April 11, 2009,
D.D. asks from Lake Village, IN on April 08, 2009
Disrespect Among Girl Scout Troop
Hello ladies! I am a Girl Scout leader and have been for many years. I have a group of girls right now that are very disrespectful to one another. Even down right mean. I have tried and tried but it seems to not get me anywhere. I know that if it is not backed up at home and school the change will not happen. Any suggestions?
So What Happened?™
Thank you everyone for the wonderful advice! I have talked to my assistant leader and I think we are going to take your advice, we have talked to the girls many times about the disrespect and rude ways that they act to one another however this time the parents will be invited and we will go over the way a GS is supposed to treat people! We will also set in place a disciplinary procedure and keep the rules posted on a posterboard at every meeting! Thanks again I will keep you up to date on what happens!
P.G. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
give the girls a project for the next meeting , they are to write down 3 things about each of the other girls that they think is a good quality that they have and or 3 things that they like about them . and they are to sign them for you to read aloud to the troop. Sometimes it takes hearing good things about who you are to have feelings good or bad about the person next to you. You know who the troubled girls are ,and disrupting the rest don't cut it. Face it little girls can be down right cruel to even the best friend.
B.A. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
We are having the same problem...the next meeting we are going to go back over the girl scout promise and what it means. We are also going to go over the rules for girl scouts and our troop rules. We are printing them out and having both the girls and the parents sign(parents are invited to this meeting as most of the behavior to each other as women we learned from the adults around us). The consequences will be listed including being excluded from the meeting that day(sitting the wall), next step calling a parent to come pick them up now(requires parents to be available during meetings), third consequence is being asked to leave the troop so others who are there for the right purpose can enjoy themselves. If it ended up disbanding the group because they are all kicked out, they didn't want to be in girl scouts anyway. We always tell them Girl Scouts back up girl scouts anywhere if they are being mistreated. I am a girl scout too, so if they mistreat me, they are not doing part of what they say they are.
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A.C. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
Is it all of the girls or always the same ones who do it? I would talk with their parents. You can only do so much and if they're not listening, I would definitely go to the parents. What about if you tell them unless they start being nicer to each other the meeting are going to be canceled? One of the things girl scouts learn is to be nice and helpful to everyone. If they aren't practicing the girl scout behavior, why have the meetings? Good luck. It sounds like you have your job cut out for you.
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S.E. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
Don't you volunteer your time to be the leader. Since the girls think they can act anyway they want. I would hold a mandatory meeting for the parents and the scouts. If you do not come to the meeting, you are voluntarily dropping from the troop. The parents need to know the children are acting unkind to each other. I would open the meeting with one of the girls reading the scout code. I would then ask the parents about how they expected the scouts to treat each other and adults. I would inform them that the troop has been struggling in their interactions with one another. I would say we all need to work together to make this a pleasant, fun, and productive program. Then ask the girls to write down the way the want to be treated by troop members and how they think they should treat troop members and adults.
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C.H. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
I was a Girl Scout co-leader for a 5th grade troop and after seeing how mean the girls were to each other, the troop disbanded after that year. My idea, which my co never agreed to, was to review the GS law and let the girls know that in the troop they work as a team regardless of who their friends are during the school day. A couple of warnings and the parents would be called to pick the girl up early. We never tried it, just my idea.
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T.E. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
Past YMCA Program Director and fellow GS Leader here with some ideas. Depending on which council you are in, there are kits designed to help facilitate conflict resolution while earning a patch. My troop had a few issues once so we began requiring parents to each help with running a meeting and planning an activity to earn a patch. That solve some problems. Now when I was a YMCA program director I met with parents privately with documented situations. I even met with a school social worker who were supportive. With those camps, the overnights I assigned the problems with each other, forcing them to work things out with some special team building ropes course etc. Do not be affraid to ask council for guidance. I actually split my troop in half, creating two troops with another leader. You do not want to have the troop disolve because of a few. Keep up the good work! Recruit parents and Sr Girl Scouts for help. Feel free to bug me anytime. I have had a little of everything.
M.O. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
How wonderful for those girls to have a troop leader like you! I agree whole-heartedly with Barb's post. The girl scouts is based on doing the right thing and helping people. If your girls are having a tough time right now with that, then they need to be reminded of what this organization stands for and how they are expected to behave...not just at your meetings but in LIFE.
I have always stressed with my own children "the golden rule"...if in doubt about how to behave, ask yourself if YOU would like to be treated that way. It's a simple way to help kids manage their own behavior.
I completely agree that there should be a meeting on how to treat others, review the girl scout creed and establish consequences. I would also ensure parents are aware that you are doing this. The girl scouts is not free. It is a something many of us enroll our girls in so they have a safe, healthy environment to grow and experience things that are not offered in school.
I commend you and would love to hear back on what WORKED for you and your girls.
V.L. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
Sounds like the beginning of cliques and bullying. Check out Jodee Blanco's website:
She's written a couple of books on bullying and has some good ideas for combatting and reprimanding girls. You're right though, it does need to be reinforced at their homes.
D.W. answers from Chicago on April 09, 2009
I too am a Junior GS leader and have been for 20+ years. I think how you handle this depends alot on the age level you have. We have Juniors and we simply do not tolerate that kind of behavior.
I know alot of parents these days do not hold their children to the standards we would like. That doesn't prevent me from holding them to a higher standard at scouts. I correct their grammar, their behavior and their attitudes all the time.
WHen parents drop them off for the meeting I remind the child to say goodbye, thanks for bringing me, and I love you all the time right in front of mom and dad.
These days too many parents are trying to be their friends and to be liked by their kids that they forget to be the adult and set the rules.
The first night of scouts we go over our rules. Some are housekeepping but some are also abouthow they are expected to treat each other. I know there is also this thing that happens after the CHiristmas holidays where the girls in 6th grade turn a corner and start acting like snotty teenagers. (I know that's a huge generalization but in my experience most of them do this) That can be frustrating but I have to remind myself they are testing me and my leadership and I have to be the role model they need and not allow them to grow up faster than they need to.
Some more practical strategies are to split them in groups and partners and I decide who they're with. My co-leader and I make them all get along. (my co-leader and I started at the same time so we've been doing this a looooong time)
We went to a play last Sat and I mixed them up when we seated because I knew the friends would talk. That's one way they learn to like someone new, when they have no choice but to work with them or sit with them.
Another suggestion might be to do a badge on etiquitte or diversity or community. SOmething where they learn everyone is different and that's a good thing and here is how we treat everyone respectfully.
If it is bullying going on you definately need to approach the parents of the bullying child because that is something that needs to be stopped as young as possible. Otherwise I think involving the parents who are already not holding their kids to a standard might not be effective. The girls need to not only know what will not be tolerated when you are in charge but the weaker ones need to learn from your example how to not tolerate it for themselves.
I hope this helps. The girls are very lucky to have you.