coping with behavioral problems
Mariette Gieles (M.Gieles@STUDENT.KUN.NL)
Sun, 26 Nov 1995 23:02:23 +0100
I have followed the discussion about how to cope with Scouts with
'behavioral problems' with interest. I don't agree with Ed who doesn't
tolerate any ADD behavior. I do agree that no one should be excused for
his or her behavior by pointing to a behavior problem. But I do think
that kids must get the opportunity to learn to cope with their problems.
As Ed said, these kids are often surrounded by specialists and taking
heavy medicines. If we don't want that, we should not just send
misbehaving Scouts home, but help prevent the need for all these shrinks.
I don't say that it will be possible for all ADD children, but I think
that Scouting is just what they need to learn to cope with their
In my troop we have a boy who used to 'explode' every now and then. We
would have to hold him tight with two leaders to prevent him from
demolishing things and hurting people. Also he had problems
concentrating. In school, he was two years behind his age-mates (can you
say this in English?) and the other kids liked to bully him because they
knew he would get out of control then. He didn't belong to the group at
school and thus didn't have the chance to learn how to behave socially
and how to control himself.
At Scouts, we tried to be as consequent as possible with him. We made him
know very well that we didn't approve of his getting out of control, and
expected him to try as hard as he couldto keep control. And he did try.
But then, IF he didn't succeed and went mad, we just helped him get over
it and calm down and didn't blame him too much. We only 'scolded' him
when we saw that he was not trying his best. The troop was wonderful: they also
him and were happy when he managed to keep control, but didn't throw him
out when he didn't.
It cost a lot of patience, but it worked. The boy is now 15 years old and
APL. His problems are not over, but he learned to cope with them.
Scouting gave him the chance to learn and try in a safe environment what he
will need to do in 'real life' without failure to become happy and succesful.
What I mean to say is, that you can only expect someone to learn to cope
with his or her problems when you start demanding things at a reachable
level and then, as the kid learns, demand a little more, etcetera.
I think that this is what Ed calls 'babysitting', but well, If
'babysitting' is what we need to help young people grow up, why shouldn't
we! When you refuse to have kids with difficulties in your troop, you
deny the ones that need that help the most!
(I hope I made myself clear, it's hard to express myself in English...)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City