Re: Remember Scouting is a Safe Haven...
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 12:16:26 -0400
Im guessing that Rich and Tim, tho I dont know them (so I could be wrong in
my assumption), are talking about the boy who (for whatever reason) disrupts
the program to the point that the other boys in his den are not receiving a
quality program, or *any* program at all when the disruption is incessant.
What do you recommend in that situation? If the time required to deal with
the distractions/trouble/whatever-you-wish-to-call it related to this boy is
*significant* and incessant, where do you draw the line?
Mark, as one who felt the need to admonish Tim for his statements, allow me
to try to answer your questions. Where do you draw the line? You draw the
line when the disruption becomes either significant OR incessant. The first
time the boy disrupts the meeting, give him a warning. Don't admonish him,
just let him know that you think he could do much better. Also let him know
that you'll be happy to let him have some time alone to get himself settled
down if that's what he needs (time out).
Do you draw the line at all?
Yes. Start early. Make sure everyone knows what is acceptable and what isn't
acceptable. It's also important to be consistent. If your problem child gets
a time out for a particular infraction, anyone else who commits the same act
should get a time out. Try to avoid the appearance of "picking on" your
The parents of all of your Scouts should also be aware of what is acceptable
and not acceptable. Discussing problems with parents may give you some ideas
on what will work and what won't. If you start to see a pattern in a boy's
behavior (i.e. two or three warnings for the same behavior at consecutive
meetings) it may be necessary to ask the boy's parents to attend a meeting
or two. Don't make it mandatory. Invite them to a couple meetings and
discuss ways to help their son. Making it mandatory tells the parents you
can't handle their son and want them there simply to keep him under control.
How do you explain to the other parents that their boy is not getting as
much of the Scouting program as he could be, that is, when it is for this
reason and no other? Do you explain it at all, or is this a "life's lesson"
for the other boys, much less their parents?
You'll only need to explain it to the other parents if you let the boy's
conduct get out of hand. If warnings, time outs, parental visits don't work
it may be necessary to take more drastic measures like skipping the time
outs and going straight to "call your parents and ask them to come get you!"
This sends a very powerful message to the Scout that his conduct is not
acceptable, and the consequences of unacceptable behavior are drastic.
How do I handle it if my boy doesn't get his 1/13th share of my attention
(there are 13 in our den) meeting after meeting after meeting (in fact, he
rarely does), and he recognizes that it is because my time is 'monopolized'
(bad word, but cant think of another right now) by these issues?
You assume that all thirteen Scouts need 1/13th of your attention during a
den meeting. I would suggest that this is the wrong approach. Each Scout
needs you attention at some point during the meeting, but some will need
more than others. Some Scouts are happy to know you know they are there;
some need to know you're glad to see them; and some need to make sure you
haven't forgotten them. The difference is that a Scout who is happy you know
he's there will be satisfied with a greeting from you at the beginning of
the meeting. He may be able to go the entire meeting without any more
attention from you.
Scouts who need to know you're glad to see them are usually looking for some
positive feedback. They may require a little more attention from you than
just a simple greeting and smile. These Scouts are by far the most common.
They don't require a lot of constant attention and can probably get by with
1/13th of your attention.
Scouts who need to make sure you haven't forgotten them are the ones who
need most of your attention. They don't have to be disruptive. They can be
the Scouts who inform you of every little accomplishment. They can also be
the Scout who disrupts the meeting occasionally. These are both ways boy's
use to get your attention. On the one hand, they're looking for positive
feedback. On the other hand, they're looking for ANY feedback.
When you try to give every Scout an equal share of your attention, some
Scouts get much more than they need while other Scouts don't get enough.
That's when problems occur. Concentrate on giving 100% of your attention to
the group. Get all 13 involved in every project and give your attention to
them as a group. When you have to deal with and individual Scout, make sure
you give him 100% of your attention. Adults may be able to understand that
there are different levels of attention, but children usually don't. If
you're listening to one Scout while watching the other Scouts conduct an
activity, that one Scout will usually assume you aren't paying attention to
More questions? You have but to ask.
AJ Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scoutmaster Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop
Great Trail Council - Old Portage District - Akron, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City