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Any cubs leaders have advice about dealing with difficult behaviour? I'm struggling.

(25 Posts)
beansmum Fri 25-Oct-13 10:57:22

I've not been a cubs leader for very long, about a term, and I've just been left on my own. There were 2 other leaders but their kids have gone up to scouts and they've gone too. So I have nobody to ask for help!

There is one cub who is an absolute nightmare. He's always very disruptive, kicking and punching and annoying everyone. This week he pushed another boy to the ground, sat on his chest and choked him. The other boy was very upset, crying and having difficulty getting his breath.

I got the boy to sit by himself while the rest of us got on with our activity. Went I went back to talk to him, he said he didn't care, he didn't want to join in, and he wasn't sorry so I just left him sitting by himself for the next 20 mins until he eventually came and apologised and joined back in.

Do you think I should contact the parents about this? It's not like it's the first time, and I think it was really quite scary for the boy who was choked. Is there anything else I can do if this keeps happening? I don't know if I handled the situation very well, but I'm the only leader so if I spend my time dealing with this boy all the other kids have to just hang around waiting for me.

Any advice would be great

YDdraigGoch Fri 25-Oct-13 13:41:09

Not a cub leader - I'm a Brownie leader.

I would absolutely contact the parents and even possibly tell them that he can't come to cubs any longer as his behaviour is unacceptable. We aren't teachers. We aren't well trained in managing difficult children. We're volunteers. And attendance at cubs is not compulsory like school is.

If the parents object, suggest they come along and help at meetings. I always suggest that to parents who complain about the way we've handled an "issue" - ask them what they would have done, and would they like to come and help regularly as they are obviously so good at managing difficult kids (though I phrase it better than that obvs). they soon shut up.

We introduced a red and yellow card scheme at Brownies when we had some challenging girls attending. Yellow cards are given for warnings. Three yellow cards means a red card, and a ban from the next meeting. We've never got that far. We sat with the girls and agreed the rules, and all the parents supported us when we explained the system. It's worked really well.

But - you can't be on your own, surely? You must have to have at least one other adult with you, depending on how many cubs you have. What do the others say?

Angrybudda Fri 25-Oct-13 23:04:57

I have been a Cub leader for a couple of years! And yes I was thrown in the deep end too.

Are you running the meeting by yourself?? Do you have assistants/ or parent helpers?

Did you enter indecent into the accident book???

I will help you as much as I can, but if you can answer the above it will help me to help you!

beansmum Sat 26-Oct-13 04:43:24

I'm running the meetings alone. I have help from senior scouts (a couple of 13 yo boys) and a parent helper roster, but parents usually don't turn up. I've ended up being the only leader because out of 13 boys, each (apart from ds) with 2 parents, nobody else would volunteer.

I've emailed the group leader, and I'm waiting for a reply. He's pretty useless though, I'm not expecting him to be much help!

The red card thing sounds good. And asking the parents to come and supervise if the boy's behaviour doesn't improve.

So I'm thinking an initial phone call, and then maybe a face to face meeting?

StillSlightlyCrumpled Sat 26-Oct-13 05:47:17

My sons cub leader does a parent roster but follows it up with emails, texts to prompt the parents in to helping.

Also I have known her to call a childs parents during the meeting if they were being really difficult. This child may just need the threat of 'I'm calling your parents'.

Good luck & hats off to you for taking it on.

Angrybudda Sat 26-Oct-13 09:05:56

Firstly thank you for standing up and taking the role.

You must safeguard yourself, you are not allowed to run a meeting if you are the only adult present. Your district commissioner will have fit! You could be accused of things! Even as trivial as that you are picking on a Cub. And without another adult present it could turn messy!

I use the yellow/red card system. It is brilliant way to control the Cubs.

I also run a parent rota, if someone does not confirm that they are coming by 12oc that day, I cancel the meet. - therefore only had to cancel one meeting in the last two years. You are starting new and can put in place structures that work for you and your group.

Do you have access to OSM? I recommend looking at code of conduct. You and the Cubs draw up what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Then if you chose to put the yellow card system in place, you can explain how this is going to work.

Feel for you, as there is so much you have to do, and that would be a nightmare without support.

I also would be thinking about putting in a phone call to the parents of the victim! Do you know the parents of the bad behaviour boy? Definitely keep a record of it, even if it's on a pad.

Angrybudda Sat 26-Oct-13 09:10:22

In fact contact your District commissioner and explain that you are running meetings on you own, and you know that this is not allowed. He/she will have to help you get cover, ie send another leader to help you!! Do it today! This burden should not be on your shoulders only!

beansmum Sat 26-Oct-13 09:24:27

I haven't managed to get in touch with the parents, but I've emailed, explained the situation and said I would call again. They've got my number as well.

My email basically said that I would welcome suggestions about how to deal with disruptive/aggressive behaviour, and that if anything like this happens again I'll need someone to come to cubs with the boy.

I hate this kind of thing. We had so much fun at cubs this week, I felt like I was (finally) getting the hang of this leader thing, then this drama. No wonder nobody else wants to do it!

3littlefrogs Sat 26-Oct-13 09:27:45

You need to write to all the parents stating that if there is no parent to help at a meeting the meeting cannot go ahead.

As a parent I would not want my child at a cub meeting where there was only one adult.

Do the parents know that you are alone?

beansmum Sat 26-Oct-13 09:28:24

I'd totally forgotten about the parents of the boy who was choked. I'll definitely call them tomorrow (it's probably too late here now, I'm in NZ)

beansmum Sat 26-Oct-13 09:36:27

Yes, everyone knows I'm on my own. I've stressed to them all that I really need help. I set up the roster after calling everyone and checking their availability but they still 'forget' or something comes up at the last minute.

The scouts I have helping are great, they run a lot of the games and help with tidying up, supervise the boys when we are doing group work etc, but it's not like having another adult around.

Getting parents to confirm in advance is a good idea. I had thought about cancelling if no parents turned up, but then you've got a whole lot of boys there who want to have a meeting and I'd feel terrible sending them home.

Pogosticks Sat 26-Oct-13 09:40:06

At my sons cubs, there is a rota for parent helpers and parents aren't allowed to leave (when dropping off) until there are enough adults on site. So if that night's parent helper doesn't show, meeting is cancelled and everyone has to take their child home.obviously there is always a parent who says they can stay instead, so meeting has never been cancelled. Works a treat!

Pogosticks Sat 26-Oct-13 09:41:36

Oh - and the rota is announced each half term, rather than asking parents when they can help - they are told which night they are needed for.

Angrybudda Sat 26-Oct-13 09:43:35

Cancel!, it shows that you need help. Sometimes asking a group ie parents they think someone else will help. Cancelling sends a clear message. You can say you aren't legally allowed to run a group on your own, which is true.

YDdraigGoch Sat 26-Oct-13 21:58:12

You CANNOT run a meeting if you are the only adult present. There must be a mandatory ratio of adults to children (and your scout helpers will count as children). For Brownies its 1:8. But apart from that, to safeguard yourself from any accusations, you MUST have another adult present.
I would not run a meeting without another adult.

That doesn't help you with your discipline problems with the boy in question though. Is there anywhere you can put him for time out? Somewhere you can see him though - you couldn't leave him alone in the kitchen for example.

QueenofLouisiana Mon 28-Oct-13 23:04:01

You can't run a meeting on your own, I run Beavers and we have 2 leaders, 1 additional adult & parent helpers. POR says "The leader in charge must plan to ensure that at least two adults (aged 18 or over) are present at regular indoor Pack meetings, at least one of whom should hold a Leader, Manager or Supporter Appointment." It then says that your
DC (district commissioner) and the district team need to help you achieve minimum standard- one of the main bits being 2 adults.

Have you done your wood badge? If not, try to get on the challenging behaviour course- my other leader said it was really good when he went on it. (I teach and so the DC is happy that I can show prior learning on that unit).

Angrybudda Mon 28-Oct-13 23:56:01

I have done the Challenging Behaviour course and it is good.

BackforGood Tue 29-Oct-13 00:17:20

Ok, things may be slightly different in NZ, but here in the UK

1. You absolutely cannot run a meeting alone. It's not ideal to be the only leader and having a rota of parents, but at least that would give you a second adult. You do not open the doors / let anyone leave a child until you have that second adult there. This is for you to be following safeguarding rules, both for the safety of the children and also yourself.
2. You explain to the GSL that you cannot run on your own, and if (s)he is not prepared to be actively involved or find someone else who is, then you cannot meet.
3. You get in touch with your DC or ADC Cubs and say the same thing.

re the Challenging behaviour
- you must record that in an incident log.
- you must let the 'victim''s parents know
-you must work out (with the parents, and the District or the GSL working with you) some kind of a plan for trying to make it work for all the cubs.
- you should have a district advisor (or ADC) special needs, who will be able to give you advice on children with challenging behaviour
- you have to do your training so you should know all this anyway, but also so you can attend the modules on Special needs, and the one on challenging behaviour. (Clearly you need to do the one on Safeguarding too)

Sorry, this isn't meant to sound negative, but the other Leaders in your Groups should never have allowed you to put yourself in this position in the first place.

Primrose123 Tue 29-Oct-13 00:35:53

I ran a Brownie group on my own for a while. I sent a letter home with each brownie, saying that if we didn't have any permanent volunteers (not on a rota, but every week) then the group would finish. We ended up getting about 4 new volunteers.

I really wouldn't continue on your own. It's not fair on you at all. I didn't like running brownies alone. I loved it with a few extra adults, it was great fun, and much less stressful.

beansmum Tue 29-Oct-13 03:45:14

I'm getting more and more annoyed about the whole situation tbh. I was basically handed the keys and told to get on with it and there's so much I don't know! I've only done one bit of training, the practical skills course, knots and campfires and stuff. I'm a full time student, and I'm in the middle of final exams at the moment, so there have been other bits of training I could have done, but they'll have to wait until next time they're offered.

I STILL haven't managed to get in touch with the father of the boy who did the choking last week - I have a feeling he's avoiding me...

Angrybudda Tue 29-Oct-13 07:50:23

Please contact your DC, if would be a shame to lose you and I think this is a high possibility if you don't get the proper support.

Please please don't run sessions if you are the only adult!

Morgause Tue 29-Oct-13 07:53:55

I would email the parents again and say that until they are prepared to discuss the incident and a way to ensure it doesn't happen again then child will not be allowed to attend.

You have to ensure the safety of the others. Meanwhile email all the parents and say you will quit if you don't get help.

Ihatespiders Sat 02-Nov-13 14:03:59

What have your DC and GSL said about you being the lone adult? That is totally contrary to all Scouting regs and CANNOT continue, even if you had perfectly behaved children there. There are mechanisms for Leaders to be brought in form elsewhere on a temporary basis. You need the support for your own protection, as well as for the young people for whom you are giving up your time.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 03-Nov-13 08:59:17

I'm here as a Brownie leader to reiterate everything that's been said.

You need urgently to sort the unsustainable situation of being the only adult. The earlier suggestion that the boy who did the choking doesn't come back to cubs until you have had that conversation with his parents sounds excellent to me.

xmb53 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:37:39

I am a Cub Leader and have a parent rota. we also have a cub code of conduct, which the cubs wrote and signed themselves and on investiture, new cubs sign it as well. There are sanctions which were discussed with the cubs and voted on. a copy of both are displayed on the cub noticeboard and e-mailed to parents. I also sometimes remind them that THEY don't have to be there, nor I.

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