Cub Scouts or Karate for My 7 Yr Old Son?

Updated on December 13, 2011
K.M. asks from Angola, LA
20 answers

Hi Moms,
My 7 year old son is wanting to do karate at his school two days a week from 330-430 OR cub scouting and I'm wondering which would be the best option? I would love to have your opinion. I think that he is leading more towards karate but, the more research I do I think that scouting might be better for him. I think this would be a great way for him to make friends and build character and confidence amongst other things. My husband works ALOT so he would probably never be able to take him and I also have a 2 year old that would always be with us at events as well. So what do you guys think?????

Thank you!

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answers from Washington DC on

but then, i fully admit to having a case of the _ss against BSA for their unacceptably homophobic stance.

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answers from Dover on

I personally suggest the scouting. My son joined as a tiger and followed through to earn his Eagle. It taught him a lot and they are family oriented.

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answers from Seattle on

Which would your son choose?

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answers from St. Louis on

both of my sons went thru scouts. My older one quit as a teenager. My younger son (age 14) is very active & is planning on becoming a camp counselor either next summer .....or the following. It all depends on how much he accomplishes toward Eagle Scout.

& that brings me to my next comment: with scouts, it truly does make a difference - in the long run - when it comes to college applications/placemnt & on job applications. Our troop is very active, very dedicated to keeping these boys on the move. In the past 8 months, they've .....not only camped regularly.....but have hiked more than 250 miles! (all in preparation of merit badges)

They also spend time working on community service projects....which helps teach them to serve others. The merit badges also allows for personal growth & development. The choices are broad in range & idea, & can be quite challenging - both physically & mentally.

In Cub Scouts, you will need to participate - to some extent....& with 9 yrs btwn our sons, I always had my younger son to haul around. He was welcomed & not the only baby there. Once you bridge to Boy Scouts (about 6th grade??), then it's leaders & scouts....with an occasional parent assist needed.

All in all, this has been quite a beneficial life choice for both of my sons. Scouts offers endless possiblities for positive growth & a chance to really connect with the outdoors ...& to learn life skills which could easily be lost in today's modern world. .....gee whiz, until I read this question, I hadn't realized how absolutely positive this experience has been for my family. Thank you!

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answers from San Antonio on

My brother was a nationally ranked competitor in karate as a child. He made friends, learned self-discipline, gained confidence, had fun... all that good stuff.
Cub scouts provides a greater variety of experiences, but not the opportunity for that type of dedication to one single craft.
Both are great things. I would suggest asking yourself (or him) these questions:

1. Why does he like these two activities? Is one more about someone else doing it and the other more about him following his own interests?

2. Is he someone who enjoys working hard at a task by himself? If not, then scouts might be a better starting place the karate because it is all organized group activities and karate is a lot more about self-discipline. BS also teaches discipline, but as far as having enough to stick with it, it's a good question to ask.

3. Is he a competitive individual or does he more enjoy socializing through team work?

4. What does he get more excited about? What do YOU get more excited about (since you'll have to, at times, force him to go to either one).

5. If your husband is not around to participate, how will he react to the father-son aspects of BS (F/S camping trips, and more traditional things like building a soap box derby car -- can you help him with things like that? I mean, do you want to?)

6. BS requires you to participate in many activities. Do you want that or would you rather watch from the sidelines?

Either experience will be great, I'm sure. It's hard to pick! Good luck and have fun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

but then, i fully admit to having a case of the _ss against BSA for their unacceptably homophobic stance.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Birmingham on

Scouting is wonderful but so is karate. Scouting is a wonderful thing that many fathers/sons do together and mom can't do with him. They do lots of camping events with the dad needing to be with them too. Karate is great (we recommend the ITA organization) and our children have done this for years. He can do this independently and meets friends at the same time in class. There are tournaments that the family can go to in town and out of town for fun, vacation and a little competition. It wouldn't be so obvious that dad wasn't around. It will help to build his confidence also and the self-defense skills are always a bonus!



answers from Chicago on

My husband was a boyscout and he loved every second of it. I guess it depends on what type of child you have. Both had their good qualities. My son loves the outdoors and helping (he is 2 so way to young for this) but our future plans are for him to be in the scouts.



answers from Lawton on

That's a tough call. We are a Scouting family, and we love it. In fact, we are getting ready for a Scout fishing tournament today. For us, it is a good, family activity.

Here's what I would do: Do Scouts for now, and enroll him in karate during the summer when the Scouts might be less active.

Teachers, coaches, and den leaders know that kids drop in and out of activities. Even with Scouts, he could always go back even if he drops out for a while.

Good luck with this! :)


I had another thought: If he starts scouts and learns karate later, he can earn a martial arts badge.



answers from Honolulu on


My daughter is 7 and she takes Karate and she LOVE LOVE LOVES it.
All pro's, no con's.


answers from Dover on

I personally suggest the scouting. My son joined as a tiger and followed through to earn his Eagle. It taught him a lot and they are family oriented.



answers from Houston on

My son did cub scouts from Tiger all the way up to Webelo Arrow of Light (so he did it for 4.5 years). He elected to not go into Boy Scouts and instead has been doing Tae Kwon Do the last 3 months. He likes the punching, kicking, the discipline. It is high energy and active during the 45 minute class His main complaint with scouting was that there was too much talking and teaching, some of it was boring. He did not care for the fund raising activities and did not like the boring pack meetings. After his first year, he would complain a lot about going to scouts but so far, I have never seen him complain about Tae Kwon Do. Your comment about husband working a lot....don't kid yourself, scouting takes ALOT of parent involvement (3 to 4 activities per months). If you have a great den leader and a good bunch of kids it helps keep the child's interest, but overall, it is still adult time intensive. I find that Tae Kwon Do is far less demanding on the parents because the instructor is handling. The main disadvantage of course is that Tae Kwon Do is more expensive by far. But I think self defense is a good life skill, the belt advancement system is motivating, and my son can do classes with his younger sister.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Check into the cost of each, it may be a determining factor, other than what your son would really prefer. We had looked into karate, and the cost was a few hundred dollars, we determined it was too expensive. My oldest son loved the Scouting program.



answers from Oklahoma City on

My boys are in cub scouts and love it. I would like for them to try karate also but just can't afford it right now. The early years of cub scouts are pretty easy. Our Pack lets a parent(s) and child be as involved as they want to be. If you don't want to camp you don't have to. You don't have to earn the belt loops and pins and you don't have to help with fundraising, but these things do make scounting a more rounded experience. The great things is that scouts offer something for everyone. Neither of my boys are fond of the outdoors for camping and bugs. lol. They are only 6 & 7 so that may come later. We focus on more of the academic belt loops and pins than the sports ones. Although they do like to fish. My boys love the monthly den meetings and the monthly pack meetings. I will let my boys decide if and when they want to stop. There may be different packs in your area and may be run a little differently so check them out and see which you may be comfortable with. Our Pack is very laid back so sometimes things are at the last minute but we do a lot of fun stuff. I only volunteer for daily things. I am not interested in the responsiblity of being a den leader or higher but they keep asking!!!! Also there are many moms involved in scouts. I do the scout things with my boys. My husband has an odd shift that doesn't allow him to attend a lot of functions. It is not just a father/son thing anymore. Most packs welcome younger family members too. Once they go to Boy Scouts (about six grade) they are in a troop and things are done a little differently. The boys are encouraged to be the leaders and the parents are the guidance needed...... much like growing up.


answers from Norfolk on

It depends on what is available for karate schools and cub scout packs in your area. The scouting groups in the area we live in right now are rabid about fund raising activities. I had a pack leader call me up asking if my son would be interested in joining his group, but the minute I told him we had no one to sell anything to, he couldn't hang up on me fast enough. It might just be me, but if that's their major means for determining membership, we are not interested. Keep in mind not all packs are like this. They can vary quite a bit, so do your research and see what would be a good fit.
My son's a 1st Dan level black belt in Taekwondo and he really enjoys the classes and tournaments. He's at a level where he is now helping to teach some classes (he's 11 yrs old) and I think it's helping him learn some good leadership skills as well as getting exercise and learning self defense.



answers from Los Angeles on

Our grandson took martial arts at 4 at his request and loved it. He will definitely gain confidence and character if it is a well run program as well as meet other children. What does he really want to do and what will be easiest for you? They are both win-win.



answers from Detroit on

I have not read any of the responses, but my brother did Cub Scouts when he was a kid and had a great time with his friends. Our dad worked long hours during the week so it was usually up to our mom to get him to meetings but Dad was available on the weekends and participating in anything that was on a weekend. They got really caught up in doing the Pinewood Derby every year and my brother was the district champ 2 years in a row (our dad was an engineer for Ford, so you can just imagine...)

My only thought is that you probably need to start Cub Scouts now, if he is going to do it, because of the age he is currently. Karate can always start later, even if it is next year. Or is there a way he can do both? Or would that be too much?


answers from Philadelphia on

We had the same son is also 7, but he started karate (Tang So Doo) 2 years ago. And he LOVES karate, still! He had an opportunity to compete in Ireland over the summer and what an experience.

This year, he begged to do scouts and I gave in. I have to admit we are certainly sorry that we didn't start scouts sooner.

Here are the pros and cons:
Karate Pros: builds self confidence, teaches the ability to set goals and reach them, teaches self discipline and respect; other than getting your child there and being supportive and occasional fund raising - you get to sit on the sidelines

Karate Cons: it can be expensive. For our school there is tuition but it is split into manageable monthly payments and after a trial period, you will likely have to sign a contract - typically yearly.

Scouts Pros: family centric, teaches values and morals, teaches goal setting and builds confidence with recognized achievements, provides new opportunities to try many many things

Scouts Cons: family centric means a time commitment....they say "one hour a week", but that is THE biggest lie. Now this, in my opinion, is not really a CON per se, however it is something to seriously consider. If you want the scout program to be successful it takes many can be lots of fun though. The initial cost can be a little overwhelming (uniform parts and registration together can reach ~$100), there is likely to be quite a bit of fund raising unless your Pack has a well funded charter organization - which is unlikely.

So, like I said we are doing both this year...and so far we are very happy. I like having him involved in a sport that reinforces values and I love scouts for affording us family time that centers around setting goals and learning character based lessons! BOTH are win-wins.

One thing you should know is that there are NO merit awards for cubs/boy scouts in martial arts. The Boy Scouts of America has a policy, albeit silly, that they do not endorse activities that they feel are dangerous....seems silly to me that they teach gun safety and archery but martial arts is out lawed....that being said there has been some movement to try to get BSA to recognize that martial arts when done through a reputable school that has shared values and curriculum with BSA.


answers from Dallas on

This is up to him to figure out which one. Has he tried either one?

I don't know much about Boy Scouts other than hearing the bad press about them lately. However, i do know it is quite respectable if a boy continues throughout the process and earns Eagle Scout.

As for Karate, my daughter tried it around age 6-7 and loved it. It proved to be very valuable for us. By 13 and a private Tang Soo Do Instructor, she earned a black belt and there is so much involved with that aspect of karate. They learn the discipline, perserverance, character and pride when they achieve.

With have to find the right school and right "fit". A lot of places are simply "belt factories" and that is NOT what you want. The child has to EARN the belt to fully understand and appreciate the work.

So your question was which one? BOTH take a lot of commitment, dedication and work.



answers from Boston on

as far as what B posted when our pack does fundraisers it consists of the yearly popcorn fundraiser (just like girl scouts have cookies) and then the boys do can drives, pancake breakfast (all they ask is each scout donate some of their time to serve tables), a car wash (all they ask is each scout donate a little of their time), etc Most of our fundraisers just ask for every scout to donate a little bit of their time and pitch in. My oldest loves it and I am a den leader I take my 3 year old to everything except for the a few trips where seats were limited so it was offered as scouts only. We would like to do karate but we just can't afford it. Everywhere around us is extremely pricey even the option of the after school one.



answers from Baton Rouge on

I think scouting would be best, however, he should in some way be taught to protect himself.

If you go karate first, make sure he is taught that it is to be used only for protection.

God Bless



answers from Dallas on

Scouts will take a lot of time and parent involvement is crucial in the first 4-5 years. It is a mult-year commitment to get the results other responses are speaking about.

Both of my sons are scouts and my husband is a leader for Cub and Boy Scouts. It takes a lot of dedication and time on all of their parts. The results have been well worth it though!

I have always wanted my boys to take karate, but it just didn't interest them. I think the right karate school teaches many great values and promotes self confidence. Karate takes a lot of time & dedication as well but probably not as much as scouts.

I don't think you could go wrong with either one!

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