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Parenting

problem with cubs

73 replies

tigermoth · 04/04/2003 11:45

I am feeling really annoyed this morning with both my son and his cub troop leaders.

Yesterday when I picked up my son from cubs the leader told me at great length he had been messing around in the session. He wasn't the only one, but he was apparently the worst. Consequently he won't be allowed to go to a cook out on Sunday or attend the annual weekend camp they are holding soon. I was quite shocked to say the least, and both dh and myself had words to say to my son when we got home.

However, before cubs yesterday, my son had a great day at school, no bad points and lots of good points, and had played very nicely with a friend at home (another cub). When I dropped both boys off at the scout hut, my son was really looking forward to the session. So I was surprised to find his behaviour had deteriorated so much in just over an hour.

I am usually happy to reinforce the cub leaders discipline procedures. I ask how my son has behaved every single time I pick him up, so I know has goes to many sessions (especially in the last months) when he is either OK or good. I know my son can be challenging and I nearly took him out of cubs six months ago, because he seemed to be losing interest and so becoming naughtier than usual, but the cub leader phoned me and said how much he wanted my son to perservere and come back. I let my son make the final decision - he wanted to keep at it and in fact has been very enthusiastic about attending the activities.

In the past I have been in total agreement over the leader's discpline measures - ie my son had to miss a trip to Thorpe Park for messing around at a sports day and he was only allowed to attend half the session for three weeks to reinforce the good behavior message. This has all been fine by me. Good behaviour is a health and safety issue after all.

However I am now feeling that these discipline measures are getting heavy handed and inappropriate and it's not just my son who is being punished. Whenever the leader talks to me, it is done in front of other parents who are collecting their sons. The leader cannot go into a private room because he has to keep a watch on the pack, I understand this, but he does tend to go on and on at length. Even if other parents cannot hear what is being said I am sure they get the general idea. This coupled with the fact that my son is the only cub to be excluded from events makes his problems really public. After yesterday I am beginnnig to think that the leaders have decided that he has to earn the right to go on activities - he is not automatically invited. Considering that the cubs are not angels, I am beginning to feel my son is being singled out unfairly. I am all for punishing bad behaviour in the session, and telling me about it so I can further punish at home if necessary - I just feel cross that the punishment is being carried on outside and in public. Everyone will know the reason for my son not attending events and it stops my son and I being able to integrate happily with the troop.

I have noticed that parents now never offer to give my son lifts to and from events. When my son went to Beavers, these same parents did offer lifts from time to time. Many times I have turned up to collect my son and seen other local parents take a car load of cubs back - with space for one more. When I am waiting around with them I often overhear them arranging lifts togther etc but no one asks me, or rarely says hello to me. I know they would take my son if I asked or say hello if I smile, but I really am getting a bit paranoid. Why should I always be first? These are parents of boys in my son's class at school who have been to playdates and parties at our home. We are not strangers. I went to an AGM meeting recently and not one parent came to say hello to me. I am just getting fed up with making the effort.

I am also cross that the leaders, apart from my son's own pack leader, won't talk to me directly if my son has been misbehaving. If they are happy to look after my son during an activity day, I think they should be happy to tell me if he's been good when I collect him. Yesterday I was told that my son had also messed around when he did his cyclists badge last weekend. He was in the care of other pack leaders, but no one came up to tell me he had been less than good. My son had told me the day went OK, and still maintains that he wasn't told off, so how am I to know there are problems and how can I deal with them myself? Apparently his name was mentioned when they had a pack leader meeting and that was the reason why he's been excluded from the weekend camp event. I just get the impression that pack leaders are talking behind my back and have labelled my son as a troublemaker wiht a question mark over his attendance at any cub event, and it makes me really cross. Other cubs get punished in the sessions themselves. If my son needs extra discipline then there are all sorts of other methods they could use, I'd have thought - like setting him an extra task, making him write lines at home with me, or letting him earn extra points for his six if he is good, etc.

The pack leader is going to phone me to discuss this further. He knows I am not happy with this method of disclipine and very cross that other pack leaders won't talk about my son to my face. Any thoughts on what I should suggest? I am really fed up with this.

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Batters · 04/04/2003 12:49

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tigermoth · 04/04/2003 12:59

you are absolutely right, batters - my son said he had no warning that he could be exluded from the cook out or the camp. It was just announced to me when I collected him.

I am not so cross about the cook out, because they more or less had a full quota so would have been hard pressed to squeese him in (though they did add on another boy) but this is not the case with the camp. Seeing I was upset, the cub leader implied to me (while my son was out of earshot) that if his behavior improves they may reconsider the camp invite, but that's not the point. They want my son to feel he is not going -he has not been threatened, just told he can't go, end of.

PS
I am finding it very difficult not to have a 'sod you' attitude to the parents at present, I can tell you!

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leese · 04/04/2003 13:48

tigermoth - wish I could add something very constructive, but can't really. whenever I read your posts, I almost feel that you are answering things yourself - you're always so level headed, that it's like it helps you to write it all down - you probably know the best course of action already.
Does your son STILL want to continue with Cubs? He may be getting fed up with the treatment too - if so, then go with the 'sod it' attitude - if not, don't let them win - good luck with the phone call. Could you offer lifts etc to any other Cubs? I know this is making the first move (and not something you generally wanted to do), but it may get people to reciprocate - or at least feel bad if they don't.

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Jimjams · 04/04/2003 14:04

Tigermoth- what is the definition of "bad behaviour"? It all seems quite hevay handed to me- unless your son seriously misbehaves in a manner that is dengerous to others. otherwise all seems over the top. Are they expecting him to sit still etc when he would rather be running round? that sort of thing? If so definitely heavy handed. As for the other parents- sod them! If your son wants to carry on going, then carry on otherwise it seems like a lot of hassle.

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Lindy · 04/04/2003 14:40

Tigermoth - I was a Cub Scout Leader for 20 years(!!) and I never excluded a child for any reason - they certainly weren't angels but it actually never even dawned on me to exclude anyone.

Just from the leader's point of view - are they short of other leaders, it was always a nightmare for me to get people to help with Cubs, especially with Camps - I know you do a lot of volunteering anyway but would you be able to help at Cubs? Perhaps even offering to help at a couple of meetings you could watch how your son gets on with the other cubs and leaders and whether this main leader does seem to be picking on him?

Please don't think I'm taking sides, it's just that over the years being a leader became more & more demanding in terms of training, children's behaviour and, sometimes, parents' perception and lack of support (I AM NOT IMPLYING THIS IN YOUR CASE) - I really think some parents believed it was a paid job!!

As to the other parents - I'm afraid I have no advice - are they the same parents that you meet through your son's school or is it a different circle?

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Lindy · 04/04/2003 14:42

PS Just another thought, I would try contacting the Leader at home & making it clear to him that if there are any issues he would like to discuss with your son could he do so privately, rather that in front of other children & parents - that is only good mannered.

There should be 'Group Scout Leader' for the group that you could also discuss if you wanted to take the matter further.

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janh · 04/04/2003 19:37

tigermoth, nothing helpful to add but boy do I feel for you - your DS1 sounds just like mine....not sure if I should tell you what has happened to him this week, but I will if you want! (Won't make you feel any better though.)

Agree that the Leader has handled things badly. Not mentioning things to parents in time to avoid them becoming a problem seems to be common amongst group-activity-leaders. I can understand this - confrontation with parents can be difficult, for all they know you will throw a punch at them, plus it is a challenge to their leadership, but it is so much easier to sort things out if the problem is highlighted early...

Actually I will tell you about mine now. He is 14, going on 15, in Y10, and has been on work experience this week. He had been placed at a vet's - a very desirable placement and a privilege, which he probably got because the teacher concerned takes Tech, he likes him and enjoys it - but has been very stroppy and unpleasant about doing skivvy-type jobs (which they do have to do) and the vets have sacked him. Next week he will have to turn up at school, in uniform, while all his mates carry on with their placements.

At lunchtime today he was very low and apologetic but by teatime he was denying that they had been complaining about his attitude all week. We know what he's like and how he can insist that black is white. The teacher responsible for his placement is already incandescent with rage and if he goes into school with this attitude on Monday he will be crucified but We Can't Make Him See.

We have had the same situation with him at group activities since he was in the infants, he never knew then when people were cross with him and he doesn't know now. This includes us. We get the dead-eye, and the muttering under his breath, and the superficially acceptable comments delivered in a very offensive tone of voice. We haven't encouraged this, and have done our best to squash it, but it doesn't work. He Knows Best.

Don't suppose this helps at all or makes you feel any better. Maybe you can use our experience to steer your DS in a more positive direction. Some kids just won't be helped.

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SueW · 04/04/2003 20:31

I'm with Lindy in seeing if you can go along and help and keep an eye on things. We ask, in our Beaver colony, for parents (or a nominee) to commit to one evening per term.

We are all volunteers and most of us do it cos we actually like children!

Having said that, I think you need to work out a system with the leader where he can give you a signal that he needs you to stay behind/he needs to call you to speak at length about whatever the problem is.

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tigermoth · 04/04/2003 22:06

well I spoke to my son again, to get the story absolutely straight, at least from his perspective. Explained I would be double checking the facts with the pack leader when he phones.

Bike badge day: He says he was fine during the morning - not told off at all. Had lunch outside, finished before some of the others. He and some boys began to play tag - no fighting. The leader told them all to stop - they all did. Then he told ds plus another boy to come and sit with him. The other boys were not told this. ds sat obediently, then when it was time to start cycling again was OK in the afternoon. No telling off. At the end of the day there was a quiz. Boys had to shout out 'a, b or c' for the answers. Some boys began to shout out the wrong answer deliberately, including ds. He says other boys shouted more than him. The leader turned to ds alone and told him that if he shouted out one more time he would be taken out of the event and would not get his cyclists badge. The other boys were not told this. Ds stopped and got his badge. But still his behavior was bad enough for the leaders to suggest to our pack leader that he does not attend the weekend camp. Don't know why exactly. Apparently our pack leader was not happy with the decision either.

Cub night: ds was tearing paper into strips for papier mache. Another boy came over and told ds to tear his paper into smaller strips. Ds said he knew what he was doing. The boy began to tear ds?s paper. ds shoved him away. The boy kicked him hard. The pack leader told them both off and made them sit apart form the rest of the pack. When the boy?s father came to collect him nothing was said and as far as ds knows he is not banned from any events.

I?ve told ds I will be checking this version with the pack leader. Like your son, Janh, ds is prone to see himself as blameless, but so far , I can?t see that he?s done anything that singles him out much, especially at that bike event. ds does not tell outright lies but I feel I have an incomplete picture at the moment. Will check this out when the pack leader phones me. Ds certainly feels he is told off more than the others when they are all involved in something. He?s said this many times, and I?ve always taken it with a pinch of salt but I?m now beginning to wonder. If he?s got something.

I feel his problem is an attitude problem and the leaders have to make an example of him to show they are in charge. I don?t think his behaviour is dangerous in itself, to answer your question, jimjams. It is more a question of him not sitting down when he is told to etc.. But of course leaders will argue that the effort of keeping my ds under control means they cannot give the rest of the pack enough attention, hence the health and safety risk.

Coming to helping at cubs: yes good idea of couse but don't think we are needed. When my ds went to Beavers my husband helped run the pack about once every six weeks. He stopped doing this when my ds joined the cubs because they wanted one assistant. She is a parent who has been specially trained. She goes each week. Casual assistants are not the norm, but I will ask if the'd like me to attend. I think it would be a good idea for us to step up our involvement anyway - I tend to give jumble, attend the monthly church parade, AGMs, donate articles when needed simply because I cannot give much time at the moment. All the regular helpers have older children - if I help, someone has to look after my 3 year old. Unfortunately cub night is also the night my dh plays crib so he is usually out. Have to talk to him about this. However whether or not I help more, that really shouldn?t affect how my son is treated, should it? And plenty of other parents do not help at all, or attend church parade, AGMs etc

However from the cub leader?s point of view, we are not a highly attractive prospect - son with an attitude problem and mum with active 3 year old ( prone to run amok whenever he meets the cubs) who can?t help too often. Interestingly the boys who were not so punished at these two events were sons of parents who do help out more than we do. I wonder if the leaders thought twice about threatening them with expulsion from events?

Janh yes, I do feel our sons have similarities - when I told my son how important is was to keep on the right side of the regional leaders because they decided who would attend events, he looked amazed, as if the thought hadn't occurred to him. What can you do - they are their own worst enemies!!! My son just doesn't know when to back down. Hope your ds does not get too frosty a reception on Monday.

Rambling, so will stop now. Thanks for comments so far.

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ScummyMummy · 05/04/2003 01:17

Sorry to hear about your son falling foul of the anti-spiritedboy police, Tigermoth. It sounds horrible for you to be getting all this aggro from the cub leader and as for the other parents... how bloody dare they? Quite agree that a "sod you, then" attitude sounds overwhelmingly tempting.

Have little personal experience of this as a parent- mine are gits too but only little, so it hasn't come up yet- but, as someone who was a kid with a less than wholly positive attitude at times, my idea would be to leave your son and the cub leaders to their fate and take yourself out of the picture. This was more or less the strategy my mum followed with 2 bolshie daughters, with the result that we were expelled from Sunday school but tolerated Brownies for a time- a very good learning process all round I'd say! Sounds like Janh is doing something similar with her boy- he's done the crime and now has to do the time- go into school to face a livid teacher- gulp!- since he accepted the skivvy job in the vets in the first place and thus tacitly agreed to behave there but then didn't- horrors! Give him all my best wishes Janh- I'm sure he'll come round to seeing it as a bit of a mistake in the end but you'll probably have to allow his injured pride to heal... it takes a long time to process the thought that you've been snotty and behaved badly, let alone admit it to others, in my (personal) experience. He has all my sympathy and so do you as I'm certain that this sort of dilemma will surface in the youngest generation of the house of scum before long...

I think, Tigermoth, that it really might be helpful to delegate all responsibility for your boy's behaviour at cubs to your boy himself and the cub leaders.

I would suggest telling your son that:

  1. Attending cubs is HIS choice and he is under no obligation whatsoever to go. If he wants to stop going you will support his decision with no recriminations.
  2. If he DOES choose to go the onus is on him to behave according to cub rules or take the consequences of not behaving as doled out by the powers that be in the cubbing world- and these may not be fair or right given the way that the leader has singled him out, but that is life.

    I would then feed this back to the cub leaders and inform them that if there are any future issues around your boy's behaviour they are to be sorted out directly with your son and not with you in front of a gaggle of other parents. Either the cub leader is a skilled practitioner who can engage with your boy and cope with his behaviour, in which case he should do so, or he is not a skilled practitioner who cannot. Either your son wants to be a cub and is ready to take responsibility for behaving according to cub rules or he does not and is not.It's up to them to sort it out in any case; you aren't there and can't affect either your son's behaviour or the cub leader's behaviour and, NOR SHOULD YOU HAVE TO, IMO. I think that, in a way, this is absolutely nothing to do with you and you're taking on too much responsibility!

    Obviously you want your baby to behave and enjoy cubs and, importantly, to be treated fairly but ultimately that's up to him and the cub leaders. All you can do is give him options and advice on the ways to behave, which he may or may not choose to follow. In an extra-curricular activity like cubs I would argue that this is his prerogative and if he chooses to behave badly and risk punishments or exclusion that's his problem. I wouldn't punish him further, or try to get to the bottom of the problem with him or discuss his behaviour with the cub leader. If the cub leader starts yakking about your son's behaviour again maybe just say calmly that you are happy for him to apply the rules as he sees fit and leave it at that, without getting into a major discussion about it. Just tell your boy that you're always there for him if he does want to chat stuff through. If he complains of being singled out again you could say something like: "That sounds hard. Is there anything you could do to change that or is it a case of putting up with it if you want to be a cub?", always stressing that if he doesn't want to continue at cubs that is fine and up to him. Obviously in your home he is quite rightly required to follow your family rules and expectations of behaviour. You and you husband are in charge and call the shots. Your son's cubs attendance gives you a chance to have a break from calling the shots- you abdicate that role to the cub leader and your son can either accept his authority or choose not to go at all. In a nutshell my thought would be - don't let either your son or the cub leader pass the buck back to you!

    HTH somehow, Tigermoth and lots of love and luck over this, whatever you decide to do- please don't let your guilt levels go stratospheric because I think practically everyone on this site would agree that you're a very fab, conscientious mum and you've got a fine boy there. You too, Janh.
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tigermoth · 05/04/2003 08:13

scummymummy, I have just read you message open mouthed, twice. I would never in a million yers have thought of looking at the situation from this perspective. How absolutely refreshing to think of stepping back and letting ds and cub leaders sort it out. I will mull it over. Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!!

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hmb · 05/04/2003 08:55

Wow! Scummymummy, I'm going to file that bit of advice away, and use it in the future. I can see that I may have similar problems with ds, who is wonderful, but willful. It is a good reminder that kids have to sort out their own messes sometimes, and that as mothers we are not responsible for making everything 'right'

I hope that things work out well for your ds tigermoth.

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robinw · 05/04/2003 11:22

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janh · 05/04/2003 11:41

Brilliant post, scummy! You wouldn't like to come up here and discuss it with DS for me, would you? I was also an annoying brat when young - survived Brownies but was politely declined for Guides (regularly leapfrogging over the mushroom didn't make me many friends and it took me 6 weeks just to learn to plait). And DS gets a double whammy because DH had a similarly unfortunate attitude. (Clever dicks, the pair of us, in fact.) Keep us informed about the progress of the house of scum, please!

tigermoth, it does sound like a great strategy for you and your DS, and if you can manage to step back and not be involved personally/emotionally would be a great weight off you. Detaching yourself like that is tough though. The incidents your DS has been involved in sound, again, just like mine at that age, and he always insisted the other kid started it and he just retaliated - and a supervisor does rarely see the start of something so the retaliator is more likely to be blamed - but, in my DS's case, I could never know if in fact he had really started it with one of his smart remarks. It doesn't sound, from what you've said, that yours falls into this category, and he does seem to be being singled out very unfairly. And of course once a child gets a reputation it's easy a) for the other kids to get him going and get him into trouble and b) for the leader to assume that if he is involved he started it. I hope you can get this across to the cub leader and see if your DS can be given a second chance to start with a clean slate. (Mine never belonged to cubs - it clashed with something else - probably just as well!)

scummy, the one small thing in my DS's defence is that when he rang them a few weeks ago to discuss what he would be doing, although I think they did say something about cleaning up, scrubbing stairs wasn't one of the things that was mentioned, and I think that was the last straw for him. (His Saturday job is washing up but he gets paid for that - this was one of the arguments he chose to use to them to justify his attitude...) But by then he had no credit left with them, and it's no excuse really as all the other work-experiencers have had to do it, grumbled a bit but got on with it.

My DH is now finding excuses for him - eg, apparently he was sweeping up (after one of his "discussions" ), the radio was on and he was singing along quietly - one of the nurses was in the room and said "are you talking about me?" and he said "no, I'm singing along with the radio" but she didn't believe him. My interpretation of this is that the nurse was one who had been on the receiving end of his lip before, and that his reply was not delivered politely. DH's interpretation is that maybe she was "a bad un" and was picking on him. Sigh.

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tigermoth · 05/04/2003 15:13

thanks for your comments - taking scummy's line I have had a word with my son. He seems quite happy to accept that I will step back and let him and the cub leaders sort it out between themselves. I've said again that he can leave cubs if he likes. He wants to stay.

Janh, I can imagine the sort discussions you and your dh might have, trying to intrepret events via your ds's remarks re other people. Dh and I can spend ages doing this, it's become our hobby!

Robinw, nice to know that neither you nor lindy, both expereinced cub/brownie leaders would think of excluding children. I still think the punishment is a bit strong, but scummy, yes, I am tyring to keep out of it....might have one quick word on this when the cub leader phones - I am curious to know what happened on the bikd badge day - seems such a big deicrepancy. But will tell the cub leader that I do not want to know the gory details of any future situation. I give him my permission to control as he sees fit, but also will respect my son's wish to leave cube whenever he wants to.

As for the parents, I take your point robin, but I reckon they owe me a few favours - or at least we are quits. I've had their boys here on playdates or for parties, taken them to cubs afterwards, that sort of thing, and so they should me well enough to know I would reciprocate any lift offers too. It's just that I don't want to be the one to ask first if they are not going to offer. I do think they worry that my son might be badly behaved in the car, though they tell me he is OK when he goes on playdates to their homes, but whatever, I am sure they have their reasons for not offering lifts. I just don't want to know them!

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Batters · 05/04/2003 16:52

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Lindy · 05/04/2003 17:25

ScummyMummy - what excellent advice you have given, hope I can remember it when my DS gets a little older - even at 2 I hate getting 'involved' in incidents!! That's the sort of posting that MUST go into the next (or may be the one after next) Mumsnet book.

Batters - I too was expelled from Brownies - not quite sure how I ended up a Cub Leader!!!

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robinw · 05/04/2003 17:46

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Tortington · 05/04/2003 18:39

letting the kids take the consequences of their actions is THE best post - however along side that, make sure your son is playing on an even field.

i think most times another adult tells us something nasty about our kids - we look shocked - apologise and "have words" when we get home. however i think its important to remember that our kids versions of events can be believed and when "cross examining" said cub leader he may go into" save my own ass or i will look stupid" mode

in the same situation i would insist they stay behind and speak to me in private about my son
i would also write a letter - am a great believer in letters- they can be written rubbed out re - written until you have tone and content correct then just tell them you are stepping out of the situations but tell them you think their punishments are unfair and biased against your son, ask them if they have any written policies you can have a copy of and then suggest how a certain situation could of been handled to your satisfaction
on recieving a letter of complaint you usually get the apologies and " oh i didnt mean it like that" attitude
just let them know you will stick up for your son instead of accepting all their crap all the time - kids will be kids and it sounds like yours is being picked on.

as for the other mums, if they have been to your house and your not even worth a nod then they are wrong, they are rude, dont you dare make the effort for people like that - tell em to go take a walk along west pier brighton

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robinw · 06/04/2003 07:13

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Lindy · 06/04/2003 10:16

Yes robinw - I do agree that writing a letter would really annoy leaders - after all they are only volunteers themselves; I did it for 20 years, of course I really enjoyed it, but I didn't have children of my own, I did it as a hobby but I was amazed at how few parents bothered to help out. I did receive a letter once - a child had an accident at Cubs - not serious - he wanted to go home so I took him home; older brother came to the door, I asked to speak to his mother, he went away & came back saying she was in the shower, I asked him to please tell her that there had been an accident & I needed to speak to her, again he came back saying she wouldn't. Nothing more was heard for two weeks (child came back to cubs) until my Group Scout Leader received a really stroppy letter about the incident, syaing I was irresponsible etc etc!! That really irritated me that the parents couldn't be bothered to speak to me face to face or ring me up. My brother (a Scout Leader) is being sued by a set of parents because their son broke his leg playing football at camp FIVE YEARS PREVIOUSLY - it was a straightforward break, no complications - he even works with the boys' mother - for goodness sake, accidents will happen and suing leaders & writing threatening letters is only going to result in fewer & fewer people bothing to volunteer to do cubs, scouts etc. Or perhaps no one really cares anymore?

(sorry for the rant, but its something I feel very strongly about!!)

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monkey · 06/04/2003 11:10

I was interested in scummymummy's post & the rave reviews. I absolutely am not disagreeing, and my boys are too young yet to have any of these problems, but I was curious.

I am sure leaving the child & cub leader/teacher/adult in charge to sort it out themselves is a good idea, and that as parents maybe we do try too hard sometimes to make everything ok etc etc, but if the child in question is being picked on, I know robinw pointed out it may not be the case, maybe just appears so, and indeed may or may not be the case with Tigermoth's son, but shouldn't we try & do something, or at least point it out to the adult (maybe they do it but are not aware, or maybe they do it, & don't realise that the child/family is aware) so they can change their behaviour?

At the end of the day, if the chiild misbehaves, then they should be aware & prepared for concequences, but it does seem unfair that other kids who do the same aren't punished the same. I know life isn't fair, and you're occasionally going to come across people who don't get on with you & need to deal with the situation, .... I don't know, i'm rambling now. i just wondered what others felt, if the child in question is regualrly on the receiving end of unfair treatment, it seems a shame that his only choice is to leave.

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tigermoth · 06/04/2003 11:45

I've been smiling to myself thinking of the number of expelled brownies and sunday school goers who have posted on this thread , Lindy especially. You sound so commmitted to the scouts movement, I cannot imagine what you did as a child to get expelled from brownies. It just goes to show that children can change, I suppose.

custardo, I think your advice about making sure my son is playing on an even field is excellent, too. I think I do need to have this out with the cub leader before leaving my son and him to get on with things. Over the three years my son has attended beavers/cubs I have never been unhappy about how leaders dole out discipline until now. My son's version of events has always roughly matched the leader's version of events, too, even when he's got into trouble. No huge question mark. I instinctively felt something was amiss as soon as the cub leader spoke to me about the bike badge incident and really won't feel happy about letting my son go to cubs until I have had that talk.

As for writing a letter, I think it's a good idea. I was thinking about doing this, especially asking if the cub leaders can show me their discipline policy in writing. Apart from generating some exra letter writing work for them, I don't see that this is an unreasonable request at all. The letter doesn't have to be openly critical (and wouldn't be). Surely any concerned parent is allowed to question how their son (and cubs in general) are being treated? But at the moment I'll keep that idea on the back burner. I'll talk to the pack leader first.

As for your robinw's query on my husband's involvment. Well it varies. He did more than 50% when my son was in the beaver troupe - he used to assist with sessions and regularly did the drop offs and pick ups. My son didn't become an angel of virture at beavers because of this man to man contact Now I'm not working such long hours, I do am the main point of contact. My husband plays crib on the cub night, anyway so isn't around. However as an ex scout himself, he takes a good interest in my son's cubbing activities, talks to him at home and can advise him more than me. However, I am so fed up with the grief I am getting from the leaders that I am all for delegating responsibilty to him again and we both agree that he needs to be the one the cub leaders see some of the time at least. I suppose I tend to say 'I think' or 'my sons' not 'we think' or 'our sons' just because I am writing on mumsnet and my husband isn't. Personally I don't think there's a simple equation between uninvolved dad/challenging behaviour. And involvement can mean so many diferent things in practice. I might take my son out more, but dh does more things with him at home. I know children from single parent families who are not challenging, and children from two parent families who are. It would be nice if my sons behaviour could be transformed by different ways of parenting, but I don't think it's ever that simple.

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Jimjams · 06/04/2003 13:07

I think the type of "challenging" behaviour that tigermoth is talking about (not sitting down etc etc) can more often come from immaturity rather than parenting. Sometimes we expect too much of out children (especially boys). My ds1 (3) finds sitting down difficult but he is developmentally delayed. I know it's different, but he will now sit down at nursery, but in reposnse to strategies they've used to encourage this, not in response to punishments.

Personally I don't really beleive in heavy handed punishments for young children not sitting down as some just get there later than others. I'm also not keen on punsihing one person when involved in a bit of pushing and shoving. As others have pointed out- the lead up to the push is often missed.

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janh · 07/04/2003 16:48

Thought you might be interested to hear how DS got on at school today! (He couldn't find his tie frst thing which was a great start - luckily it turned up down the side of his bed in the nick of time.)

Basically he started the day with a 10 minute lecture from TWO teachers - not sure if they did a good cop/bad cop, but anyway that was it from them; he spent the morning stapling things in the reprographic room and the afternoon scraping chweing gum off the bottom of the science lab tables. (Preferable to animal vomit and worse, he thought.)

However something else has happened which I am a bit puzzled and a bit cross about. Another boy has been sacked - he was at a primary school and apparently collects Pokemon cards (a bit odd at 15 but let that go). Anyway he took advantage of his age and position to get several kids to make very unadvantageous swaps and then refused to swap back, which led to the head sending him back to school. (He now says he was going to swap back really.)

He is not in big trouble and is to be found another placement!!!! But he was dishonest and cheated smaller children! I am confused.

tigermoth, have you heard from your cub leader yet?

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