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Grounding kids from Scouts

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Parents who Ground a Child from Scouting Activities


Having reached the approximate twelve-year level as an adult leader and Scout volunteer I have seen this many times. Whatever the kid has done at home or in school causes one or both parents to say the words which sends chills down the spine of any normal active boy. "You're Grounded"!


I am also a parent and, like others, have used this disciplinary tool as wisely as possible over the years. But in my experience as a Scout Leader, this is also what I have seen happen. What of the boy who has been in Scouts for a year or two and his interest may be waning? Experienced leaders know that many boys go through this. Some you lose and you feel sad for a while but have to keep pushing on. Some go through phases, re-energize and they become some of the best Scouts and Junior Leaders as they age.


So you've just grounded your son. No computer or TV. No music or friends. No Scouts for a week, a month or longer. Just do your homework and go to your room.


No matter what the deed was for him to end up in this situation, this is what happens to that 'profile' boy I just talked about.

"and no Scouts for two weeks and you're not going to the next campout"!


Now, if his interest IS waning he's thinking, not only is that not punishment but "I don't really care". Unfortunately, aside from all of the other grounding, which does hurt, he was grounded from going to the one place which is all about teaching good citizenship, character building and teamwork skills. He might miss the meeting where a local judge or politician may have been there to talk about our freedoms and constitutional responsibilities. He might miss the meeting where the subject and focus of first aid for that evening could have taught him a practical skill, which he may have used in real life. He was just grounded from the campout, which would have afforded him his first opportunity at real leadership. The list goes on and on.


Parents, please think about grounding more creatively. Try to think about what the child really enjoys because, after all, in grounding, you're attempting to punish by temporarily taking away the things he most enjoys. I understand that freedom is the key but it would be great that, if in all of that anger at the moment, you would be able to think about the cause and effect of removing him from one thing in his life which may actually serve to improve him as a human being.


I guess I'm bringing this up because, as a dedicated Scout Leader, I'm a little selfish. I personally just don't like it when I show up at a meeting and a certain boy isn't there who I may have taken an interest in helping. And come to find out that he has been grounded.


Food for thought. What do you think?


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I think grounding a kid from going to Scouts is sending a message that Scouting is optional. The kid is not having to live up to his committment and obligation of being part of the troop.


My son was in DEEP trouble last week. We had committed to helping collect yard sale donations on Saturday. That was the ONE thing he was not getting out of, no matter what. On the one hand he had fun but on the other it was work and did take most of our day. If I had kept him home he would have thought "so here is how I get out of work and committments".


I have also made him go to baseball practice when he was on restrictions. He also made a committment to the team. Last week I was going to restrict him playing in a game, but was going to make him go to the park and apologize to the coach and team. Then sit there and watch them play. Ended up the game was rained out, so he got lucky on that one. :)


My son's friend got tired of Cub Scouts. He would rather stay home at watch TV. His mom said he couldn't go to scouts unless he finished his homework. He learned very quickly that he could stall on his homework, get out of Scouts, get attention of his mom and everyone else, and get to stay at home at watch TV.


Even when it comes to homework, I tell him he has to deal with the consequences if the homework is not done before the Scout meeting. He had time to get it done, he knew the time limits, and I often have made a committment to be at the meeting. If he doesn't go, I can't go and leave him at home alone.


I'm starting to see some progress about his time management (he's almost 11). It actually is working a little better by giving him a timeframe and let him decide what to do when inside that limit.


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I've seen it many times too. I lost a girl from my Brownie troop because she couldn't keep her grades up, so her mom took her out of Brownies. That girl was card-carrying ADHD if I ever saw it, and loved Brownies because she knew her energy would be welcomed and channeled rather than scolded and punished. I've often wondered what became of her, trapped into only doing what she is not good at and prevented from doing the activities at which she could legitimately excel.



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As much as we might want to see all of our Scouts at every meeting and activity without exception, I think that for any responsible Scout Leader to suggest that parents leave Scouting out of their own personal equation when dealing with their sons, personal responsibility, and punishment, is over stepping the bounds. That's out of our purview, and we should not suggest, nor should we expect that parents will make those exceptions.

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I couldn't agree with you more that we, as leaders, shouldn't interfere directly with parents' disciplinary decisions. Part of my feelings are just based on wishful thinking. I have actually seen it happen where the Scout doesn't come back and generally spirals into more negative than positive situations before either straightening out or not. I am only suggesting that, perhaps, parents who aren't too directly involved in Scout Leadership THINK about what the child could miss if they decide to deliver a sweeping-grounding-blow. Perhaps what we do isn't an exact science. I was just speaking from emotion...the way a parent does in an emotional moment. Remember, I'm a parent too. I'm simply saying think before you act. Isn't that what we try to teach out own kids?

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I'm sorry, but as much as I love Scouting and what it can do for kids, schoolwork comes first. We all have to set priorities, and considering that I have been a GS/BS leader for going on 10 years now, scouting is one of my top priorities. But it IS an optional one. Schooling and getting good grades is NOT optional! Yes, they have to learn to schedule their time. If they really want to go to the meeting or on the trip then they sure as heck better get their schoolwork done FIRST. And trust me, if my dd's part time job starts to interfere with her grades the job goes!


As for grounding, I kept my ds home from a camping trip that he had already paid for. Yes, his SM was not happy and his patrol had to do some re-shufflling of chores, but they all lived. IMO my ds learned more by being grounded from an activity that he really wanted to do (and also losing some of his popcorn $ in the process) than if I had let him go have a fun time and taken away TV when he got home.


I would NEVER even consider questioning the disipline decisions of any of my boys or girls parents. I may not agree, but I would not question. Conversly, I would be extremely upset if my decisions concerning my family were questioned by another scouting adult!


Nut -

GS Leader

CS Leader

Wearer of many misc Scouting Volunteer hats

Mom of 2nd Class Boy Scout and Senior Girl Scout

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