Demoralised 12 year old Boy Scout - Leader mean to older boys and favouring the girls always

(27 Posts)
mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 12:51:08

My ds is a longterm scout but as he's got older his scout leader has got meaner and meaner to the eldest boys to the extent that they appear to be unable to please him.
He appears to favour the girls to an almost comic extent so that if one drops something he'll blame one of the older boys. If a girl mucks about she gets gentle remonstrance. If a boy does he gets sent out , sometimes for something he hasn't done.
In games the leader often exaggeratedly lets a girl win.
My ds thinks the leader 'hates' him but says the it was the same when he was a younger scout, the adolescent ones just get hell.
Of course if they muck about they have to be pulled up but there shouldn't be such a difference in treatment, they should be treated all the same. This is an example, to me, of it being no advantage to the boys of having girls in scouts.
I have seen this dynamic in action, ds is not inventing it. I am not suggesting anything untoward in the Leader's motivation, it's like the boys irritate him and the girls don't.
I would have no idea how to approach this leader without immediately setting up his hackles and making him defensive. But it is sad to see my son starting to not want to go. Scouts should make the kids feel equal and welcome imo.

JimmyCorkhill Fri 31-Jan-14 12:58:21

Is there another scout pack near you that your ds could transfer to? Scouts is supposed to be a fun hobby. Your ds doesn't deserve this.

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 13:02:36

yes there is one other but it clashes with his other favourite extra curricular activity so I can't think about moving him. We've discussed it but maybe I could look at other groups in the area.
Good thought, thanks.

I feel so grateful that leaders give up their precious time to Lead but because of that, criticism seems ungracious and kind of fruitless. You get the leader you get within reason I fear.

I would love to know if anyone else has seen this dynamic of the girls being favoured. It's such a drag because the girls join for equality and then make the boys the losers in a way. if I could I would send my ds to an all boys one again like when he was a Beaver Scout, I think it is better for the boys.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Fri 31-Jan-14 13:10:17

Could you volunteer to help out for a a bit, so you can see what's happening for yourself, and then intervene at the time? It would also enable you to say to the Scout Leader "I notice that you...." He's probably not aware of what he's doing.

It may be that he's not used to dealing with girls, and so is being so super careful not to be discriminatory that he's actually going to far by favouring the girls over the boys. Is he an older man?

I'm a Brownie Leader, and am so pleased that Guiding has not, and has not intention to, admit boys. I totally agree that boys and girls need their own spaces, and think it was wrong for Scouting to admit girls. I think it was because the numbers were falling nationally, and it was a way to bring up the numbers again (we don't have that problem in Guiding - long waiting lists everywhere).

DustyBaubles Fri 31-Jan-14 13:12:03

I think you have the issues mixed up.

If there were no girls, the leader would probably still behave as they do with the older boys.

Your son's Scout leader sounds deranged, but surely he isn't the only leader there? Perhaps have a word with the others, or the district commissioner.

Maybe volunteer to join up yourself

My sons have no issue with anyone in their groups, and it was the same for Beavers and Cubs. They get a lot out of going on camps, trying out sports, fundraising etc. and they don't care whether their fellow scouts are male or female.

If you want a boys only group, try Boys Brigade.

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 13:13:53

I really agree, particularly with boys at this age, they need somewhere where their natural exuberance isn't rejected! They have to be so so good at school and they need to let off a little steam. The girls in this troop are extremely goody good and badge tactic and you can see the Leader finding them easier all round. But I feel his rejection of the older boys is a tiny bit tragic! it's as if he's forgotten what scouting started as, and what boys, it could be argued, uniquely need.
Thanks

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 13:17:21

But you see, I love the Scouts, he loves the scouts, we've invested years in it, it feels sad to sort of suddenly feel rejected for just being a fairly older lad. It's a movement we know, I think this is not universal,this is just one leader's weird preference.
I
I suspect the leader has no idea but he is a fairly arrogant bloke, bless 'im, I wouldn't cite self-knowledge as one of this strong points but he's a great leader of most of them until you're a boy and hit puberty.
rubs chin… wonders why you would be a scout leader if you don't like pubescent boys.

I think the solution might be to look around for a different group in the area.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Fri 31-Jan-14 13:51:59

How old is DS? Will he be off to Explorers soon, or does he have a few more Scout years left?

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 14:22:03

He's 12

pinkthechaffinch Fri 31-Jan-14 14:30:27

Hi, my ds is the same age and also begun to complain about scouts. After years of the sessions mainly consisting of games like dodgeball and fun, the leaders have decided to have a fresh start of doing nothing but badgework , uniform inspections and discipline, and yes the girls are doing better at this!
It's a shame because ds always loved scouts.

pinkthechaffinch Fri 31-Jan-14 14:32:01

I'm thinking of taking hin out until he's old enough to join explorers and do his D of E

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 14:34:19

I would take ds put but I think you have less claim to a place in oversubscribed explorers if you leave, plus I think Once he was put that would be it. : (
His father is not a big fan any way so he'd make sure ds gave up for good!

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 14:35:00

Sorry, 'out'

Grennie Fri 31-Jan-14 14:41:18

I agree with Guides being girl only and Scouts should have stayed boy only. They get plenty of space and time to mix, they need some apart as well.

Marcipex Fri 31-Jan-14 14:42:19

Hmm, I think you aren't going to get anywhere.

our cubs had a leader who had been there many years, who would only give badges to/ promote the kids who brought cakes for her ! Yes, it's true, I've heard her say quite openly 'you haven't brought us.......what will you provide' etc. she wasn't joking.

No one wanted to challenge her though, she was a volunteer after all.

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 16:07:19

Volunteers are effectively beyond reproach (within reason) arent they? our scout troops are huge and oversubscribed, he'd have to hit one of the boys probably before there would be any infringement upon his fiefdom!
He's a great leader; if he likes you !

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 16:08:10

Poor Baden Powell must be spinning in his tomb

DustyBaubles Fri 31-Jan-14 16:42:39

Well as you obviously have such strong feelings about it, can you not volunteer and set up a new group?

Maybe on a Saturday or whenever you're free. If all of the local groups have waiting lists, they'll be beating a path to your door.

Don't go the other way though, and start discouraging girls from joining scouts.

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 31-Jan-14 18:48:30

It's certainly not inevitable that there is this sort of dynamic. If anything, in DD's scout troop, it's the older girls who get grief (for hanging about like a wet weekend and trying to get away with mixing fashion leggings with their scout uniform.) The leaders seem to treat everyone else in much the same hearty lets-get-on-with-it manner. The programme is very active and muddy and not remotely focussed on badges and keeping your necker clean.

I think it would be worth looking around for a unit that's a bit further away but has a better ethos. Not sure how you find out, though.

mrsjavierbardem Sun 02-Feb-14 14:28:34

I am not going to discourage girls from going to scouts, but in this case my ds has not gained and increasingly doesn't want to go. I think that's a real shame as he is classic scout material, never cries off, tries everything. But he hates the almost theatrical unfairness and I think it's wrong too. Ds had cubs and beavers that were just boys and I think there are real benefits for boys of a girl free zone. The girls do have the guides.

mrsjavierbardem Sun 02-Feb-14 14:30:07

But korma it's useful to hear there are other experiences.

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Sun 02-Feb-14 14:41:54

I completely disagree with your comments on girls and boys not sharing scouts. Girls don't have 'guides' instead, it is not the same thing. Similar with many links yes but absolutely not the same thing. Sexism is not going to be the answer.

However, I do agree that this leader appears to be favouring the girls. You should have a quiet word with the group scout leader or district commissioner to raise your concerns. It could be that the leader is a bit fed up and needs a break, that they need support in their relationship with kids or that he is actually paying too much attention to girls in an unacceptable way.

Marcipex Sun 02-Feb-14 17:58:56

It sounds as if he wants to be popular with the girls tbh, if it's that blatant and the boys are really not messing about.

pixiepotter Mon 03-Feb-14 20:37:46

I would suggest you volunteer to help out at a meeting and see what is really going on.It might not be quite as your DS describes,

pixiepotter Mon 03-Feb-14 20:38:14

I think it's a pity scouts isn't boys only

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