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Thread: Dealing with 'That one child'

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ker-stee's Avatar
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    Dealing with 'That one child'

    Advice needed!

    I know everyone has that 'one child' who winds up the other Scouts, messes around during activities and generally causes a little bit of havoc.... But we're starting to get to the end of our tether with ours.

    He's been with us a year, came straight off the street so no prior Cub or Beaver 'training', but he's been with us long enough now to know our rules/procedures etc.

    As some examples of the chaos he causes....

    • Claims to hate Scouts, but comes every week and has even invited friends to join
    • Can't/Won't stand still
    • Always talking
    • Doesn't seem to engage with any activities that we put on (And we have a wide range, so you'd think we'd have found something he'd want to do
    • But then (After the above) wants to take over, regardless of whether he knows the skills or what he's doing!


    But his constant disruption means no other Scouts want to work with him - it seems even the Scouts he introduced who are his friends. We have one child we definitely can't put him with, but then we have to be clever when sorting groups out to make sure that the other same Scouts don't end up having to attempt to work with him each week, as it's just not fair on him.

    We've made him sit out of activities, we've spoken to parents and he doesn't seem to want to come on camps so we can't even offer not allowing him on those as a 'threat'. He claims to not enjoy Scouts, but he's always asking when the next parade is so he can wear his uniform in public and he's brought two friends along... and you wouldn't bring friends along if you didn't enjoy something....

    But what can we do?! There are no SEN requirements that we know of and need to take into account... But it's becoming frustrating for us and the Scouts!
    I bat for both teams...
    Yes, i'm bi... organisational!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Ewan Scott

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  3. #3
    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    It sounds like there is something underlying with this child that runs beyond just being that one disruptive element. Sounds like he's looking for attention that he's probably not getting elsewhere. That is going to need something a bit more subtle than just facing him down. I'd suggest starting with a long talk with his parents and take it from there.

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    there comes a point when you have to make it so miserable for them they either improve or leave

    they miss the games, the activities... they sit out, they miss meetings and soon you call parents to come and collect midway through meeting

    we feel like we failed but in reality, no loss if they leave: we can't fix the truly broken in 2 hours a week but we can make a real difference to the others.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Get rid before it goes wrong.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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    Kerstee. This is really good advice from Big Chris. However, you need to speak with the Scout first to make it clear that he has the choice of joining in and being co-operative or else you will call his parents to collect him. If it becomes necessary then call in his parents. They won't like it (if they blame you remind them that you a volunteer and demand that they come every week to watch over the young fella). More importantly, you get the message through to your 'difficult' Scout and show to all other members of the Troop that you will not accept a lack of commitment during your section meetings. Make sure that your fellow section leaders are on board with this before you begin the process.

    RH Nottingham

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    Yup.

    We have that child. So far I reckon we've lost four other scouts because of this one individual. (Other stuff has happened in what is quite a small village, but I can't go into that in an open forum.)

    We're clear about rules and pretty much stick to what we say we're going to do. We're also completely transparent with parents, so there can be no mixed signals or confusion.

    We said we'd start excluding scouts for misbehaviour - process was, three warnings (totally up to leader's discretion - and leaders WILL support each other...) After that, you get excluded for one week, but we don't tell parents (parents know about this rule - transparency ), unless the ask us. After that, we exclude again and tell parents. After that, they're oot.

    We excluded our challenging individual and he's been fine. Although we're noticing he's warming back up again.

    Assuming you haven't kicked him out for a week, I'd try that before a complete chucking out. Sometimes they just need to be reminded they're not in charge.

  10. #8
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Nowadays I am of the opinion that it isn't worth the efort dealing with really disruptive kids.

    We have a unanimous policy now. If a kid is seriously disruptive, if they bring anyone in the group to tears, then they forfiet their membership.

    We will deal with autism, etc., but the disruptive kid who will not modify their behaviour loses their right to be a member. It simply is not worth trying to deal with them any more.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  11. #9
    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    I'll expand on what I wrote earlier, I'm in less of a rush now.

    Your scout is clearly disruptive and the way they are behaving is not something that you or the rest of your scouts should have to put up with. And it needs to be dealt with.

    However there are also mixed messages coming across. You say that he isn't engaged yet wants to be included. As per my first post he is clearly craving attention, probably attention he's not getting elsewhere.

    So where I would go is that the parents need to be brought in for a conversation with you and the GSL. And you do need the GSL on your side here. The parents need to be told in no uncertain terms that how he is behaving his unacceptable, but I think they also need to be given an opportunity to explain if there is something wrong elsewhere. Is he struggling at school? Being bullied? Recently berieved? If there is something it's important to understand that and what you can do to help. That doesn't mean you are the answer to all problems in your two hours a week and neither does it mean he can be allowed to carry on as he is. However getting all the cards on the table is important before he hits that brick wall.

    Of course if after all that he still dicks about then as others have said call the parents, send him home. They'll soon get the message.

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    Yup ^^

    Really important to identify if there are any contributing factors. It's difficult, we've had a quite a lot of kids through the years who (to me anyway) should have had some sort of diagnosis so people could understand why they were behaving the way they were - sometimes it's not clear cut. There are parents who are are reluctant to have their kid labelled like this, they're more worried about the stigma than about the problems what ever it is might be causing.

    That said, there are kids who are just touched by a degree of genuine sociopathy - about which you can do very little. Problem is, that can often look a lot like other genuine diagnosed things...

    I suppose, taking that one step further, if the kid did have any diagnoses, you might risk problems if you did chuck them out...

    Hey ho. It's a brave new world...


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    I might be inclined to follow CambridgeSkip's advice, but without the parents (but most definitely with the GSL). I believe strongly that by the time kids are scout-aged, they should be treated as adults, and that they should be given the opportunity to develop away from their parents. It isn't obvious that scouts is something he actually enjoys doing. It is possible from the information you have given that he is expected to attend by his parents. Inviting other friends along (to make it more tolerable) isn't inconsistent with that.

    It also gives you another card to play ("we will have to have a discussion about this with your parents, if this doesn't improve"). Ask him what he enjoys about scouts, and what activities he would like to see. Put him in charge of an activity (or portion)? Make it clear to the other scouts that he is in charge. Make it clear to him that in doing this you are following the first scout law, and that you in return expect him to follow all of them.

    Sometimes giving kids a little bit of responsibility (and accountability to go with it) makes them behave very differently.

    Make it very clear that if during that evening (and not just when he is in charge) he does not try to improve his behaviour, then you will be calling in his parents.

    One year is not a long time for someone who has never been in scouting before, especially if he has never been on camp.

    But I think you also have to be firm and appreciate that however much you might want to help the lost sheep, your time and effort may be much more valuable to (and have more impact on) the rest of the flock and therefore getting rid of him may be the best outcome overall.

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    I've never really understood why we believe that we should bend over backwards, think up reasons why or put ourselves through pain simply to accomodate the distruptive youngster. We've all tried and we've all got the scars to prove it. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what is Scouting all about. I know those in higher positions tell everyone we are inclusive - well, good luck with that!! We are not trained to deal with the many problems young people present with nowadays. For heaven's sake - even schools with professionals cannot cope so why do we think we can? We don't have any relevant training - a factsheet may exist but that is useless without some form of back up. We all do our best to cope but there comes a time when you have to ask yourself who is benefitting here? The other youngsters in your section definitely are not! You are not! The youngster who is causing the problem - who knows?? Simply ask the youngster to go. He has no right to be there. If he can't follow the rules then he is not welcome. Many groups compete with the demands of football clubs. What would a football club do if they had a younsgter who would not follow the rules??

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    I had a cub scout like that once, he could wind people up like a rubber band. Would disrupt everything and everyone every week but would still turn up without fail. The solution was to give him things to do. If I wanted pens and paper from the cupboard he would go and get it. The flag needed rolling up it was his job, jugs of juice, his job. Open the door for the parents at the end of the meet - his responsibility. In short every meeting I kept him so busy he didnt have time to disrupt anyone, and after several he started to calm down and join in so that he could get out of all the jobs - After a year I made him a seconder - with strict caveats, six months later a sixer, and he was one of the best cubs in the pack for a long while- might not work with yours but worth a try.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    You say that he isn't engaged yet wants to be included. As per my first post he is clearly craving attention, probably attention he's not getting elsewhere.

    That is not always the case. I got caught out by thinking that.

    Not ever taking that chance again.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by boballan View Post
    I've never really understood why we believe that we should bend over backwards, think up reasons why or put ourselves through pain simply to accomodate the distruptive youngster.
    I think there's a big difference between 'accommodate' and 'adapt your behaviour to try and help'.

    I don't think the OP is asking whether she should simply accommodate one child's behaviour, and I don't think anyone is suggested she should.

    Scouts is blessed by being extremely flexible in terms of what we CAN expect of INDIVIDUAL children. We have no targets, no performance-related pay, no league tables, the ability to walk away without losing any pay. We can challenge some to get their GCS award, and others we can encourage to turn up with a necker and woggle each week. I can think of a pair of scouts where it would mean more to me if one managed the latter than if the other managed the former consistently.

    Frankly though, a lot depends on how many adults you have to help. The more adults, the better you can adapt expectations for individuals. With just a few, you basically have to cater for the middle ground and kids (at both ends) lose out.

    [edited to add words in CAPS]

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