Re: Withholding Camp as Discipline
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Tue, 9 Jul 1996 19:22:56 -0600
Negative reinforcement continues to be a classic response of many parents
in attempting to discipline their children. Unfortunately it is often a
holdover from the "way they were brought up" so it becomes the only "tool"
they have in their parenting "toolbox" that they trust or know. It isn't
always easy to sell parents on positive reinforcement when they want to
use witholding of privleges as a way of effecting
positive behavioral changes in their children; Yet, this is the one lesson
that Scouting must absolutely teach parents, to ensure that those young
folks get the experiences they so desperately need.
Sometimes its a real shocker to the
youth to be told by a parent that while a particular behavior is not
acceptable, they are still going to go on the Scouting trip!
No further explanation is
needed and might in fact spoil the end result if it were presented.
Sometimes after the experience, reflecting with the child on why they were
not disciplined but rather sent on the Scouting experience serves to
reinforce the tremendous benefits of participation and improve the trust
and positive relationship between parent and child.
Often the solution is simply a matter of educating the parent that witholding
Scouting activities only exacerbates the problem. If you show them some
examples of how the Scouting events are a growth experience that often
produce remarkable changes in the Scouts personality and outlook, they may
see the wisdom of not witholding Scouting participation as a "disciplinary
tool." The old addage that "honey always attracts more bees than vinegar"
certainly holds true in getting positive results through youth
participation in Scouting events. A good experience at summer camp or
other outdoor Scouting event often is just the thing to turn the Scouts
I can remember the astonishment of a number of parents whose children had
returned from some of the "mountain-top" experiences such as jamborees,
and high adventure bases. One mom said "..I'm not sure you gave me back
my kid. He looks the same, but he sure doesn't act the same." One
particular Scout was kind of a "troubled teen" who was very bright but
tended to be withdrawn, and confrontational with other Scouts and adults.
One trip to a high adventure base, and he came back "bubbling"
with excitement, went right to work on advancement, got his Eagle and took
up rock climbing, hiking, and became an Assistant Scoutmaster when he
turned 18. He graduated from college with honors and is doing very well.
So just tell the Scouting story to these parents, and encourage them to
use positive reinforcement rather than witholding the one thing they need
the most, the Scouting experience!
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72, Boulder, CO
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City