Parenting - not just ADD kids
Ian N Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Fri, 15 Nov 1996 08:18:11 +0000
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 07:30:42 +0000 (GMT)
From: Ian N Ford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Tom Lynch <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: ADD
Tom makes a good point, but why restrict it to ADD kids ? One of the
reasons why youth work exists is because not all kids have perfect parents.
Not all kids even have both parents at home, perfect or otherwise.
So we give up our time and resources to try to improve society by doing
what little we can in that " hour a week " to help and guide young people
who join our organization.
I recently had to ask a parent to withdraw her son because she felt it
appropriate to tell him to use physical violence to " protect " his
younger brother. As a result of some imagined insult to his brother he
attacked another Scout, and only good fortune and rapid intervention by
adults prevented him from inflicting severe injuries. The mother took the
boy's side. Now it may be that Scout had psychological problems, but
neither he nor his mother would admit to them.
The fact that most kids come as a job lot with at least one parent thrown
in can be an advantage and a disadvantage. Most of the parents in the
units I have worked with have been supportive, some have been absolutely
dedicated to Scouting. But I have once had to report suspicions of
parental neglect to the authorites, had another kid ask to be " taken
into care " because of psychological abuse by his father ... in 25 years
the number of incidents is fortunately small, but each is significant for
the child concerned.
Our role is not just checking of advancement and giving out patches at
Courts of Honor or Pack Meetings. For many kids from dysfunctional families
Scouting provides a rare contact with caring and supportive adults.
Whether we want to or not we find ourselves in the role of " first aid "
counselor, welfare worker or whatever.
In some cases we get the first warning of a major problem which a child
will not raise with the school, Social Services or other " official "
agencies ... like the boy who chose to disclose to me that he was being
badly bullied at school. Having been reassured that it was a problem and
not his own fault he told his parents and action was taken.
It is not just kids with special needs who present challenges or who have
difficult parents, although bringing up such children does certainly
impose additional strain on a family. However critical we may feel
inside, we need to try to take a dispationale view of the situation and
work to help the young person involved. Nobody said it was easy ...
Training, support from other leaders and your commissioner staff,
experience and a certain amount of good luck helps. So does prayer.
I think that on training course we sometimes neglect this aspect of the
"job" ... we teach leaders skills, whether it a Cub Scout Leader making
puppets or a Boy Scout Leader doing foil cooking. We teach them about the
rules and paperwork for advancement. Then they discover at some point
that the job is also sometimes more akin to a social worker than a
As a social work practice teacher I use suitably anonymised " case
histories " from Scouting for discussion with my students ... and there
are some real issues to explore.
Trainer, Channel District, Transatlantic Council BSA
AGSL 25th Greenwich Scout Group, London UK
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City