Re: Who should go to Scout Camp?
Ian N Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sat, 10 Aug 1996 12:13:55 +0100
On Sat, 10 Aug 1996, Pete Murray wrote:
> I did not say this was a Scout, this was a School sponsored event
> and I was not "the leader" but a parent chaperone. Unfortunately, I had no
> prior experience with this boy until this trip, and yes, I feel his parents
> were extremely negligent, for even the school had no record of his being
> ADD. They wanted to avoid his having a "bad rep" with his teachers and staff
> at the school. ADD has a certain stigma, and I can understand thier
> reluctance, but to let him go hundreds of miles from home without a safety
> net, is to me unthinkable.
I am somewhat surprised that professional teachers did not work it out
for themselves that the kid had problems. I thought that was what they
were trained for. And certainly the teachers in charge of the trip ought
to be used to dealing with " difficult " kids.
As for " stigma " I wonder why parents would prefer to have everyone
thinking their kid was " naughty " rather than accept that he had a
fairly common ( about 5% of the population ) neuropsychological problem
which is treatable if not curable.
Partly it is the attitude of the adults. I know that in one troop I was
with the Leaders had some very negative attitudes to kids with AD/HD. One
made it very clear that he was opposed to medication and thought the cure
was firm discipline and lots of religion. Another just would not accept
that the kids were different and took everything personally - i.e. they
were not listening to him and that was an affront to his dignity.
I always made a point of addressing the behaviour whilst respecting the boy.
Sometimes it is hard to stay calm, but one has to remember who is the
adult in this situation. If the adult can't remain calm and deal with a
situation it is time for a break. I have been in confrontations with a
kid and had to take control. " Look, both of need to calm down before we
can talk this over sensibly. Let's both take some time out and talk about
it in a few minutes. " Usually after a few minutes we can each see the
other's view and work on a way forward.
Often it is far better in the long term to try to help the kid to manage
the problem than to take the easy option of send the kid home and let the
parents deal with it. One kid said that I was the first adult to discuss
techniques of anger management with him rather than blame him for fighting.
Unless he had other ways of dealing with aggression then obviously the
only way he would respond to a stress situation was to hit out.
Most of the time anger and frustration are responses to < imagined >
insults to our personal self-esteem. Helping the angry kid to realise
that his perspective of the situation may not reflect the true motivation of
the other party can be an enlightening experience. I once sat down with
a kid and said " Now make me angry ... go on, how are you going to do
it ? " He looked at me. " I can't ... " So I said " Right. And nobody
can make <you> angry unless you let them. " Taking actual personal
responsibility for one's actions is a tough lesson to learn.
Thanks for sharing your story ...
Trainer, Channel District, Transatlantic Council BSA
Health service manager, social work practice teacher
and postgrad. psychology student.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City