Scouting magazine

How to deal with an unruly parent

Chartered Organization Representative J.S. has a problem: A troop parent is constantly badmouthing the Scoutmaster (who J.S. thinks is doing a great job). He is looking for ways to rein in this unruly parent.


FILL OUT A COMPLAINT FORM

A fellow Scouter likes to say that her complaint form is the adult-leader application. If the parent has legitimate concerns, he or she should discuss them with you, as it is the chartered organization representative who screens and approves adult leadership. Otherwise, the parent should be invited to join the committee and put his or her ideas forth in the proper forum. Suggest that he or she take the online Fast Start training to get a better idea of what the Scoutmaster’s job is.

Committee Chairman F.M.
Novi, Mich.


TALK IT OUT

In a similar case, I sat down with the person and explained that we are here for the boys, and they are our priority. I then listened to everything the person had to say. It turned out it was a personal dispute with the Scoutmaster. Once the person was able to vent, the situation improved.

Scoutmaster T.R.
Harker Heights, Tex.


PUT UP OR SHUT UP

Offer this parent the position of assistant Scoutmaster to help work with the Scoutmaster to straighten out any perceived problems. Point out what the required training will be (This is Scouting, Leader Position-Specific, Youth Protection) before he or she can become active.

Also point out any additional meetings and training he or she will be expected to attend each month. Faced with the need to put up or shut up, the person doing all the complaining will usually shut up. In the few instances where the person steps up, you get someone who is beneficial to the program.

Council Executive Board
Member B.S.
Marshalls Creek, Pa.


SHOW THEM THE DOOR

I would confront the offensive parent, with the committee chair as your witness, and inform the parent that, as a consequence of his or her actions, he or she is no longer welcome at your troop’s activities. You will likely lose a Scout, but this parent’s toxicity can no longer be tolerated.

Chartered Organization Representative T.M.
Ankeny, Iowa


END IT NOW

I suggest a meeting with the disgruntled parent, the committee chair, the chartered organization representative, and the Scoutmaster. Allow the parent to present his or her issues with the Scoutmaster, allow the Scoutmaster to respond, and then allow all parties to come to a compromise. Be clear that the issue “dies” when you leave the room.

Cubmaster J.S.
Williamston, N.C.


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