some said I shouldn't let him quit football. I was proud he even tried, since he weighed 50 pounds and was playing with kids weighing in at 70.

 

Quitting because it interferes with school work is a "good" reason. Quitting because it's difficult at times or inteferes with TV watching or parties is NOT a "good" reason. As Rooster says, I have more wisdom than a child and have the right and responsibility to override his decisions.

 

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My wife & I have always raised our kids not to be quitters. If they start something they must finish it. If they don't like it, they don't have to do it again.

 

I recently had a Scout quit. He told ne his dad made him call me to tell me. I asked him why he was quitting & he told me to spend more time with his family. While I feel this is a good reason, I don't feel this is the real reason he quit. His dad told me before he called he wanted to quit everything he was involved in. I told the Scout I wasn't dropping him from the roster & when he was ready to tell me the real reason he quit to call me back.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Quit Scouting? Sure, kids do it all the time. A lot of times they leave because they lack the parental support to make a good informed decision. They might not understand what they'll be missing. They might just end up "hanging around" with their friends without direction, wasting time. They might not have the family to help them understand their options, and what the consequences of their decisions might be.

 

They might just be involved in too many things...school, church, family, baseball, football, hockey, soccer, every single other sport they can get into. They might be trying to fit the proverbial five pounds in the four pound bag, giving 25-50% to each, never 100%, and getting about the same out of each. Once again, Mom & Dad haven't done them any favors by allowing them to get in these situations.

 

Then again, it might just be that Mom & Dad decided that Junior would be in Scouts, not Junior. That's never, ever a good situation. Scouting is something that kids need to "want" to do in order to enjoy it, and get the most out of it. If they're a Scout because Mom & Dad told them they would be, no matter the good intent, and if the boy just isn't grasping what he can in Scouting, then Mom & Dad have done him no favors. Sometimes Mom & Dad win, and Junior comes to like Scouts. But that's more the exception than the rule. Kids don't like feeling that they're being made to do something they don't want to. Some things they simply don't have a choice about, like school. But Scouting? They shouldn't be forced to do Scouting. A boy can be in Scouting and be having a good time, but he also remembers that M&D "forced" him to join, and for them he still harbors a little resentment. How many of us can relate to that, huh? Probably many.

 

In my years in Scouting, as SM, I've run into two situations where Mom & Dad told Junior that he would not be able to get his drivers license without his Eagle first. Upon discovering these situations, my very first reaction was to be infuriated. How dare those parents use me and Scouting as the sword of Damacles over the boys head.....argh.... I made sure to take the time to sit with both sets of parents, without Junior, to let them know that this was totally unacceptable, and I and the troop would not be made part of that scenario. Once they realized the "error" of their ways, they move the sword to some other thing in the boys life....go figure.

 

As Art Linkletter said, "kids will say the darnedest things", and "I wanna quit" comes pretty easily when they're upset, sad, unnecessarily under a parents thumb about something that should be fun..... If the boy appears to be having a good time, but in private moments with friends says he wants out, that may just be ego speaking. But if he says the same thing to you, his Scout leader, then it's time to sit and chat, and perhaps do the same with Mom & Dad. If the parents are the "drop-off" type, and are rarely seen other than dropping off, all the more reason to have that chat.

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An interesting point...

 

On the way home from Webelos Woods this weekend, my new scout was all aglow about the things he did that his troop guide signed off in his handbook and how good it was that he had earned his totin chip...."that's why i love camping"

 

30 minutes later after having carried his backpack into the living room, he lay down on the couch and closed his eyes, moaning that he wanted to go to bed and sleep "that's why i hate camping"

 

Two statements within 30 minutes (you can replace the camping with anything else that is challenging in my opinion). BTW, 30 minutes later, after a shower, he was looking at his handbook again and had swung back to the right side - "that's why i love camping"

 

Our son wanted to quit football last year - we said sure as long as he paid up back the $120 in dues and told his coach face to face that he was quitting because he didn't like to play football - he never quit.

 

He wanted to quit cub scouts last year as well - i think he was bored with the program because he had completed most everything - we told him he could quit at the end of the year (of course, now he has bridged over and is an excited first year scout).

 

He wanted to quit wrestling 2 weeks into the program last year - after winning all his matches and the gold medal in the county wide tournament, he wants to wrestle next year -

 

I'm very prepared for him to come home next year and complain that he doesn't have time to do (fill in the blank - but it's never nintendo or play station:))He will be given the option of paying any money back out of his allowance and standing face to face with his Coach/ Scout Master / Teacher / whoever and telling them the REAL reason he is quitting. I am confident that HE is making the right decision not to quit.

 

YIS

Quixote

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Similar experience while son was about 13. I wanted him to be in Scouts and pushed a little too hard. Turned into a fight. Finally realized he really was stressed over too many commitments: Sports teams, intensive church confirmation program, advanced school classes, etc. Poor kid was worn out from the running and starting to resent any extra intrusions on his time. We talked to SM about taking a breather fortunately didnt have leadership position at the time. His attendance was sporadic for about a year I resisted temptation to push. After clearing up some of the other stuff and getting advances classes under control, hes back by his own free will and having fun. I also took him backpacking during down time both to show him what hes missing and to enjoy the experience even if not in scouts. Good luck!(This message has been edited by Mike F)

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I'm Currently a 1st class scout that is going threw what u ppl are talking about. When i first crossed over to boy scouts i had 11 ppl my age that where in my patrol. now it's just me. My parents are refusing to let me out of scouts. Well i mean it's mostly my dad my mom is just sticking with him but she see's my point. well i've tried to talk to him and let him let me out of scouts. but he refuses and refuses. My scoutmaster knows i want to quit but won't do anything either. there isn't anyfun in scouts for me anymore. it seems like the meetings that are everyother tuesday are a chore now instead of fun. Is the anyadvice that i can get to help me talk to my dad?

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scouterkid,

Why are the meetings a chore? Are they boring? What is your position in the Troop? Is your Troop active? Answer these questions so I can get a beeter handle on your situation to make a better decision. In the mean time, don't quit. You are registered until 1/2003 so stick it out until then. Things change.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Pardon me while I philosophize for a bit.

 

I don't want to appear sexist, but if you asked most males 50 to 100 years ago if they thought life was "fun" they would look at you funny and say life was something to be endured. The idea that life should be "fun" is a rather recent idea. Jobs, raising a family, military service, etc. were duties that were honored. I'm NOT saying those were the "good old days" but I think it is something to think about to keep the problems of today in perspective.

 

Parents and their children do seem to over commit to various things these days. My wife is always talking about signing up one of our boys for something or other. I smile and say of course, but out of religious education, music, sports, scouts and school, which one would you like him to give up to add the new endeavor?

 

I always remember discussions I had in college and in my 20's and 30's when my peers would say "I wish my parents made me stick with ______ (fill in the blank, piano lessons, scouts, etc.). History does seem to change what we remember.

 

As parents, I feel it is in the best interest of our children to expose them to a wide variety of interests and support them in their decisions if they want to pursue any of them or not. My boys took martial arts classes for three years but the time, money, and committment began to become too much. If they wanted to pursue it further, I would have supported it but their interest was waning. My oldest son wants to pursue the marching band and play football. Not quite a "doable" choice.

 

Scouterkid, what is it that you do not like about scouting? The boys or leaders of your troop/patrol? The overall program itself? Camping and the outdoors? If you live in a heavily populated area, I'm guessing many troops are available to you. Are your parents (Dad) pushing you? Politely ask him to back-off.

 

A boy in my troop has a mother who in his words "won't let me quit." She has told me that we are the only male influence in his life. I try to make scouts as enjoyable as possible for the boy. Secretly, I think the boy enjoys scouting. He rarely misses any camping trip. If you feel comfortable, talk to the SM or any ASM you feel comfortable with about your concerns. I wish you the best.

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ok i'm a 1st class scout just needing a board of review for star. i'm currently the aspl. the meetings are a chore becuase we never do anything fun at them. and our troop goes canoeing at least twice a year and we go to a fall/spring/winter camporee and summer camp for 5 days. these have all become boring to beacause they all have the same events and nothing changes at them. summer camp has exactly the same thing every year. so scouting to me has become repetative and boring hope this helps u understand more

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