Boy Scouts and My Paranoia

Updated on November 10, 2010
D.R. asks from Culver City, CA
16 answers

Just the other day I watched Oprah where she had on 200 men who had been molested as children. They said one in 4 girls are molested and one in 6 boys are, and typically by people they know. It was heart wrenching. Then I get a note last night from my son's first grade teacher recommending that he join the Boy Scouts and how great that would be for him. Now after seeing Oprah, I am too nervous to let him go into a group that is out of my control. Do any of you moms have experience or thoughts on this?

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much to everyone for the resonses. I did not know anything about the scout organizations, so it is nice to know that the parents can be involved. I have talked to my kids about the situations that are out there, so they are aware.
Thank you,

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answers from Dallas on

A little paranoid, yes, but this is something that ALL parents should be concerned about. Sexual offenses are rampant in all communities, and offenders can be friends, teachers, loved ones, and community leaders.

If I understand correctly, parents attend boy scout meetings with the boys, though, so you can be as involved as you want to be. You can volunteer for the group as well- and help out at meetings and trips and such. Although my daughter is in girl scouts, she is never out of my sight.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I hear you and I feel the same way. I would just get involved myself and be there to watch out and protect at all of the activities.

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answers from Chicago on

I understand being protective. I understand being afraid to let go. I don't think you can protect kids forever and scouting is a great first step.

I think the key to protecting our kids is educating them. Not scaring them. Letting them know that scary people are out there. That people hope that when kids get scared, or made to feel uncomfortable that kids won't tell. That they'll tell kids things like "don't tell", or it's a secret, etc. Tell you child that YOU will always believe him, listen to him, and want him to talk to you NO MATTER WHAT.

Teach your child how to stand up for himself - to bullies, to adults that scare him or make him feel uncomfortable. Teach him how to stay safe - when answering the phone, when the doorbell rings, when he thinks be might be being followed, etc. Teach him how to get away from someone who's grabbed him.

You son will be much better off and better prepared if you teach him these things about life instead of sheltering him.

Go ahead, join scouts. Bring him to every meeting. Get to know the leaders. Carpool and meet his friends. Ask him about his meetings. Stay engaged without being a worried mom.

Best wishes.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have my boys in boy scouts and they really encourage parent participation- in fact, the tigers(the youngest at 1st grade) have to have their parents with them at every meeting as the parents make up the "leader" of the group. All the other leaders in the boy scouts are parents of other boys that are there. Yes, you should be cautious and be aware of what your son is doing and where he is, but keeping him from activities just because you are worried about what "might" happen- you could use that excuse for anything. I mean- you let your son go to school and you are not there to make sure nothing happens there- Boy scouts teaches a lot of great things. You should try it with your son. I think you both would have a lot of fun- and he doesn't have to go on any of the camping trips or field trips if you don't feel comfortable with it(you are also always welcome to come along with him, or send his dad with him).
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I have thought of this too and wonder how cautious is too cautious (bordering on paranoia). My son just joined Cub Scouts and so far, they very much encourage parent and family participation. Especially at this age (for several years anyway). Certainly others may have different thoughts but right now we have always been at the activities with our son so he is really not with any other adults when we're not there.

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answers from Dallas on

Your son would actually be joining Cub Scouts which is extremely parent driven and full of parent involvement. It is not a drop and go club - parents are encouraged to stay at the meetings and scouts have to be with their own parents at campouts. They cannot tent with other families or leaders. My husband is a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout leader. There are so many rules involving being alone with a Scout. My husband cannot give a scout a ride home unless my son is with him. There can never be a leader alone with a scout unless it is their own son.

Of course, something could happen at any place including school, sports activities, church and even your own home. Like one of the men stated on Oprah, a neighbor came over while he was building a bird house in his own backyard and fondled him. You should always be aware and cautious with any people your son deals with. You are smart to ask these questions, don't stop.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

boy scouts gets a bad rap alot of the time but as a leader you are never supposed to be alone with a child there should always be another leader present to protect the kids and to protect the adults from false accusations. We have the parents stay for the meeting and is very very very parented involved. This could happen anywhere just look at how many priests have hurt children but millions of people still take their children to church, it could be your neighbor, a friends' parent, a teacher, it could be anyone. What you need to do is teach your child how to stay safe.
edited: just wanted to add after reading what Sara B said I have never heard of scouts being intolerant to gays maybe its because I have only dealt with cubscouts so far but I am a den leader and nothing about gays have ever come up we even have a few life parteners involved with scouts with their kids. I did do girl scouts and we never had planned parenthood come in to talk to us. Maybe that is just your area. It does not mean they are all like that.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I didn't read all of the answers, but first of all, I absolutely do not agree that you are being narrow minded by asking this question. This is a forum to get the responses of others. My friend had a very near miss in this situation (although it was a camping trip with his school, not the scouts) and the man was arrested. On the other hand, my stepfather was a scout his entire life and continues to be involved in an administrative position. They give scholarships and in many cases have changed young men and boys lives in ways that cannot be measured. I agree that you should look at the mission statement of the organization and make sure it fits your beliefs. Obviously educate your kids, get involved and get to know the leaders.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

BSA requires leaders to have background checks.
so do Girl Scouts. My grandfather and two of my cousins were boy scouts so long they earned their "Eagle Scout" status.
And it wouldn't be out of your control if you or your husband volunteered to be a den leader.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Cub Scouts is a parent child orientated activity. In first grade as a tiger cub the child goes nowhere without his cub buddy. So you would go with him to every event, every meeting, every go see it. That is where the Tigers go to see something, like a radio studio or a pizza place.
As a wolf (2nd grade) and bear (3rd Grade) they go to a meeting run by a mom or dad usually with you sitting in the room. The child is still not allowed to go on any camp out without his parent.
As a WEBELO he is in 4th grade. This is where the child starts to take on more responsibily. He can go to the meetings by himself but my husband still goes with our son. He can go to the campouts with the leader but my husband still does that too.
The Cub Scout leaders all do "classes" to teach them about keeping children safe. My hubby has taken them. Every adult who will have contact with the children goes through these trainings.
It is in 6th grade that the children go into BOy Scouts without their parent. That is unless your husband wants to be a leader. We have pretty much held my son's hand so far. He is a first year WEBELO, 4th grade. Next year he will be a 2nd year WEBELO.
My son loves Cub Scouts. The leaders are all upstanding citizens who are just as freaked about strangers as you and me.
You can be as involved as you want. Maybe you want to be a leader? It really isnt' that hard. We, my hubby and I did Bears and Wolves when my first went through it.
Since hubby was deployed for much of my little guy's first three year I have been the assistant leader for Wolves and Bears. So I know that my son is safe and behaving himself.
Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts is a great organization. If they go all the way through and get their Eagle Scout award they an actually get scholarships to colleges and higher rankings when they enlist in the military.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I didn't get a chance to read the other responses. Molestation can happen anywhere - you just need to be vigilant and educate your children. That being said, my son is 8 and he is in boy scouts. He has never been to any event without one or both parents or grandparents with him. Many of the kids are from divorced families and the moms go to all the meetings and camp outs. So, if you're interested in letting your son check it out, he may enjoy it but remember that you still have control over what's going on - you can be there, you can pick which events your son attends....

Hope this helps! Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

Be aware, but you can't live your life afraid...the majority of people are good...that's what you have to hold onto...don't let this "irrational" fear stand in the way of what could be an amazing leadership and learning experience for your son.

Good luck...oh and talk to your son about it too...we tell our boys all the time..."NO ONE touches you on your privates!"




answers from Los Angeles on

I love tv. It exposes us to everything we didn't know we should be afraid of. Yes, there are bad people out there who do bad things to other people. But, hiding in your house does not allow your children to grow up and experience the good things in the world.
Boy Scouts is a FAMILY thing. My son's pack encourages parents to be involved in everything from meetings to campouts to field trips. Boy Scouts provides opportunities for your son to try things that you may not think of on your own, or may not be able to organize on your own. They are an open organization who welcomes family members, male or female. Meet the leaders, talk to the Scout Council Members to find out who will be leading the packs.
The Boy Scouts also do some screening on their leaders and applicants. The best way to protect your son is to be involved in his life. Teach him to be aware of dangers, but allow him to be exposed to life outside his home. The scouts are a great way for him to do fun things and meet new people. Don't let Oprah scare you away from a good opportunity for your son.



answers from Wichita on

I wouldnt let my son join the scouts unless I could be there with him, and not because I'm afraid he would be molested, but because the scouts are very intolerent, especially of gays, and I want to know what they're telling him. The same with girl scouts, except theirs is that in the past they've allowed Planned Parenthood to come in and give sex talks, and I dont want anyone telling my daughter she can get an abortion or birth control without my knowledge.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Don't BSA require the leaders to have clearances? I'm curious if anyone know this.



answers from Colorado Springs on

We keep a close eye on our kids. We don't drop them off at parties. We don't do sleep overs. It just isn't worth it to us. And, no, we haven't done scouting.

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