Effectively communicating with a Scout's divorced parents

Several boys in Scouter K.C.’s Cub Scout den have divorced parents. She is looking for effective ways to communicate with adults who may not communicate well with each other.

As a divorced parent and Cubmaster, I can sympathize. In our pack, we use e-mail as our primary form of communication; paper handouts are often misplaced or not delivered to both parents. It’s imperative that both parents feel they are an integral part of their son’s success in Scouting. When parents share an active role, both the boy and the parents benefit..

Cubmaster G.R.
Holladay, Utah

A monthly den newsletter communicates information to all parents. Include dates, times, locations, and special resources needed for activities. Also include names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of den and pack leaders and den families.

As for handbooks and uniforms being at the wrong house, have the Scout keep his handbook, uniform, a notebook, and a pen in a daypack. He can take this pack to school on the day of the meeting or activity.

Patrick A.F.B., Fla.

The first step is for the den leader to advise the Cubmaster and committee chairperson. These boys need the support of pack adults in order to reduce Scouting-related stress at home.

If handbooks or uniforms are an issue, perhaps each parent could have a handbook, and the boy could store his uniform at the meeting place..

Pack Committee Chairman R.S.
North Tonawanda, N.Y.

A reward for proper uniforming and books motivates the boys. They will develop the responsibility to communicate to mom or dad the importance of having what they need.

Pack Trainer D.E.
Roswell, Ga.

Try to put everything — dates, places, activities — in writing. The Scout can be responsible for getting fliers and handouts to the custodial parent, but send the information via e-mail or postal mail to the extended family.

Ocala, Fla.

I find that lists help. When my boys were younger, I prepared lists of things they needed to pack for activities while at their dad’s house. As they grew older, they made their own lists. We wrote the lists out the evening before they left so they would have time to pack.

Scouter K.W.-M.
Fair Oaks, Calif.

My ex-wife has custody of our son, but I am in charge of his Scouting activities. When items need to be completed between meetings, I photocopy the relevant pages and send them along. We also make sure both households’ e-mail and postal addresses are on file so that both parents get the same information. This even helps us plan “switch” weekends so that I can have my son for events like Lad and Me camp-outs.

Assistant Scoutmaster R.M.
Massillon, Ohio

Divorced parents sharing custody — like working parents juggling various children’s activities (and just plain busy parents) — need multiple forms of communication.

Create a handout of what was accomplished at the weekly meeting, along with suggested activities for home and a list of what is needed the next week. Copy it on yellow paper so it stands out from homework papers. If parents expect to see this handout weekly, you’ll have their attention.

Den Leader B.K.
Longmeadow, Mass.

Web Exclusive Responses

The following responses do not appear in the print edition …

We use e-mail to send a monthly calendar and outing updates to 90 percent of our families. The entire group also gets a calendar mailed to their homes. Additional information is made available at den and pack meetings. We make sure both parents receive the information.

Pack Committee Chairman S.J.
Indianapolis, Ind.

It is important that both parents be informed of all activities affecting their son. The leaders should speak to both parents and see that both have copies of unit schedules and are on your mailing list.

Assistant Scoutmaster J.S.W.
Madison, Wis.



  1. Please offer me some assistance. As a divorced mom from a high conflict personality whose ex was removed as a Cub Scout leader due to anger issues, I have encouraged my sons to stay in and/or rejoin scouts at the Boy Scout level. Unfortunately, my ex has become an assistant leader, which is fine, but I have been completely left out of events, communications, and trips–simply because he’s using his position to be abusive to me.
    I want to support my boys, but leadership is refusing to see that hiring an abusive ex spouse only further abuses the boy’s mother and teaches them this is how women are treated.
    Even though leadership knows I have been purposely not told about events, not given my items from fundraisers (father/assistant leader claims he “forgot,” and ALL trips were planned on father’s weekend, they seem to think it’s not their issue. I don’t want scouts involved in my divorce, but when a high conflict ex is made an assistant leader and the mother is emotionally abused and left out, what can be done?

  2. Does the BSA have anything to say about Parentsl Alienation?

    Thank you so much. We say abusive to us and it is but we are grown now. Their is always time now to stop. Forget about “giving up” and remember tou have such a short time to raise your children. Why alienate them from someone they have loved and someone who unconditionally loved them? How can this help your child/children- or are you still years later worried about getting even .. please ..stop

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