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Thread: Role play ideas - causality and consequences.

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    Role play ideas - causality and consequences.

    So we have a problem which is developing...

    Edit* for the TL/DR version, go to the bottom.

    Its happened before, but never to this extent. For some reason the current batch of younger kids in Scouts (all aged 10 and 11) are very highly strung, its not that they're bad per se, its that they're far to excitable which leads to very unruly behaviour. From what some parents have said, it may stem from school where its not as orderly as it once was. From their point of view, some parents who are positive their kid is being bullied - fair enough, we look into that and find things either way. Then we have other parents who say such and such a child/children's behaviour is so appalling, they wonder why they haven't been excluded from school.

    What we have is a troop of 24, of which 17/18 attend regularly with the rest dipping in and out (what can you do?) Of that 17/18 about five or six of them fall into this troublesome category, another five or six are easily led, and the rest are fantastic. Would that we could just have that latter group down...

    We have that core group of five or six who continually goad each other, its relentless, we stop it when we see and hear it and we're quite strict. But we don't have eyes on the back of our heads and different leaders have far different tolerances for it. Me? I have no tolerance for it, others... Mmm, maybe don't recognise it.

    Of that first group, they'll nip at each other until one of them (this is random, they take turns) snaps and bursts into tears. They go home, tell their mum/dad/carer/whoever they're being bullied and the emails start coming. There are flows of abuse streaming between members of this group, then one drip puts one of them over the edge. They go from being as abusive & horrible as anyone else, to a victim of the most heinous bullying - because they essentially bottled it first.

    Haven't tried anything too clever with this, we've only been back a couple of weeks, but it only took two weeks for the first email to arrive and it was from a parent whose on the committee so kind of knows the score. Her kid is no shrinking violet, but it was his turn to crack last Thursday. (What set this him back was, we told the troop only PL's and APL's will be able to use knifes. Individually, they're all actually okay, but as a group, they are multiple trips to A&E waiting to happen. He wasn't happy. He's only 11 and tried to convince us he was a PL that night because his wasn't there - we tried to explain that it doesn't work like that, but that's the mentality.)

    Does anyone know of any role play games or activities that cover causality and consequences? We have a code of conduct (its rubbish, only works if your kids are civil in the first place). We made some headway last year with being more consistent, annoyingly, some leaders have fallen back into bad habits here. We've already lost decent kids over the summer due to linked behaviours.

    For the first time, I'm now putting loose time limits on departing completely. I don't know if its me or the kids but something has changed - I'm asking myself, is this really worth doing any more? These kids are serious narcissists - they just don't get how it works.

    Discuss, (but please discount any ideas previously couched in threads about dealing with poor behaviour... We've been up and down that road a million times...)



    Edit* TL/DR version. Horrible kids picking on each other, no concept of consequence or causality, do you have any role play ideas to demonstrate.

    \edit*
    Last edited by pa_broon74; 12-09-2017 at 02:50 PM.

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    We have exactly the same problem and are also struggling to contain it, I've just suspended the last batch for a couple of weeks so I'm now having to deal with all the emails about how their child is a little darling and it was the others. Likewise I'm also seriously questioning why I'm doing it, my youngest moved up to Explorers a couple of years ago so I'm running out of reasons to do Scouts.

    Sorry but I'm not able to offer any suggestions about role play etc, just wanted to let you know you aren't the only one. My wife is a secondary school teacher and her advice has always been not to yell, have naughty steps/chairs/corners even at Scout age and just to keep trying. Does help a lot if the parents are on your side.

    Nick

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    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    I struggle with the idea of a role-play; if the leaders are doing it then it lays them open to mockery, and if the YP do it then it opens up the one who plays the role of victim to mockery. One way or another you've got to avoid them saying, "Well what do you expect from a numpty like Smiffy?".

    Give them a real-world example. When people take over failing schools one of the first things that is often done is to tighten up on the uniform policy. Maybe they're doing that at your local school, maybe not. If uniform and equipment (notebook, pencil etc.) are important to your group, then do an inspection every evening and give an instant reward to those who meet your standard; knife training for them, something worthy but dull, like shoe polishing, for the others. It's not about how tidy they are, it's about you setting a task and them seeing that they're rewarded for completing it.

    It sounds like they need an instant demonstration of good behaviour = reward, and it has to be you that's deciding what's good and what isn't.

    Hope this wasn't done to death in earlier threads.
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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    I don't know any games, but you could sit the guilty six down and ask them why you should carry on?

    Or become an explorer leader, then you can eff and jeff at them once in while.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

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    I doubt this will help you very much in practical terms but what you are saying about lack of awareness of causality resonates with something I read earlier in the summer. It was in a book about teenagers and use of technology/social media so not entirely relevant. Anyway one of the points made in this was that as parents (and by extension presumably teachers and leaders) its easy to get frustrated when teenagers seem inexplicably bad at spotting the likely consequences of their actions before acting. However apparently the part of the brain which covers this skill is one of the last to develop - the emotional part involving fear and aggression apparently is one of the first (Gee thanks!). The general thrust of what I was reading was that understanding this firstly helps you understand that they aren't just doing it to wind you up or because your kids are somehow abnormal - but because its a fundamental part of their stage of development. Secondly it may help to manage their behaviour by promoting a time of thinking about the likely consequences before they act. I'm afraid that's pretty much all I have to offer and I know its not much - I do feel from personal experience with my otherwise lovely, bright 12 year old repeatedly careering headlong into daft situations that there is more than a whiff of truth about it.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ihatecamping View Post
    I struggle with the idea of a role-play; if the leaders are doing it then it lays them open to mockery, and if the YP do it then it opens up the one who plays the role of victim to mockery. One way or another you've got to avoid them saying, "Well what do you expect from a numpty like Smiffy?".

    Give them a real-world example. When people take over failing schools one of the first things that is often done is to tighten up on the uniform policy. Maybe they're doing that at your local school, maybe not. If uniform and equipment (notebook, pencil etc.) are important to your group, then do an inspection every evening and give an instant reward to those who meet your standard; knife training for them, something worthy but dull, like shoe polishing, for the others. It's not about how tidy they are, it's about you setting a task and them seeing that they're rewarded for completing it.

    It sounds like they need an instant demonstration of good behaviour = reward, and it has to be you that's deciding what's good and what isn't.

    Hope this wasn't done to death in earlier threads.
    I wondered about role play myself... I thought if I could sit them all down (because truthfully, they're all guilty of it to some extent), and demonstrate in severe Luddite terms why its incredibly dim-witted for child A to be surprised if he got a punch in the gob from child B after goading child B for an hour and a half. And child A being the recipient of a slap from child B after abusing them for hours, does not make child A the victim per se.

    We thought about tightening up uniform, but if I'm being honest, standards are so low, we're already having to pick our fights. We're rewarding PL's and APL's and giving them more responsibility (or I'm trying to...) This is where the causality/consequence thing comes in though. Those younger members just assumed they could 'move up' and be APL's and PL's because theirs was off, its that sense of entitlement (narcissism), where did that come from?

    Normally I find these quandaries a challenge, but I look at the kids we have, and most of them have such a staggering sense of entitlement and such a disappointing grasp of the social quid pro quo, like Nick said, I wonder why we bother.

    How do we all feel about sending kids out in to the night? We don't really have the man power to take them home during the meeting. My thinking is, if they come to scouts on their own then they I can put them out mid-meeting with an email to parents/carers saying so. The ones that get lifts (which most of them), I probably wouldn't send home mid-meeting...

    I really can't be arsed with the snide looks from parents who's kids i've had to berate of an evening. Being glared at in the Coop, I mean, who has time for that?

    :-/

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    I don't know any games, but you could sit the guilty six down and ask them why you should carry on?

    Or become an explorer leader, then you can eff and jeff at them once in while.
    I'm packing Explorers in next September, we're not taking in any new members.

    What can I say, I'm winding down.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I'm packing Explorers in next September, we're not taking in any new members.

    What can I say, I'm winding down.
    Now I'm confused. Why do you want to take Explorers down with you?*

    Personally, sounds like you're a bit overstretched and burnt out. So something that you might have coped better with now is just another nail in the coffin of your scouting. And they're probably little s***ts that can't really be helped in the 2 hours of the meeting.

    * I mean, apart from being a massive narcissist. I'm joking, JOKING! Don't cry man! I'm sorry.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - World Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2016 - May 2017
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Now I'm confused. Why do you want to take Explorers down with you?*

    Personally, sounds like you're a bit overstretched and burnt out. So something that you might have coped better with now is just another nail in the coffin of your scouting. And they're probably little s***ts that can't really be helped in the 2 hours of the meeting.

    * I mean, apart from being a massive narcissist. I'm joking, JOKING! Don't cry man! I'm sorry.
    Heh!

    If someone wanted to come in and take over Explorers, they'd be more than welcome (or ours can go to another unit...) Basically, there is only maybe one or two Scouts due to move up to Explorers over the next 12 months (our troop is young, we had six or seven move up before the summer there, but only three stuck, the rest plumped for the benighted P**e B**d...) Next September all bar three of the current crowd will be leaving. I asked them and they said, when all the older crowd left they'd leave with them. Its just come to a natural end.

    The current crowd of Explorers have been great, I'll be sorry to see them go. But there are shades of Scouts even in them. There's been a shift, I think at the primary school, we can track it over time as its moved up through our sections...

    You're probably right though, taking over Scouts last year was tougher than I thought. I hoped i'd be able to get on top of the discipline problem, but there hasn't been as clean a break with the old leadership regime as I hoped there would be, and I haven't felt able to do everything I felt needed to be done.

    Oh well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    How do we all feel about sending kids out in to the night? We don't really have the man power to take them home during the meeting. My thinking is, if they come to scouts on their own then they I can put them out mid-meeting with an email to parents/carers saying so. The ones that get lifts (which most of them), I probably wouldn't send home mid-meeting...

    I have texted a parent part way through a night to tell them to collect their child.

    That night and the next few weeks were awful and I wondered if I hard just made life harder for myself. The dad did come along and needed to find out exactly what had happened and why it was his son being sent home and no one else. I was being torn into too many directions.

    We had a cooking night with four teams cooking. We had four leaders/adults/supervisors. But we really needed one on each patrol due to knifes and gas. I could do without the cross examination.

    Post event I had a series of calls and communications, including the GSL. One of the calls to a parent lasted over an hour (relating to a different but similar incident were no one got sent home). I was wondering whether it was worth it.

    That scout did improve his behaviour a bit. He is not perfect by any means but now a PL.

    The behaviour of the troop improved almost overnight. No one else wants to be the kid that got sent home.

    Unfortunately that was over two years ago. There are only a handful of scouts from that night still in the troop. I suspect lessons from that night are not passed from one to the next.

    Two years before that we had a group just as you described. I just jumped ship. I moved to a new troop opening up in our group. I returned once the aggressors had moved on. Possibly cowardly of me. But I had started volunteering purely to start the new troop.



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    OK try this. I did it with Cubs for one of the old challenge badges. It's a variation on 'It's not fair', which you probably know.

    Three Scouts, A, B and C are sitting on a bench. A has lots of sweets, which he is stuffing into his face, giving nothing to the others. Ask the Troop, "Is that fair?". let the discussion go for a bit, then say, "I'm going to take you. Back. In. Time". Everyone does the wavy thing like they're on Star Trek.

    "Five minutes earlier" All three are still on the bench, but A now has a 10 note, which he's admiring. The others have nothing. Ask again if it's fair.

    Go Back. In. Time. for another five minutes. Someone (you?) walks up to the three of them, and asks if anyone wants to wash his car. One ignores you and continues playing with his phone, one says he'll do it for 20, and A says, "Yes, OK". You say, "Great, I'll pay you 10. Here's a bucket and cloth".

    So, NOW is it fair that A had all those sweets?

    You could dress it up as something to do with charities if you like.

    I'd think again about the uniform thing. It's easy to do, the standards can be absolute (you either have your pencil, or you don't), and there's always something that even the best ones will get wrong or forget. You can niggle the troublemakers so much they either get bored, or their parents' behaviour forces you to withdraw their place.

    And as to where the sense of entitlement came from? Mate, look around you.
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    Mmm...

    I think I'd have trouble getting them to understand the role play, but it is interesting - one to try on a quiet night.

    I see your point about uniform. We did go through a phase where one Scout was a serial offender, all the excuses would come out, we told he either wears it or he doesn't attend and he did start making an effort.

    So yeah. I think we'll try that out.

    As you say re. the sense of entitlement... Its been quite funny, we had four cubs move up, (we keep calling them new Cubs, but they're new Scouts...) Anyway, they were quite surprised by the way Leaders at Scouts spoke, we had to explain that we weren't kids, teachers or children's TV presenters. It says something about what they're used to.

    Personally, I think half the problem is, they don't know what an adult is, because the vast majority of adults they come into contact with, speak like toddlers because they think the kids will respond best to.

    It rather annoys me...

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    If this is as reported (ie a small identified group picking at each other until one of them breaks) then I wouldn't bother with the role play, I'd move straight to the consequences. After all, Scouting at heart is just role play preparing for adult responsibility.* I would brief the group that if any one of them is reduced to tears then they all go home, immediately. And warn the parents that they might be getting a phone call to collect. Of course there will be complaints that "it wasn't me" - well, it was you, or it was you another time, or you let it happen, and that is all just as bad.

    I do believe in sending home immediately, and then next week no more is said about the matter. I hate suspensions - we can't influence kids' behaviours if they're not here. Kids best learn where the boundaries are if, when they cross them, the sky falls in. (That's role play for the adult criminal justice system, isn't it?)


    * I have this vision of role play within a role play leading to one of those fantasy movie conclusions where the subject can no longer tell what is a deeper level of the role play and what is real life. Actually I know adults in Scouting who are already at that stage.
    John Russell
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    If this is as reported (ie a small identified group picking at each other until one of them breaks) then I wouldn't bother with the role play, I'd move straight to the consequences. After all, Scouting at heart is just role play preparing for adult responsibility.* I would brief the group that if any one of them is reduced to tears then they all go home, immediately. And warn the parents that they might be getting a phone call to collect. Of course there will be complaints that "it wasn't me" - well, it was you, or it was you another time, or you let it happen, and that is all just as bad.
    This approach I like.

    And it's not the fault of the kid in tears, it's the fault of all the kids that drove them to that point.


    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    * I have this vision of role play within a role play leading to one of those fantasy movie conclusions where the subject can no longer tell what is a deeper level of the role play and what is real life. Actually I know adults in Scouting who are already at that stage.
    Is this the real life?
    Is this just fantasy?
    Caught in a landslide...
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    This approach I like.

    And it's not the fault of the kid in tears, it's the fault of all the kids that drove them to that point.
    The thing is, the kid in tears? It absolutely is their fault. This is what I meant by consequences, they seem unable to make the connection between picking on each other, then becoming upset because someone is being horibble to them. Imagine two kids standing taking turns giving each other dead arms. It starts off good natured, then turns increasingly nasty. It gets to the point neither wants to back down, so they start slagging off each other's mums and dads... After an hour of this, one snaps and runs away crying claiming they're being bullied. (The definition of what bullying is, is being severely warped...)

    The kid that burst into tears was just as culpable as anyone else, if anything, (controversially) on that day (for what ever reason) they didn't have the fortitude to withstand the onslaught.

    This group of kids think sorry isn't an act of contrition, but a word they can deploy to get away with something they've done wrong. They genuinely can't tell the difference between making a mistake (sorry) and deliberately doing something they know is wrong then thinking sorry will absolve them of any responsibility. Its like they've been taught to say it, but not what it means.

    And so it is with this behaviour. Its borderline sociopathic. I have no sympathy for the kid that ends up in tears - (being controversial) it could be that I have even less sympathy because they knew what they were doing, they put themselves in that position knowing what might happen, and when it did, they run off crying to mum. Its classic slopey shoulders.

    But I maintain, they're not bad kids, they just don't seem to know how to behave. Individually they are perfectly normal, polite children who are great to have around - as a group? Nope.

    As to the 'Joint Enterprise'? I'm all for it, if one errs, they all pay the price. Unfortunately its not so clear cut. Firstly, group membership fluctuates and secondly, we only witness a fraction of what actually goes on. And, if I'm being honest, I've had this conversation with them as a group and individually several times, to no avail. According to some parents, they're exactly the same at school. And there's me saying to them "I know you know how to behave, because you do it as school..." I now understand why that falls on deaf ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    I would brief the group that if any one of them is reduced to tears then they all go home, immediately. And warn the parents that they might be getting a phone call to collect. Of course there will be complaints that "it wasn't me" - well, it was you, or it was you another time, or you let it happen, and that is all just as bad.
    I dislike this approach. Sending them home is fair enough - but only if they have done something wrong. You seem to be suggesting sending the entire group home regardless of if they have all misbehaved.

    I do not accept that a Scout who has decided to change their behaviour and done nothing wrong that meeting is just as bad as the ones who have misbehaved.


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