Author Topic: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.  (Read 16488 times)

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NyaChan

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2013, 12:59:29 PM »
BG: I'm a Daisy GS troop leader (currently first graders). When we have an opening in our troop, we are supposed to take a girl from the wait list (if there is one) before we add other members. There is one first grader from our school in the official wait list, and two other parents we have spoken with directly but officially on "the list". The formal process anything but clearly communicated, and I'm the only leader/volunteer from my troop that was even aware of it. (We also started the middle of the school year so we are all learning the ins and outs of this whole scouting thing.)

BG 2: the girl on the wait list is the "class mean girl". My daughter and others call her a bully, but I think that term may be too strong. I can tell you that for a 7yo, she is a piece of work. Even my daughters teacher said she us "mean" when I had to address some issues this past year. This girlives on our street and i know the mom. i really like her even, but never spoke to her about issues with her daughter (avoidance was easier). End BG.

Our troop has 2 girls leaving us st the end of this school year (next couple weeks). So, in an attempt at inclusion and hopefully some positive role modeling, (and a desire to follow the rules) my co-leader and I are going to invite all three girls that have expressed interest to join our troop. This will put us one over our self-imposed maximum if 12 girls to keep the number manageable.

My question for eHell: is there something I can say to the mom about concerns I have with her daughter when I extend an invitation? We currently have a great group of girls with involved parents, but they are starting to get to that age where we will have to deal with drama. I'd like to minimize any that we, the leaders, actually invite. (Secretly, I'd hate to lose great girls because the rules dictate we can't exclude known trouble makers.)

Wow! This is a lot to write on a phone. Congratulations if you read the whole post.

Do not address the mom. Take this opportunity to lead her. There are tons of Girl Scout resources that address bullying that you can use with your entire troop. This is what Girl Scouts is for--helping little girls grow and learn to become strong young women. It's not supposed to be easy, and part of your growth as a volunteer and a leader comes with meeting challenges and overcoming them--same for the girls. Enter the new year with a positive spirit toward this little girl, you may be surprised at what a supportive, kind community can do for a struggling child.

I guess what I am saying is don't borrow trouble. Have her join and address issues as they arise. But don't implicate her until you have a chance to see her in action and attempt to resolve it on your own.

I very much agree with this.  Don't label and dismiss this 7 year old as a lost cause when she still has the opportunity to change.  You as the troop leader will likely have more leeway than others to do deal with her behavior because while it is an inclusive organization, it is an extra curricular, so voluntary for the girl, there are also rules and you are the one who gets to enforce them.

TootsNYC

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2013, 01:03:31 PM »
I was bullied in school and had relatively few friends. Mom put me in Girl Scouts, and after I got to Juniors (green uniform) and went to 3 meetings, I flat-out refused to go anymore because I didn't like the behavior of the girls. They were mean to the leaders, even.

So Mom made me join 4-H. In retrospect I see that she was desperate to provide me a "safe" place to be involved and to interact with other kids. Somewhere that would be free from the dynamics of school.

So I'm a bit torn. But I also have seen, from being the picked-on kid, how an ADULT'S actions can so competely make a difference in the behavior of the bullies.

(and, in fact, the 4-H group I joined had as a member a couple of girls who were mean to me at school. They behaved differently in the group, which was really an eye-opening lesson to me. *I* learned to view them as three-dimensional people, which helped me a lot with the "being picked on" part.

So I think you need to be prepared to be really proactive. Speak up in the moment with chastisement (but be sure you're seeing clearly and aren't reacting to reports of past actions). If necessary pull her aside and talk to her. You'll have specifics, so you can bring them to her mom.

And you can also, if you're paying attention, figure out how to teach the other girls how to deal with her.

And I'd also make this the year that we really focus on the Girl Scout Law. That's a tremendous tool. And you can use it if it becomes necessary to ask her to leave (not sure what the rules say about that).
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 04:37:33 PM by TootsNYC »

cicero

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2013, 01:11:30 PM »
I very much agree with this.  Don't label and dismiss this 7 year old as a lost cause when she still has the opportunity to change.  You as the troop leader will likely have more leeway than others to do deal with her behavior because while it is an inclusive organization, it is an extra curricular, so voluntary for the girl, there are also rules and you are the one who gets to enforce them.
I agree. This is a seven year old. and while it is possible that she will grow up to be a bully, you don't know. I have seen kids turn around because of a/some positive role models and positive peer pressure.

On another note, I also find it wrong that the teacher said what they said to you.

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Slartibartfast

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2013, 01:12:28 PM »
It's fine and dandy if you want to take on the responsibility of teaching this "mean girl" to behave - but frankly it's not your problem, and you'd be taking on a huge headache with very few tools.  (You don't have the leverage to actually *do* anything about her behavior issues, you wouldn't be seeing her enough to make much of a difference, and it would make your job as troop leader a lot more stressful!)  I see this as one of those places where yeah, you'd be a saint to take her on - but that doesn't mean you have to, or even that it's a good idea.

Can't you just have the other two interested girls sign up (so they're on the waitlist too) and take them?  Having to draw girls from the waitlist doesn't mean you necessarily have to draw them in order.  And if you do try to give the "mean girl" a chance, and it doesn't work out, that would be a significantly bigger drama headache than just not including her in the first place.  I'm assuming you do have some incidents in school you can point to for reasons the mean girl and the other girls already don't get along, so it's really your role as an adult mentor for the girls you already have to keep this one mean girl from ruining the scouting experience for everyone.

(I had a troop a few years ago - and we ended up with one girl who was a particular behavior problem, which compared to the rest of the troop who were all at-risk girls, was pretty impressive.  Girl Scouts didn't magically change her into a nicer or better person.)

snowdragon

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2013, 01:25:16 PM »
you know, it's nice of you to want to include this kid, but what about the experiences of all the other girls? Sure, you can do something, when you catch her. But that's after she's hurt someone - do they have to endure her because she "deserves a chance"?

Your daughter has said this kid is mean, where do you hold meetings? I ask because my troop met in my basement, it would not be right to sacrifice  your daughter's sense of safety in her own home to include someone who is mean to her.

I also would figure out before hand how you are going to handle this kid and the problems that may arise. Are you going to punish her and the kid who eventually stands up to her the same way?  and what message would that send?

I can tell you from experience that having a mean girl in the troop will change the troop dynamic, and that will have to be dealt with, too.  In my troop, the troop disbanded with in a year after the introduction of a mean girl --no one wanted to be around her.

ThistleBird

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2013, 01:29:25 PM »
I'd like to second bonyk and TootsNYC. Emphasize the Girl Scout law from the start (with all the mothers of new girls, to make it not personal) and be really on your game ready to be sharp with anyone who is treating another girl wrongly in the group. That's *if* you feel like you have the energy to deal with this. But it would certainly be better than speaking to the mom ahead of time, unless she was a personal friend who you knew you could say that kind of thing to (which I think you said is not the case.) It makes the average person defensive to hear that their kid has a bad general reputation. Most people can deal better with a case of a specific offense from their kid.

I think others' advice to not take the girl is also an option but you would have to weigh a lot of factors that only you know the details of. Especially 1) just how mean is she, and 2) would you have the option, according to the rules of kicking her out if she crossed a certain line? And is the line reasonable (ie. it doesn't have to escalate to murder before you kick her out)?

LeveeWoman

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2013, 01:34:16 PM »
you know, it's nice of you to want to include this kid, but what about the experiences of all the other girls? Sure, you can do something, when you catch her. But that's after she's hurt someone - do they have to endure her because she "deserves a chance"?

Your daughter has said this kid is mean, where do you hold meetings? I ask because my troop met in my basement, it would not be right to sacrifice  your daughter's sense of safety in her own home to include someone who is mean to her.

I also would figure out before hand how you are going to handle this kid and the problems that may arise. Are you going to punish her and the kid who eventually stands up to her the same way?  and what message would that send?

I can tell you from experience that having a mean girl in the troop will change the troop dynamic, and that will have to be dealt with, too.  In my troop, the troop disbanded with in a year after the introduction of a mean girl --no one wanted to be around her.

And what about those who don't tell on her when she does something to them?

citadelle

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2013, 01:41:59 PM »
A 7 year old should not be rejected from an inclusive group like Girl Scouts. She isn't  a criminal. She is a child who depends on her community to teach her to be the best she can be. She likely faces huge amounts of rejection which, also likely, complicates her problem.

If she acts up in Girl Scouts, deal with the problem. Involve her mother. But don't slam aa door in her face without giving her a chance.

magiccat26

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2013, 02:52:55 PM »
I will say it is almost impossible to eject a girl once she is added to your troop.  A troop leader has almost no power in that regard because GSUSA will not support you if you want to remove a problematic girl (or parent).  The only power we have is when we accept girls into the troop.

I'm a volunteer.  I give my time and energy to my troop and my girls...GS leader training barely scratches the surface of discipline and dealing with behavioral issues of individual girls.  Add in parents in denial or who will aggressively defend their child's actions (and won't discipline their child themselves) and you can potentially have a nightmare on your hands.

In the end it is your decision.  if you decide to take her on, you need to sit down, figure out a plan of action.  Think about all the possible scenarios and strategies for handling them.  Know that you will have girls drop out if the situation is not handled.
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Mikayla

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2013, 05:57:45 PM »
From the OP: (Secretly, I'd hate to lose great girls because the rules dictate we can't exclude known trouble makers.)

I take this to mean you have to accept her if she expresses interest and/or meets any wait list requirements, correct?  I'm pointing this out because, while I agree with those saying it sounds best to exclude her, if that isn't an option, then it doesn't matter what we think.   

I guess the rest depends on what kind of authority you would have if she causes problems. If you think you'll have a lot of latitude there, I wouldn't say anything.  Just let it play out and address it if needed.  If you won't have any latitude, I'd do the same, but in addition to issuing a warning, this is when I'd talk to mom. 

Like you say, you don't want to lose any of the other girls over issues with one child.  That's why I think whatever you say to mom should be direct.

Roe

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2013, 07:15:36 PM »
PP's have great advice!  All I can suggest is...maybe allowing her in on a probationary period?  This way, if she doesn't work out, no hard feelings.

BTW, my youngest son refused to go to Cub Scouts based on one child's behavior. He disrupted the meetings, was rude to the den leader and to other kids.  My DH would leave the meetings completely stressed out as would my son.  After dealing with this for half a year, one day my son refused to go and that was the end of it.  One child can change the dynamics of the group.

AnnaJ

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2013, 09:20:52 PM »
PP's have great advice!  All I can suggest is...maybe allowing her in on a probationary period?  This way, if she doesn't work out, no hard feelings.

BTW, my youngest son refused to go to Cub Scouts based on one child's behavior. He disrupted the meetings, was rude to the den leader and to other kids.  My DH would leave the meetings completely stressed out as would my son.  After dealing with this for half a year, one day my son refused to go and that was the end of it.  One child can change the dynamics of the group.

I think if the troops brings this girl in, it has to be in the same way as they would bring in any new scout - she hasn't done anything negative as part of the troop (obviously, since she's not a member) and assuming that she will is a very negative attitude; honestly, if the girl can't be welcomed as a member of the troop, she shouldn't be allowed in at all.

Nikko-chan

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2013, 09:43:02 PM »
If you can't exclude her after she joins the troop, what then? What if MeanGirl does something physical? Can you exclude her then, or is she protected? Because a mean girl might just cause your group to disband. I was in Girl Scouts for a year. ScoutLeader called mom, asking her if I would be willing to join again this year. I was next to her, and heard the whole conversation. I thought about what I would have to go through, and gave an emphatic no to pass on to ScoutLeader.

You see, ScoutLeader's daughter was in the troop, and as such she got all the best parts for everything we did, and she and her older sister were stuck up, and looked down on us. The troop ended up disbanding because no one wanted to go through that again... and ScoutLeader never realized why, because no one told her!

lemonfloorwax

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2013, 09:50:38 PM »
I'm a GS leader too and I feel your pain. When my girls start (whether they join at the start of the year or part way in) in my troop, I have the girls and their parents sign a pledge. It says basically that they will respect the rules of scouting (listening to the leaders/co-leaders/adults in charge, being a sister to every GS, etc). They are given two warning at a meeting to change their behavior and if it continues, and they get a third warning, they have to sit at a table with one of the adults until their parent comes to pick them up. They will have to miss the next meeting and write a note saying what they did wrong and why it was not part of the Girl Scout Law. I had to put this in place after a very disastrous meeting at the start of this year.
It's hard not to have preconceived ideas about a girl when you have heard things from other parents, teachers, or girls. I say explain the rules and let her have a chance. Maybe she really needs some positive attention in her life. Hang in there!

magiccat26

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Re: Little girl drama and Girl Scouts.
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2013, 10:02:31 PM »
If you can't exclude her after she joins the troop, what then? What if MeanGirl does something physical? Can you exclude her then, or is she protected? Because a mean girl might just cause your group to disband. I was in Girl Scouts for a year. ScoutLeader called mom, asking her if I would be willing to join again this year. I was next to her, and heard the whole conversation. I thought about what I would have to go through, and gave an emphatic no to pass on to ScoutLeader.

You see, ScoutLeader's daughter was in the troop, and as such she got all the best parts for everything we did, and she and her older sister were stuck up, and looked down on us. The troop ended up disbanding because no one wanted to go through that again... and ScoutLeader never realized why, because no one told her!

I had a similar experience.

That is why, as a leader I have explained to my daughter that she will be treated the same as the other girls.  If I need to pick a girl for a task, I have a token for each girl that she can drop into a jar.  I then draw a name from the jar.  A girl's name can only be selected once per meeting.  My girls love this method and it keeps me from even accidentally favoring one child over another.

As I said, my troop has lasted 5 years (and we're starting our 6th year in the fall) because I have worked hard to maintain a positive troop experience for my girls.
“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.” — Catherine Aird