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Bullying brownie leader! Now they are being horrible to a girl with ADHD.

11 replies

1950sHousewife · 29/11/2011 14:36

This sounds so trivial (and it probably is) but we have just moved abroad and my daughter is going to the local brownie pack. (The area we have moved to speaks french, it's hit my daughter hard and she feels alienated, so finding an oasis of english speaking girls for a couple of hours a week has been wonderful for her). I also thought I'd join as a leader, for fun (?!?) and because I would love to help out.

The problem is, the Brown Owl and her daughter, Tawny Owl (aged about 25) are such negative leaders. At first I didn't notice too much other than to think 'blimey, bit strict' but last night I felt almost sickened by their nastiness.

We were meant to be practicing Xmas songs. Tawny came in, clearly in a mood. She belittled the girls attempt at getting into patrols, then made the singing a joyless experience. At one point, a little girl of 8 who is severely ADHD and can be pretty trying at times, (constant interruptions, inappropriate body movements) but is easily managed with patience - one of the leaders is always 'on patrol' with her, ended up in tears because Tawny pretty much lost it with her.
The other brownie/sparks leaders are a bit fed up with the negativity, as are a couple of the mums. But...these leaders can be nice, but because they have being doing this 20 years its as if they have their own little petty domain and don't see anymore that their leadership is a bit shit at times. I don't think they realise that their behaviour is pretty unpleasant at times.

I dont' want to take my daughter out, because, despite all this, there are some nice leaders and she has fun there. I would love to try and step in more, but as I am a 'newbie' I feel a bit powerless.
I loved being a brownie and guide and really like that my daughter is making friends. What do I do?

OP posts:
1950sHousewife · 29/11/2011 15:00

bump, someone, tell me what to do!

OP posts:
IWantWine · 29/11/2011 19:17

ah I have no idea... I have no experience of 'brownies' and the thought fills me with horror, and your post reinforces that! However, I would say, give it time.

There may be opportunities for you to strengthen your position and take more control. Having no experience, as I said, I am sure you will get some great advice from other MNetters. At least you feel that others share your opinion!

yellowraincoat · 29/11/2011 19:20

Could you point out to the leaders how rude they are being? Just a quick "wow, that sounded a bit rude/short, are you upset about something?"

I teach, and sometimes when you are starting to lose your patience, things do come out sounding shorter than they were meant to. Not that that's an excuse for bullying or being miserable, but maybe they don't realise how they're coming across.

1950sHousewife · 29/11/2011 20:37

Thanks IWW - horror indeed! Some people have had terrible experiences of Brownies, but the last pack my dd was at was so cute, just singing, crafts and games with a bunch of girls who were not from her school. When I was growing up I loved having a different set of friends outside of school so that if things were crap in the classroom, I had a fallback position. I think I was lucky perhaps!

YRC - I agree. I can see that it's probably not intentional and just a frustration. But this little girl with ADHD isn't there long enough (1.5 hours a week) for her to get so annoying that she deserves to be shouted at and made to cry. She is very sweet really, but yes, disruptive. But we all support her because this has been the only club which has ever allowed her to stay for more than a couple of sessions. My own dd is about to be diagnosed with ADHD and I would be furious if someone made her feel that way, to the point where now I wonder if I should have stood up to Tawny more.

I think that's a good way to put it, asking if they are upset, because it's not accusing them of being a right bitch. Honestly, we were all cowering last night and the more junior leaders (a couple of university girls) were seriously pissed off with how unpleasant she was.
Thanks for the help mnetters.

OP posts:
uniCorny · 29/11/2011 20:42

it's bullying - the fact that they've been leaders for 20 years doesn't make it okay. Is there an area leader that you can have a word with?

1950sHousewife · 29/11/2011 20:47

No Uni, they are pretty much it. We are the only Brownie/Guide pack in this area. It's a strange place, where we live, with pockets of Englishness amongst the local culture.

I do feel like it was bullying, and that they don't seem to understand that these are tiny girls doing their best and wanting to have fun. And yet sometimes the two leaders can be pretty nice...

I feel like breaking off in a 'Life of Brian' way and forming the Peoples Republic of Brownies!

OP posts:
LittleDragon · 29/11/2011 20:55

if there's no area leader try asking for advice from the british guides in foreign countries site
There is no way they should be acting like this and it goes against everything girlguiding stands for

ThePathanKhansWitch · 29/11/2011 20:59

Goodness! Sounds like Stalag 19, that's awful.

Pretty nice 'sometimes' doesn't cut it with children.

TBH, i'd vote with my feet and look for something else for your DD.

purplepidjin · 29/11/2011 21:08

If you think it's bad enough, escalate to Brownie/Guide HQ - LittleDragon's done the googling I think

Or, start up a different group on a different evening with a different focus, eg Arts & Crafts or some kind of physical activity

Do the other leaders agree with you, and could you talk to the difficult pair as a group, maybe have a staff meeting where you discuss your approach as a team?

EightiesChick · 29/11/2011 21:26

Could you take on the task of watching over the little girl with ADHD? Sounds like you are better equipped for it and you could model good behaviour. Good suggestions from LittleDragon and purplepidjin about getting the other leaders on side too.

nizlopi · 21/12/2011 09:35

I was kicked out of Brownies because I have Tourette Syndrome. The leaders were really horrible and sent a letter to my mother which arrived on Christmas Eve explaining that my being there was unfair to the other children.

What MY mother did was apply to the Guides Association and started her OWN Brownie meetup in the area, separate to the one I had previously gone to. Loads of the other girls moved to my Mum's and we all had a much better time!

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