18 answers

Disrespectul Parents in Girl Scout Troop

I have been a GS leader for 4 years. There is one mom who has always questioned everything I do.
I always include all the girls in all the decision making. However, this mom loves to say that I don't let the girls pick anythong.
It has gotten worse in the past couple of months. This mother has been hounding me with rude comments, telling other leaders that I am doing things wrong, etc. I have gotten her envolved with the service unit - thinking that this would help her to understand how much work the leaders do. But this has only made it worse - now she tells more people how bad I am.
I am at my wits end on what to do - I don't want to quit but the bully is pushing me that way.
Help!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I cannot believe all the wonderful ideas everyone has!! Thank you so much for taking time out to respond to my question. I am going to try a combination of everyone's suggestions - kill her with kindness AND ask a 3rd party to sit down with us. And I will do my best to respond to her in a calm, strong manner.
I'll be sure to let you know what happens!
Thanks again!

Featured Answers

I liked Peg M.'s response, but I would do it with someone higher up in the GS organization present. That way you have a witness. Also document everything.

Please don't quit, it sounds like you are a good leader for the girls!

K. Z.

3 moms found this helpful

I feel for you. I know that the few times I have been in a similar situation, when I calmly bring up the issue with the person, I have been shocked at their responses. People like this are not used to people confidently standing up to them so it catches them off guard. Just know that she would probably be that way with most people. If you can separate this from being a personal matter, you will handle her better. You have been given great suggestions. Hang in there, it is tough dealing with parents at times, but the children are the ones that we are there for----hang in there.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I'd want to have a private chat with this mom. Don't be defensive. Acknowledge that you hear she's unhappy with your leadership. Ask her whether there are specific incidents that she's unhappy about. If so, you can carefully and respectfully rephrase her "concerns" so she'll know you heard and understand her. Sometimes just making that open-handed effort can shift someone's attitude toward you.

If you can, try to find the need she's expressing, such as, "So, I hear that you're worried your daughter's ideas don't get much respect in this group, and you'd like to see her choices honored more, is that right?" Allow some back-and-forth until you agree on what the woman's concern actually it – she may not be too clear.

Then make a request of your own, for example, that if she'd be so kind to offer concrete suggestions, you'll be happy to take her advice under advisement.

These are variations on the wonderful process called Non-Violent Communication, which you can google for descriptions, examples, books and classes. It's a fabulous process, and might even be worth having your GS troop explore together.

9 moms found this helpful

Tell her you won't be able to attend the next 3 meetings and she will be the substitute leader - don't give her an option just tell her how things will be. Then walk off...

The parents of our Cub Scout troop don't mind putting in their 'negative' two cents until they are asked to take the position of leader. All of a sudden, their complaints stop.

just a thought...

5 moms found this helpful

Don't quit because of one bad apple! You are obviously a great GS leader who has put up with a lot. I would tell her that her daughter is still very welcome in the troop, but she is no longer welcome in the meetings/activities until she can be a good example to the girls. Be specific, calm, and non-judgmental with her, but let her know that her behavior is not acceptable and is negatively impacting the troop. If you quit, she just gets to keep bullying, and the girls lose a good leader.

5 moms found this helpful

I am sorry you have to deal with a bully. I never know what to do in these situations, but what comes to mind is that you should document what she is doing and then talk to someone above you in the girlscout chain. Or, confront and stand up to her.
My daughter's girlscout leader does a wonderful job and I can see how hard she works and how much time she gives to the group, I would never think of treating her with anything but gratitude and respect.

Thanks for the time and dedication that you are providing to your troop!

Good Luck

5 moms found this helpful

I liked Peg M.'s response, but I would do it with someone higher up in the GS organization present. That way you have a witness. Also document everything.

Please don't quit, it sounds like you are a good leader for the girls!

K. Z.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with some of the other posters. Document what and when things are happening. Consult the Service Unit Leader and see what they suggest. You can also schedule a one on one w/ an unbiased third party (someone above you in the Scout hierachy). It could come down to this other option "I understand you are not happy. Would you like to switch to another unit?".

PS...I was a Cub Scout den leader so I feel your pain.

3 moms found this helpful

I think you need to call your Service Unit Leader and let her know what is going on and ask that you three sit down and have a face to face meeting. You need to put all your cards on the table and ask her what is it about you that she finds so offensive that she feels it is OK to slander you to others.

Be point blank about it with her while being polite.

3 moms found this helpful

I feel for you. I know that the few times I have been in a similar situation, when I calmly bring up the issue with the person, I have been shocked at their responses. People like this are not used to people confidently standing up to them so it catches them off guard. Just know that she would probably be that way with most people. If you can separate this from being a personal matter, you will handle her better. You have been given great suggestions. Hang in there, it is tough dealing with parents at times, but the children are the ones that we are there for----hang in there.

2 moms found this helpful

Fortunately I have never had this problem with a parent in my troop, but I wouldn't put it up with it for two seconds. Now is the time at the beginning of a new year to take care of it. I would tell her that she is obviously not happy with the troop and this is a good time for her to find a new troop for her daughter. If she protests and says no her daughter likes being in the troop and doesn't want to move her then I'd lay some ground rules for the new year: 1) That you welcome parent involvement in the decision making process for the troop, but that once decisions are made there is no second-guessing or complaining 2) All parents are expected to help with troop activities. 3) The parent leadership purpose is to be a role-model for the girls.

I hope you guys can make it work. Being a girl scout leader is a huge committment and having to put up with uncooperative parents shouldn't have to be part of the job description. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Go to your SU Manager or Troop Liaison and ask for their assistance. They are trained to assist leaders in events like this.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not a GS leader but I am President of the cheer boosters. First of all, you can't please everybody.

I have 1 mom emailing me weekly about how I need to manage the group. Mind you, we are having a successful year, already raised $10,000 and on the way to achieving our goals set for the year.

Each time, I save the emails of complaints and how to's, I also respond with a "job" for her since she is so inclined to want to help. She declines each job of course....it might take some effort.

I think she just wants to complain and in some instances fight. I'll not resort to acting like a 15 yr old. One thing that was so insulting to the board from day 1 is that she sent a lovely email to all of us on how well she helps manage and she actually said this in the email "I think like a corporate mom, not a SAHM". Little does she know, we 2 top officers are SAHM's who run multimillion dollar businesses (NOT MLM'S) from home with our husband.

Hang in there and keep it all noted.

1 mom found this helpful

I would ask her to join another troop. As politely as possible tell her that you can see that she is interested in the troop, she wants to be involved and seems like she may even want to be in charge of a troop. However, since you are the leader of this troop, it makes it hard for you to do your job when she questions what you do and you find it disrespectful when she tells others you are not doing your job well. That being said, you'd like her to find another troop for her daughter that will be more to her liking. You can suggest she start her own troop or that she find a leader that she feels is more qualified. After all, this is a volunteer position. You do not need to put up with that type of person!

I dealt with a bully in a different volunteer group. The woman was old enough to be my grandmother and we got along fine until I was placed in a board position that outranked hers (and no, I did NOT pull rank on her!). Suddenly she was mean and nasty and rolled her eyes during board meetings anytime I said something. I put up with it for nearly a year, I even tried the killing with kindness, but what finally stopped it was when I sent her an e-mail with some harsh but true words, including some specific examples of her rudeness and bad behavior, and how I thought she had hurt the entire organization because of her dislike of me personally. I copied the rest of the board members on the e-mail, but no one else in the group. She did not speak to me after that, but she also stopped undermining me and being rude to me during board meetings. Sometimes you just have to call people out, because no amount of turning the other cheek will appease them. They see it as weakness and get even more out of hand.

Good luck to you, and thank you for working with such a wonderful organization!

Stand up to the bully. Ask her to run a couple of meetings. When she talks about how things should be ask her why that would be better. Make her defend herself. If she makes a rude comment in front of you, ask her where that came from. You will teach the girls how to deal with negative people if you do this.

Take Care!

I was a leader too and because my daughter stop GS, I am not a leader any more.....but you could simply say that you no longer have space in your troop since the new session starts or talk to the council and find out other troop near your area and tell her she can go to that troop since you don't meet her requirement acording to her standerd. Remember being a GS leader is something you should enjoy and not feel like to cry about and most of all it is a volunteer position, so even council will understand.

ha i won't say what i really think you should do because i might get banned from the sight! but i do agree with the advice the other mother have given and i really agree with the mother who said make her a subsitute leader for a few meetings and don't show your face when she has to do it. but make sure she knows that she is only temporary. good luck and don't give up!

Dear T.:

I've been a Girl Scout assistant leader in the past and know a little of what you're going through. The girls are great; dealing with the parents can be very problematic.

You've gotten the parent involved, which is what I've done. In my case I got lucky and either parents back off if any work is expected of them or they dig in, do a great job and realize how hard it is to be a leader.

Have you talked to the people in the service unit for some suggestions? The only thing I can come up with, which I'd hate to do, is to suggest that if that mom feels you're doing such a poor job she should either put her child in another troop or start her own troop. I'd hate to do that because of possibly breaking up the troop, but you can't continue dealing with a bully, either.

As far as worrying about her complaining to more people through the service unit work, don't worry. They're well-acquainted with parents who are all complain and talk. If the service unit truly thought you were really messing up they'd have contacted you already.

L. F., mom of a 14-year-old daughter

You can get help from GS leadership at the unit office... let them help you with this.

Ask for a meeting between you and the mom and a representative(your membership director) from the GS office.

The parent can have her say, you can have your say, and the GS office can work between the two of you to get to a place where you can work together better.

Being a leader is a lot of pressure and responsibility. The only saving grace is that it is FUN. If it isn't fun anymore because of the drain of this parent...

Ultimately, you aren't forced to include any particular girl in the troop.

The parent needs to support and bring up the troop rather than tear it down... or she needs to move her child to a different troop where she's a better fit.

The GS leadership can help get this across to her.

Best of luck to you,
M.

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