Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@MARLIN.SSNET.COM)
Thu, 27 Jul 1995 20:40:48 EDT
There are a lot of methods for handling discipline problems within the Scout
Group. I think the single most important thing to remember is that you have
to have a flexible, yet consistent, approach in all areas. However, there
are some ideas Ill pass along. They may or may not work for you, depending
on how your Troop leadership system is structured, but they seem to have
worked fairly well for me over the years.
>1. What do you do with a boy who won't do his share of the camp
>chores. We had a duty roster and one boy just wouldn't do the cleanup.
Perhaps you might approach this from a team approach. The Patrol is a team
that does not function unless all of its members work together to share the
load. If a Scout refuses to do camp chores, the most obvious choice is often
to restrict the fun activities that he or she would prefer to be doing until
the chores are completed. There may well be some reasons that go deeper than
just plain laziness, so there may also be a need for some counseling to find
out what is going on in his life that is behind this. Of course, this is not
quite as easy, but it may build something in your relationship with him that
will help him grow.
>2. How do you handle bullies.
Depends on the bully. Some are intractible, others are bullying because they
do not know how to build friendship relationships unless they feel
themselves to be in a position of power over others. This is a difficult
subject that would be an excellent discussion thread on its own. There are
kids for whom this is a symptom of fairly deep emotional problems that
One key to handling bullies is to make certain that you do not allow a new
Scout to bully others in any way. The earlier you begin working this out
with a Scout, the better the chances of having the problem resolve. It's
very difficult to reverse a bully's social position once he or she has
become established as a bully within the group. We have an instance where a
boy began bullying others, and we have a good handle on his behaviour now -
although he has "latched on" to one of the Leaders as a parent-surrogate.
There appear to be some family relationship problems at the root of his
problems. (It helps to have a professional counselor or two among you adult
leadership team for prblems of this magnitude...)
>3. Who should be the policeman. The adults or the boys themselves.
Both. The junior Leaders need to be trained in how to manage "problem
people", with a very strong adult Leader backup and oversight to manage the
more difficult problems. Don't let this go to the "Lord of the Flies" type
judicial system, though...
>4. What action would warrant sending a boy home from camp.
Behaviour that endangers others, or inappropriate behaviour that
significantly interferes with your being able to conduct a quality programme
for your Scouts. We don't send Scouts home - we require their parents to
come to wherever we happen to be and pick them up. This is put down on all
of our permission slips in black and white, with the parents consenting to
do so when they sign their permission for the Scout to go with us. This can
be more than a little bit inconvenient/expensive (we went to Newfoundland
this summer from the States)...
>5. What punishments work.
Restriction from any activity that the Scout enjoys works quite well. The
Scout remains in camp (can't be taunted by the others). Of course, there has
to be adult Leaders present...
We don't have to have parents come out to pick up their children very often.
Once it happens the first time, and the Scouts realise that you aren't
kidding about this particular standard, most of them reflect on what kind of
personal impact on their lives that having their parents come to retrieve
them for misbehaviour - and choose not to let things go to that point...
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City