Jump to content

Recommended Posts

How do you deal with bad language?

Weve got a few Scouts who often use bad language, and on one trip out, a bike ride, a couple of Scouts stated to use some colourful language past some mored canal boats at a volume that everyone could hear, with such phrases as "fcuking wankers" being banded about.

When we got to a clear area, we had a word with the Scouts involved about the aceptable use of words, but the following week the same few Scouts were back to f this, and f that.


So we had yet anouther word with them, most of the time its just us ( leaders) saying "watch your language" to them.

However on one meeting one scout decided to up the language level some more with a few choice phrases such as "you fat f@*!ng c*nt" and "youve got f**king sh!t for brains" This little outburst took us ( the leadres) by surprise we had a word with the Scout at the end of the meeting, although when the parents use langauge worse than that in front of their offspring it seems like we are onto a loosing battle.


The follwong Scout meeting we did a little role play type situation based on swearing and bad language to try and demonstrate to the Scouts on when certain words would be acceptable and when they wouldnt, we then went through a list of words with the Scouts and talked about ecah one and when or even if it would be acceptabel to use:


for instance if you hit your fingers with a mallet or hammer while putting up a tent would it be acceptable to use the word **** ? and in what circumstances?



How do you deal with bad language? and swearing Scouts?

appologies of any of the above words cause offence, they are used for descriptive reasons only)


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 42
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Wow, now that's a problem.


Simply say to the scout and parents that scouts don't use those words. Remind him that a scout is kind, courteous , friendly, obedient, etc. Remind him that he agreed to live by the Scout Oath and Law: On my honor....... etc. Also, ask him in front of his parents if he can point out in the handbook where it is acceptable to use those words. Then tell him in front of his parents he can stay and be a scout if he uses good language, otherwise, he is being too disruptive and can't return. You may lose one, but your UNIT may be better off.


I know already some of our forum members will disagree with my comments, but if repeated attempts to correct this at the lower level (without parents and apparently without consequences) has failed, crank it up and give consequences. Sadly though, this kid probably nees scouts more than the others.


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Troop I serve had a similar problem, terrible language. I noticed it when my son and I joined it. It seems it was so prevalent, it didnt register with the leaders, until I pointed it out. There followed failed attmepts to cure the issue until I hit on a tactic. I told the scouts that they could use any word they heard me say, and if you read this forum, you know I know lots of words, some I even use correctly. There followed a period of time where everything I said was closely monitored by the youth, especially that time my thumb somehow ended up underneath the hammer I was using to drive nails on an Eagle project. The uttered "wow" somehow didnt do justice to the throbbing thumb I had. But the other adults helped, when they heard "bad" language they would say, something like "I never heard Mr OldGrey say that so until he does, you cant either". The issue cleared up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Without wishing to seem rude!!

Swearing and bad language is less accepted here in the USA than it is back in the UK.

While some words are just plain bad, at times they get lost in the translation.

I remember all the fuss there was about a Sex Pistols album with a naughty word in the title and how the Virgin Record Store in Marble Arch displayed the album and the manager was very nearly arrested.

Some words which were once considered naughty seem to have slipped into everyday conversation and while maybe not fully accepted are it seems no longer as bad as they used to be.

I have been known to turn the air a little blue myself at times!!

I do when I'm around Scouts use my "Sunday Manners."

Kids are exposed to a lot of foul language. Some of the Rap songs are nothing but swear words. I think maybe for the shock value? It seems to work, they sell a lot!!

If the Scouts come from homes where swearing and bad language are the norm? Maybe rather then telling them to stop, you might be further ahead trying to get them to grasp the idea of a time and a place for everything.

Maybe it's OK to talk like this at home? But would you talk like this if you were visiting the Queen in Buck House? No! Of course you wouldn't!! Well the same goes when your on a Scouting activity. Why? Because bad language upsets some people and as Scouts you have promised to be Friendly and Considerate.

Stress the Scout Law:


A Scout is to be trusted.

A Scout is loyal.

A Scout is friendly and considerate.

A Scout belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts.

A Scout has courage in all difficulties.

A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.

A Scout has self-respect and respect for others.

Explain that when they use bad language that they are letting the Troop down and worse still they are letting themselves down this goes into the area of respect.

I have a look -Which I shoot at offenders. When they see it as a rule I get a "Sorry Skipper" If I hear it again I have a "Hey Guys!!" This at times can be followed by a "Hey Now -That's Enough"

Very often swearing is used by the Lads who are 12 -14. I think they use bad language as a sign to everyone that they aren't little kids any more!! Like many things it's a phase that does in time pass. You can help phase it out a little faster!!


PS Do you remember Ronnie Barker in Porridge?

The script allowed the prisoners to swear without offending viewers by using the word "naff". It was used in place of ruder words ("Naff off!", "Darn your own naffing socks", "doing next to naff all").

What Great TV!!


"Norman Stanley Fletcher, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court, and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner. We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences you will go to prison for five years."

A sentance like that might stop the swearing!!


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pint- you should have spoken to the toilet-tongued Scouts immediately after using those words and not when you got to a clearing. That gives anyone who may have heard the impression that that behavior is condoned by the troop. You may have to ask the Scouts involved to sit out the next outing or meeting for each offense. They may need Scouts, and I am not a fan of barring kids from it, but this can't continue or it will only get worse.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We lost a young scout and an ASM as a result of this sort of talk last spring on consecutive camp outs. The scout was offended and shocked, and the parent wasn't willing to allow his child to spend a lot of time in an environment where that sort of behavior was the norm. The boys who were using this kind of language the most were also younger scouts in the same NSP as the boy who quit. The SM decided to hold up some of them on advancement (scout spirit) and things improved mildly for a little while.


But I don't think we've effected any sort of lasting change. Just the other night my son was telling me about some of the vile things some of these younger guys were saying (in a troop meeting! not even on camp outs!) and how difficult it was for him - not much older and a PL trying to be responsible - to try to stop it. He didn't feel he had the tools or ability to do much about it, to his frustration.


Now on one hand, some kids are surprisingly sheltered and apparently have never ridden a school bus! On the other hand, there's really no excuse for this sort of talk.


Looking back, I think there was insufficient attention to setting the right tone with our new scouts from the start. Nobody - adults or older youth - made a big deal about any of this until after that one scout and his dad had quit, although it isn't as though no one was aware of the language (the dad had brought it to the SM, ASMs, and Committee's attention the month before they quit).


Also, I don't know that the SPL was even aware of the problem and I am certain that he wasn't much involved in resolving it. I wonder if having the SPL get involved would have made a bigger impact on the guys with the foul mouths and also might have given our more sensitive scout a feeling that he had a powerful "buddy" in the troop who would help him. (Of course this is another aspect of our troop's own issues - our SPL missed more campouts than he attended and might not have been around at all during this time - hard to lead when you aren't there.)


So how to stop or anyway reduce it? Personally I think this is an area where the older scouts have a great deal of influence as role models, maybe more than the adults. But for that to work, those older scouts have to interact a lot with the younger guys, either in vertical patrols or as very involved troop guides or instructors.


I like OGE's method but I suggest it needs to be paired with more pressure from your older youth leaders too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Latrine duty and KP sometimes does wonders, especially if they're cleaning it every time their language gets crappy (yes pun intended). Two or three times a day for a couple of days will probably do the trick. By the way, the CO would probably be pleasantly surprised finding the restroom at the meeting place spic-n-span. Hit them up at the meeting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pint and Fellow Scouters,




We have had similar discussions here before.


Using myself as an example, both at home or during Scouting, I probably know a large vocabulary of bad language. I tell my own children, in the past, I have probably used this vocabulary very fluidly. I really am embarrassed to think that I have used this language, but there is nothing I can do take it back.


Once a foul word is stated, it is out there forever. I can't take back the foul language. In hindsight, I do feel ashamed for ever using that type of vocabulary. I have probably lost a few girlfriends and dates, by attempting to appear cool. If you ever hear me using bad language, it will probably be in a loud voice. You better come running towards me with the first aid box, because I probably did some finger carving.


During the Troop or Crew excursions. I ask the youth if they hear any of the parents or adults using obscene language. If they don't hear any language from their leaders, what makes them think it is the cool thing to do? Dont they know, they will loose cool points with the young ladies, if they use foul language?



So... With my Troop, Crew and family, I share this with them.

- I know every word they can try

- I have used it at least once. I am ashamed

- I have lost cool points for choosing that language

- I can forgive, but it is harder to forget

- If you hear me using this language, bring the first aid kit



Now Pint asked How do we deal with bad language and swearing Scouts.


My Troop is currently going thru this with some language used by some younger Scouts just two weeks ago. While conducting Cooking Merit badge weekend camping, we invited parents and families to dine with their patrols on Saturday night.


Unfortunately, one of our patrols selected a cooking station that was outside of ear shot of the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters cooking station. Some of our First Class Scouts thought it would be cool to demonstration their vocabulary, while the parents were visiting for dinner. Now this is a small minority (about 3 out of 35 Scouts) that decided to sound more aggressive by selecting improper language. These three Scouts are good Scouts, which made a bad decision.


The adult leadership has found out about this improper language on Monday after the camp from one parent (within hearing range).


The adult leaders have reassured the families and parents that we do take the entire program seriously. Youth protection, to camping and advancement skills, to the use of appropriate or inappropriate language. Further, that the adult leaders which have been selected do present positive role models to our Troop.


So we bring this up with the youth in question, that the adult leaders now know about their selection of language, that their parents now know about their selection of language. And, that this language is unacceptable.


How many steps between forgiving their mistakes to the Troop Committee expulsing them from the Troop... Well that is up to the Troop Committee to decide. The Troop Leadership can only advocate whether a Scout has learned and abides by our Troop practices or if they Scout desires to continue to use foul language.


With various language being found in youth sports, troops, schools, parents, playgrounds, movies, internet and etc. I don't think Scouting will every completely get rid of bad language, but it can certainly be reduced close to nil.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>Pint- you should have spoken to the toilet-tongued Scouts immediately after using those words and not when you got to a clearing. That gives anyone who may have heard the impression that that behavior is condoned by the troop.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to jump in here to say that as a high school teacher, I've heard it all, I think.


I will also say that to kids, due to their culture, these words aren't as offensive as they used to be for US at that age. If you don't believe how much they're being desensitized to it, listen to Insane Clown Possee....they have one song that uses the "F" word something like 97 times in one song. Believe me, kids don't care.


That is not to say that WE shouldn't care. We need to make it almost MORE important to use better language. I have "classroom appropriate" language and "peer language" in the area around my room. If a student is talking softly to a peer in the hallway and I pass by hearning an objectionable word, that's peer language, but if it's in my room or deliberately said near me, I will correct by saying "classroom appropriate" or I've also been known to use a kindergarten whistle. Believe me, they get sick to death of hearing the whistle for each infraction.


I start each year, though, by explaining that while their culture is such that these words are used, they are not only inappropriate in school, but in other situations such as a workplace as well and therefore in my room we will be practicing workplace and classroom language at all times, but I also include correct grammar in that as well.


I suggest you have a group meeting, discuss how you know it's part of their culture but you cannot tolerate it in scouting. I would also tell them that this is a rule just like the buddy system in swimming, and it is not optional or flexible. I would also get that whistle and when you hear bad language, blow it loudly. This gets really old really quickly with older boys particularly. I'd also keep a running tally on each boy if possible. If after a month (or a pre-set training period) these same boys continue to spout expletives, then expel them. Also, I would tell them that just because so and so does it, does not make it acceptable behavior here, thus eliminating the parent factor.


My troop says very little, but they knew going in that this was unacceptable in our troop, but believe me........in the school systems it's rampant.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Amen to all that's gone before.


My nickles worth...


Here is how I have explained it to my son. And Scouts....


The english language has a large vocabulary. Many words to describe many situations. Using ONE word for so many situations is first , lazy. And uncreative. And unworthy of you. You are better than that.


The words in question are intended to be provacative, to evoke a emotional reaction. They are unnecessary. If you intend to impress someone with your manliness by useing "grown up" words, you haven't impressed me. Impress me by BEING grown up.


A word has a meaning. That's what communication is all about. If you would communicate a painful mistake, (thumb instead of nail), I always suggest yelling at the object, not the emotional reaction :: "HAMMER!!"


Each of the words has a meaning. Usually, they are used incorrectedly. Sexual connotation? Nope, not that time. Excretory connotation? Nope, not there.


Show off your KNOWLEDGE by being CREATIVE in your choice of words to describe what has happened or what you are talking about. It's more fun any way. And it sure doesn't annoy the adults as much. Why not get a reputation as a good talker, not just a talker.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I always wonder what one who constantly cusses says when they really need to cuss? If expletives are constantly spewing from one's mouth, how do I as a listener know that he/she is trying to accent something or just speaking normally?


Along these lines, how do you handle scouts saying, "frick" or "frickin?" Personally I hold it just as bad as that other f word since it seems to have been created as substitute.



Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a true story.


We had a Scout (Mike) who fried the day after parents night (Wednesday) every year at summer camp. One year, he told an ASM to go F himself & he was promptly told to pack his bags & mom was called & he went home. The next year the same thing happened only in a more creative way.


I was sitting on the porch outside my tent when the rifle range director stopped by. This wasn't a social visit. He informed me that Mike had taken brass off the range & the camp rule was if a Scout does this, he is sent home by the camp director. The range director came to inform me before he went to see the camp director. I told him I thought Mike did this so he could get sent home & I really didn't want to send him home. I asked if during all the rest of Mike's free time if he could be "range boy". In other words, clean up, get stray arrows, put up new targets - busy work. The range director agreed. No sooner had the range director left, the Eco-Con director shows up. This wasn't a social visit either. She informed me there is a cuss cup in Eco-Con & if anyone one in the area cusses it cost them a quarter. She then informed me Mike ran up a $20 bill in about 20 minutes! We were both sorta impressed but agreed something was going on. We came to the agreement that Mike would apologize to all who were present at Eco-Con when the incident took place (which was to be 10 AM on Friday). When Mike returned he was told we had visitors & what he was to do. He seemed disappointed he wasn't going home & figured he'd play up the apology. Word was spread to all the program areas about Mike's apology & at 10 AM on Friday, 3/4's of the camp was present to hear the apology unbeknownst to Mike. When he stood up on the picnic table to apologize & looked out over the throng, he realized what he had done.


Mike went on to earn his Eagle & we never had another problem like this again.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...