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Thread: Handling THAT kid joining

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Handling THAT kid joining

    With a load of scouts going to explorers at Easter and a couple of recent quitters we are taking no less than 8 new recruits off the waiting list into the troop shortly. The plan is for them to come to our last night of term when we at a local camp site cooking on fires. I went through the new names with existing scouts asking who new them, looking for scouts to buddy them for their first couple of weeks. Found a few and so far so good.

    Trouble came with one particular name. It was met with a mix of groans, silence and some actual worried glances. I did a bit of probing. Word is he is that kid at school who throws his weight around gets his way. Not a bully in terms of now indication of victising anyone, but word is he doesn't let anyone get in his way.

    Now Iím not going to take that to literally. Kids say stuff, not all of it is true, others get reputations and struggle to shake them off even when they are no longer deserved. So as far as I am concerned he gets the same fair crack of the wip everyone else gets.

    However if we assume for the moment that that reputation is deserved I was pondering the best way to handle it. The only two obvious things are

    1. Keeping a sharp eye on him
    2. Choosing his patrol with care to avoid being with anyone that may be easily pushed around.

    Beyond that has anyone else ever had to deal with this? Any thoughts on the best way to handle it? It's a new one on me!

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    You get a fair few strong characters coming through, sometimes they can be a little bit too strong. As you say, observe and see how the dynamic turns out. The new guy could be nervous so it might be an opportunity to have a place where he's not automatically in charge. We do that by making it known that what ever the activity is, the scouts in charge have all of our authority (such as it is) behind them.

    Funnily enough, it used to happen most often if we played football (something we haven't done for ten or more years). But we always had the kids who were great at it, there was only ever a couple, but God did they let everyone know it. So we started packing things in favour of the not-so-good footballers.

    It's a valuable lesson, bringing people back down to earth if they get too uppity.

    I assume he wouldn't be the oldest scout? Maybe pair him off with an existing stronger character to begin with?

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I find that the "troop" usually self manage these situations.

    1/ Almost exactly as you describe - maybe worse. On the first night two of the kids started crying as soon as he walked in the door. He tried to flex his muscles in every activity and it was like he was a tomcat trying to mark his territory. On the second week, I explained quietly that " we are all mates here" , so no need to act the hard man. He continued as before. On the third week, we played Bulldog (outside in the field) and in a no holds barred contest he felt the wrath of the troop. On the fourth week he was meek and mild.

    2/ Grandma brings grandson down to Navgators. He does not look happy. I took one look at his name, looked at how he was dressed and thought , "Oh S**t!" This was compounded when he walked into the meeting and every kid in the room went white. I managed to get him aside and had a chat with him. I explained that I could see that he didn't want to be there, and that was okay by me. I didn't want kids who were forced to come." He agreed that this was the case and I spoke to his Gran and we agreed that this was not for him.

    As a post-script to 2/ eight of the Navigator came and told me that if he and his mates came to Navigators ( no danger of that) they would all quit.

    Last year we took in five questionable kids, it all ended in tears. So now, if they don't fit, they don't come. I've got a lovely bunch of kids and if someone walks in the door and upsets them, that person can walk straight back out the door.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I find that the "troop" usually self manage these situations.

    1/ Almost exactly as you describe - maybe worse. On the first night two of the kids started crying as soon as he walked in the door. He tried to flex his muscles in every activity and it was like he was a tomcat trying to mark his territory. On the second week, I explained quietly that " we are all mates here" , so no need to act the hard man. He continued as before. On the third week, we played Bulldog (outside in the field) and in a no holds barred contest he felt the wrath of the troop. On the fourth week he was meek and mild.

    2/ Grandma brings grandson down to Navgators. He does not look happy. I took one look at his name, looked at how he was dressed and thought , "Oh S**t!" This was compounded when he walked into the meeting and every kid in the room went white. I managed to get him aside and had a chat with him. I explained that I could see that he didn't want to be there, and that was okay by me. I didn't want kids who were forced to come." He agreed that this was the case and I spoke to his Gran and we agreed that this was not for him.

    As a post-script to 2/ eight of the Navigator came and told me that if he and his mates came to Navigators ( no danger of that) they would all quit.

    Last year we took in five questionable kids, it all ended in tears. So now, if they don't fit, they don't come. I've got a lovely bunch of kids and if someone walks in the door and upsets them, that person can walk straight back out the door.
    Something to be said for that, provided that the person they are all fingering really is disruptive, bullying or unpleasant, and not just nerdy or otherwise unpopular, in which case exclusion is another form of bullying really

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Something to be said for that, provided that the person they are all fingering really is disruptive, bullying or unpleasant, and not just nerdy or otherwise unpopular, in which case exclusion is another form of bullying really
    in 1/ It was clear that he was a bully - he came from another Troop that had closed because all the other kids left... (There is more but I best not say).

    2/ Trouble runs in the family. His father and uncle were trouble. Police have been involved.

    I know that some will say that these are the kids we should be helping, and there is merit in that, but, if they are going to scare away loyal members and put leaders off, then helping them gets difficult. If not downright impossible.
    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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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I find that the "troop" usually self manage these situations.

    1/ Almost exactly as you describe - maybe worse. On the first night two of the kids started crying as soon as he walked in the door. He tried to flex his muscles in every activity and it was like he was a tomcat trying to mark his territory. On the second week, I explained quietly that " we are all mates here" , so no need to act the hard man. He continued as before. On the third week, we played Bulldog (outside in the field) and in a no holds barred contest he felt the wrath of the troop. On the fourth week he was meek and mild.

    2/ Grandma brings grandson down to Navgators. He does not look happy. I took one look at his name, looked at how he was dressed and thought , "Oh S**t!" This was compounded when he walked into the meeting and every kid in the room went white. I managed to get him aside and had a chat with him. I explained that I could see that he didn't want to be there, and that was okay by me. I didn't want kids who were forced to come." He agreed that this was the case and I spoke to his Gran and we agreed that this was not for him.

    As a post-script to 2/ eight of the Navigator came and told me that if he and his mates came to Navigators ( no danger of that) they would all quit.

    Last year we took in five questionable kids, it all ended in tears. So now, if they don't fit, they don't come. I've got a lovely bunch of kids and if someone walks in the door and upsets them, that person can walk straight back out the door.
    Certainly we've had the troop self manage the gobby ones who think they're all that in the past. In fact one such individual, following an incident that left him flat on his back and two explorer scouts stood over him looking like butter wouldn't melt, went on to completely change his ways and is now my most useful YL and hopefully when he turns 18 in October a useful ASL!

    What has concerned me in this case was that the worst reaction came from a couple of lads who are more than capable of looking after themselves. Both 14 year olds, built like the proverbial brick outhouse, both rugby players. Not individuals who I would normally consider to have any problem standing up for themselves.

    As above, it could all be hearsay, or a reputation unfairly earned, but I feel the need to tread with care.

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    Senior Member Shaun's Avatar
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    It can depend on how they exert their personality.

    When I get a large intake I tend to come down on all of them fairly hard - goes pack to the wolf pack theory discussed on here previously. There can only be one Alpha and that should be the leader.

    Once their behaviour is how I want it, then I ease up.

    If the child is physical then the older ones will usually step in.
    If it is being done more slyly then you will have to handle it.
    The best example I can give is the child that hits another then complains that it was racially provoked when the other hit him back, or the one who runs home to to tell mummy and daddy that youíre picking on him because you make him do something he doesnít want to do, or stop him doing what he wants. (You know the parent that tells you they think their child is bullying their younger sibling, then when you catch them picking on a smaller kid, rings you up to tell you their child isnít a bully and how dare you speak to their child and itís your fault for letting smaller kids join)

    I suppose at the end of the day, there is nothing that says you have to take any child and if you have genuine concerns about the impact on your troop then donít offer them a place.


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    Digressing slightly... (Sorry).

    This is an interesting question and an eternal one for Scouts. What we're chatting about he is a microcosm of adult society. When it comes down to it, we're basically building (to some extent), the adults that'll be walking around tomorrow.

    The reason I mention it, is because in Scotland, there is a smacking ban going through parliament. I was for it - but I still think to some extent, if you have to hit a kid to make your point then you've kind of failed as an adult. But then I thought, I've seen all sorts of kids come through Scouts (and all sorts of even worse kids during my time with social work and education and community services). And ironically, that failure as an adult, might not be the actual failure you thought it originally was.

    I couldn't help but feel that many of the unreasonable and unreachable kids of today are probably going to become unreasonable and unreachable adults of tomorrow. So maybe a smacking ban IS a bad thing? It goes against my instinct, but we've all had at least one kid who was just totally unmanageable - and - those of us of a certain age will remember that dealing with it used to be a physical exercise - there was no naughty step. I'm not saying it always worked, but it may/must have brought a lot of kids back down to earth.

    I no longer have an opinion one way or the other on a smacking ban. We had a bunch of burly 17 year old explorers on a weekend away, who rather than challenge the behaviour of two unruly 14 year olds they were sharing a dorm with, just moved to another room. It never even occurred to them to move the two daft 14 year olds.

    It's not that these kids are soft, it's that they can't or don't seem to want to handle any confrontation - at all. I think that also links in to the whole no-platforming thing you-have-no-right-to-offend-me thing doing the rounds...

    None of which really helps the OP...

    Sorry.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Digressing slightly... (Sorry).



    The reason I mention it, is because in Scotland, there is a smacking ban going through parliament. I was for it - but I still think to some extent, if you have to hit a kid to make your point then you've kind of failed as an adult.

    I couldn't help but feel that many of the unreasonable and unreachable kids of today are probably going to become unreasonable and unreachable adults of tomorrow. So maybe a smacking ban IS a bad thing?

    I have a few years on you - I think, and corporal punishment was still in common use in my school days. My cousin, campaigned as a student to have it banned. It was shortly after she quailified as a teacher. At her first post in Easterhouse, the class was riotous and she used all the "good" techniques taught at the time, quiet voice, and all that stuff. One day a lad smashed the classroom window. She walked out and borrowed a tawse from the teacher next door. Now, for the uneducated, the tawse was a leather strop, about a quarter inch thinck and 18 inch to 2 ft long. They came with two or three fingers. The milder teachers used a lightweight tawse that gave you a sting and a smirk. The hard ones used the heavyweight affair. This was the latter. My normally mild mannered cousin told the lad to come out front ( and they/we always did for some reason), told him to hold out his hand, and she gave him three great thrashings. From that day on her class was quieter and calmer. After the ban she said it was a big mistake.

    My daughter teaches in an area of Leeds that is similar in reputation to Easterhouse. Her sanctions are, put a name in a book, send them to detention. She has been reprimanded for dealing with the kids in her own way. But, now her class is one of the better behaved in the school, whilst the "speak softly types" are walking out of their classrooms in tears.

    I have also seen a change in the nature of the kids that we have, muchly the same kids as we would have in Scouts here. They are more likely to distance themselves and stay in the shadows if trouble is brewing. In the old days they would close ranks and defend each other. - giving rise to the "me and my army" response to a bully at school.
    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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    Senior Member Shaun's Avatar
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    Handling THAT kid joining

    There is a real struggle to apply sanctions today, the way that we deal with troublesome YP is difficult.
    I suspect that the older explorers moved because they had learnt that the repercussions on them when they dealt with the issue were greater than the inconvenience of moving.
    I have heard, ďyouíre 17 you should know how to deal with themĒ but we donít teach them effective skills to do so.
    The cane was never used at my school, I donít even know if there was one, but it was a threat that was always there.

    There are elements of society excuse bad behaviour rather than effectively deal with it.
    When my son was at school there was another who would continually Rugby tackle James to the ground. His mum laughing and saying that he was obsessed with Rugby. Having had enough I told James to hand him off, then pretend to put the ball down and say, ďTry! Iím winningĒ or to randomly tackle him as he obviously wanted to play rugby.
    Mum complained to school that James was picking on him.

    As I said in my previous post we donít have to take anyone in Scouts that we donít want, it is a private club so we can have rules about behaviour and where they arenít followed we can tell them to leave.


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    I think it's a wee bit more intrinsic than teaching young people how to handle those situations. I think we need to also teach them how to be assertive enough, so that they can learn to handle those situations.

    I wonder if it hinges on responsibility? If adults won't challenge poor behaviour, what chance do younger adults have?

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    Senior Member Puzzledbyadream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I have a few years on you - I think, and corporal punishment was still in common use in my school days. My cousin, campaigned as a student to have it banned. It was shortly after she quailified as a teacher. At her first post in Easterhouse, the class was riotous and she used all the "good" techniques taught at the time, quiet voice, and all that stuff. One day a lad smashed the classroom window. She walked out and borrowed a tawse from the teacher next door. Now, for the uneducated, the tawse was a leather strop, about a quarter inch thinck and 18 inch to 2 ft long. They came with two or three fingers. The milder teachers used a lightweight tawse that gave you a sting and a smirk. The hard ones used the heavyweight affair. This was the latter. My normally mild mannered cousin told the lad to come out front ( and they/we always did for some reason), told him to hold out his hand, and she gave him three great thrashings. From that day on her class was quieter and calmer. After the ban she said it was a big mistake.

    My daughter teaches in an area of Leeds that is similar in reputation to Easterhouse. Her sanctions are, put a name in a book, send them to detention. She has been reprimanded for dealing with the kids in her own way. But, now her class is one of the better behaved in the school, whilst the "speak softly types" are walking out of their classrooms in tears.

    I have also seen a change in the nature of the kids that we have, muchly the same kids as we would have in Scouts here. They are more likely to distance themselves and stay in the shadows if trouble is brewing. In the old days they would close ranks and defend each other. - giving rise to the "me and my army" response to a bully at school.
    Quite a lot of schools have a kind of homogenised behaviour system now (at least in the SW) called Ready to Learn. Pupils get one warning and if they talk or disturb over's learning again they get sent to isolation for 24 hours. It feels really brutal, but it means the rest of the class get to learn without disruption. I don't know how I feel about it fully, except that it's no good for vulnerable kids to end up in isolation day in day out, but it's clear, it's simple, and I hate to say it, but it does work.

    Anyway, on topic, you have to make a judgment call. You can't really exclude someone just because everyone hates them, but if it's a bully thing then they'll swiftly find themselves doing something to get themselves kicked out anyway I expect.
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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puzzledbyadream View Post
    Anyway, on topic, you have to make a judgment call. You can't really exclude someone just because everyone hates them, but if it's a bully thing then they'll swiftly find themselves doing something to get themselves kicked out anyway I expect.
    If they scare kids to the point of tears and Leaders go white at their name, then, yes, I'll exclude them.

    Not doing so is hazardous to your reputation - trust me, I have the scars.
    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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    I think there are some kids that do have that reputation - my youngest has one in his year (year 7). Allegedly rugby training had to be abandoned one evening because this (very well built) lad had literally run over a couple of kids (studs, full body weight and all). From what I can gather he's already had a number of exclusions in his 6 months in the school) and everyone just tries to keep out of his way. I guess if pretty much all you can do is say to a kid that probably isn't bothered about being in school "Don't come to school" your box of tactics isn't that great. Isolation can clearly work but even then Ofsted seem to get antsy about over use of it, as they do with "excessive" use of exclusions. Certainly if I were running our Scout Troop, and this particular lad applied to join, I'd be extremely reluctant.

    I guess its getting the balance right between avoiding enabling a herd mentality which is hostile to an innocent young person (who could with some work become a useful Scout) and not inviting a bull into the china shop. The first may well be hard but there is potential for a positive outcome - the latter is just stupidity!
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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