To wish parents wouldn't yell/complain(129 Posts)
I'm a Cubs leader and have been for two years, assistant leader before that for 3 years, I really enjoy it but it's getting to a point now that I dread speaking to a parent.
We're probably one of the most active Pack groups in our district, lovely Beaver leaders and super active Scout group, so as a whole there's roughly a two year waiting list, for each section.
It's done by age and a bit by first come first served, Beavers get given priority when moving up to Cubs, so even if a child had their name on longer, once a Beaver turns 8, once theirs a space available it goes to them. It's the same with Cubs moving up to Scouts, the information is written on a sheet that's either handed to whomever is signing them up or emailed to them and yet almost every week I get an email/phone call from parents about the waiting list
To ask questions is perfectly fine, I'll happily answer but today I've been yelled at over the phone by a Dad who didn't realise that scouts have a separate waiting list , so although his DC is almost 10 and has been on the waiting list for a year, it's pointless for the DC to remain on our list as he probably won't get a place until he's past 10 and a half, in which case he'd be too old for Cubs.
I suggested a few Packs they could try and just got cursed at, 3rd bloody time this month!
Normally the waiting list issue wouldn't bug me so much, but one of our Cub Leaders, has had to stop coming down because of her pregnancy and our 2 young leaders are off for exams, which only leaves two Leaders to handle 23 Cubs and all the parents seem to do is complain.
"Why doesn't xxx have as many badges as vvv" because xxx hasn't put in the bloody work! But I don't say that.
"Xxx really dislikes this badge, can't you do another?" No , it's a challenge award and I have 3 Cubs that have to do it to gain their silver, and it also goes towards xxx's silver
"Xxx won't be at the parade because he only signed up to Thursday evenings" and yet he's at every theme park/camp/fun event
"My daughters brownie troop are so much active then you lot" then by all means volunteer and make it more active
"Xxx says that the kids are too noisy and that makes it hard to accomplish anything" xxx is the worst of the bunch! The kid who stayed under a table for 5 mins and who's Mum I've had to call in multiple times to pick him up early has the cheek to complain about other kids!
I like constructive criticism, it's the only way to improve our troop, but I don't get paid for this, I have a job and a family and they've no bloody right to yell at me, and if you're going to complain, then do it far away from me!
Ask the stroppy parents if they would like to contribute as leaders, do the reading , go through the checks , volunteer x amount of times per week and bit got paid and THEN they might get to move up quicker and do more challenges . Some people are just takers in life and don't want to give back. Being a parent does not make people nicer (I used to think it did) Good for you sticking at it despite the abuse.
Yanbu. Such a shame for you to have to deal with this.
I agree, make your stock answer 'thank you for the feedback, would you like to volunteer to help improve things?'
The biggest YNBU. I've ever given to date.
Are you paid or is it voluntary. If it's voluntary and you're giving up your time. How ridiculously fuckin rude and entitled, and if you are paid unless you're on 2k per week you certainly do not get paid enough to face the length of parents tongues.
Ugh. This brings back memories of my time as a Beaver young leader. There was one mum who wanted to discuss her son's progress every single week we all (including adult leaders!) used to race to get away from her at pick up time.
YANBU. You must be doing something right if you have such a long waiting list. Perhaps you should suggest the parents who complain should remove their child so their place can go to someone who will appreciate it! And parents who are abusive could have children removed from waiting list?
The parade avoidance always annoys me. It did when I was a Scout too. One of the good things about Scouts is that it teaches discipline, a sense of duty etc. They are such valuable qualities.
Anyway from me. You do an excellent thing and I am sorry you are not more appreciated!
"yes the wait list is long. please feel free to take the training and start another pack"
"do you have a particular skill you would like to demonstrate to the pack?, we have some supplies I could share with you to complete a craft"
turn it right back on them.
thank you for volunteering
Yanbu. We had a hobby event last night. Same type of things happens.
Unfortunately these people would be like this if they didn't have kids. It's a certain type of person that loves to criticise or thinks those that complain the loudest get their own way.
They don't stop to think about how much work you put it, or the mechanics of running something. It's not right but I don't know the solution
I am a Brownie leader and had similar parents. We put a stop to this in three ways.
1. Wrote to all the parents and explained that Brownie leaders are volunteers and give up their time and money to running Brownies. It's amazing the number of parents who don't know this.
2. Asked all parents when they picked up or dropped off to fill in a skills sheet detailing what skills they had to give to the Brownies
3. Asked one or two 'on-side' parents to talk to the moaners at pick up and drop off time and to point out - nicely - how much we do and to shut them down.
Mostly this worked. If you feel these parents are really getting you down then the nuclear option is always to say 'Well, I'm sorry to hear that. When will X(name of child) be leaving?'
This really stops them in their tracks. Hope this helps.
Oldestmuma's advice looks good. I'm involved in brownies and it's amazing the number of people who think leaders are paid.
It takes so much time to volunteer in guiding/scouts and to have to put up with it is just no on.
When my son was a beaver many years ago his pack was also very popular with a long waiting list. When he did get a place I was asked to join the parent rota. It was compulsory to help out at a minimum of one session a term and camps, trips etc only happened if enough patents volunteered to help. It really helped us to appreciate how hard everybody worked
This is why I left guiding. (well, this and some of the ridiculous politics within our District). I agree with pp's suggestions - definitely write parents a letter telling them just how much you do. We did this once, even put in a breakdown of how much of our own money we spent (by the time you've bought uniform, covered training costs, etc it all adds up). That soon stopped the whinging!
I think that sounds brilliant .
I used to help with Brownies for a couple of years then when a new leader took over she 1. Moved premises...villages! Five miles away and most were already travelling at least three miles
2. Said she didn't need my help as she had run Brownies and Guides before. So I sat in the car because it was now too far to travel back and forth in the time.
3. We let them have a mad ten minutes to let off steam after school, then a couple of games before we did any badge work. Then another game before home. This meant they all helped clean up quickly too. She told them there would be no running about.
4. She sat them at desks for the whole time.
5. The second week the most lovely, energetic girl stomped out. And said she was leaving. My daughter and four others left the following week. Two of us found another pack who had already heard about this leader.
6.The previous leader and I had been raising funds to buy Art Attack books which she didn't want
OP you're pack sounds lots of fun sorry you're having trouble with parents we never did, just the new leader. They begged J to come back but after 5/6 years she had done enough when her girls moved on to guides.
Would it be worth putting out another note saying due to a number of complaints ... Then explain again! Also mention the volunteers.
Sympathies, also why I left guiding. Some of the comments were shockers (but I don't want to out myself). It ended up with me turning my phone off after the sessions dreading potential complaints. Awful.
The worst bit was I knew some of the worst offenders from church, Christian love in action!
I'm treasurer for a local scout troop as DS1 has been through Beavers, Cubs and now Scouts. He loves it and we're at maximum capacity in all the units, but the parents can be incredibly unsupportive when it comes to their little darlings.
The suggestions made by OldestMum are great; tell them exactly what you do and how many hours you put in. It's not just rocking up at 6pm on a Tuesday and having a laugh for 90 minutes, it's all the unseen stuff which takes the most time and effort, and without all the forward planning they'd have no camps, no days out, no badges, no parades, nothing to show for their time.
The child under the table who has problems with the noise level may have sensory issues as this is pretty text book behaviour.
YANBU! I used to do Rainbows and a work colleague did guides in the same pack.
Her issue with guides was dads doing the pick up arriving late as they had to finish their pint first. Ok so I'll just hang around shall I??
I used to be a Rainbow and Brownie leader. I used to commute an hour on the bus from work, go straight to the village hall at 6pm ready to set the hall up for Brownies starting at 6.30pm. Not home for dinner or to see my own child.
Parents got wise to the fact that I was there from 6pm and would drop and run! Cheeky sods.
BUT... As someone who has been very frustrated in the past with having spent a long period with my children on a waiting list for age-limited swimming lessons, only to find that the waiting list was so long that my child would not get a place and that time on THAT list could not be taken into account on the list for older children's lessons, that is a deeply frustrating situation. If the person making the lista is aware of this possibility, they should explain at the time so the parent has the chance to add the name to both lists. This prevents frustration and therefore possible criticism.
Both my boys do Cubs/Scouts and my daughter does Guides and I am hugely grateful to all you who give up your time to lead packs and troops.
I haven't seen any of the rude and nasty behaviour the OP describes but it doesn't surprise me - some people are downright rude. Husband is trying to free up some time to volunteer with Cubs next year as they are so desperate for help.
I agree with the advice to issue a letter to all parents. Take it as an opportunity to clear up a few 'misunderstandings'. I would also put a line in it that any parents who swears or abuses a volunteer will be asked to remove their child and will no longer be welcome at the pack.
Shine a light on the behaviour. I bet most people think you're being paid to do it, so make it clear the way that things actually operate in real life. I also think it sounds very useful to get parents to commit to volunteering for a session.
We try and map out when places will be available so we can tell parents approximately when a place may come up. We never actually promise when until half a term before.
when we lost our last leader all the parents were asked to step up and those waiting were offered places if a parent came onboard as a leader.
Eventually got 3 leaders but one two already had links to scouting.
Its hard work but I love it, but its annoying when people abuse your good will.
one parent who was always late, practically threw his cub out of the car one night, 20 mins early, and shouted , "off to parents eve".
Luckily I had my DD with me who is over 18. We are not allowed to be alone with a child due to child protection guidance. The Group Leadef had words with the parent laterm who said,"its ok , we trust you". Er, no!
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