Daughter dealing with unwanted attention - advice please

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DuckHairback
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20 May 2024, 10:39 am

Hive mind, I need your advice once again.

My daughter (10 years) just got back from a weekend away with her scout group which was a big deal for her being the first time she's been away without her parents and had to deal with all her sensory issues and dietry issues on her own.

She was pretty upset when she got back and didn't want to talk to us about it, just said she didn't want to do scouts any more and didn't want to go to school so it was obvious something was up. She did go to school today but was clearly anxious about it and when I picked her up she told me what was up.

There's this boy in her class who also was on the scout camp. She's known him for years and they've been friends in the past, they've played at each others houses and stuff. But he's always been a bit volatile and she's complained that he's hurt her at school before and we've spoken to the staff there to keep an eye on it.

Anyway at the scout camp it seems like his behaviour became more of a problem, constantly following her around not leaving her alone when she asked him to. I don't think he had any other friends there which made it worse. She's not great at asserting herself, or asking for help from the adults in charge, but she says she did ask him to leave her alone and did tell the scout leaders someone was following her but nothing happened. I wasn't there so I don't know how that went down, but I do know she's often reluctant to get people in trouble so I suspect she downplayed it and they didn't take it seriously enough.

It basically ruined her camp and has made her very anxious at having to be around him.

I think what's going on is that this kid likes her and doesn't know what to do with his feelings so he ends up pestering her and sometimes hurting her out of frustration. He needs to learn to respect her boundaries and leave her alone when she tells him to, and certainly keep his hands off her.

Now as an angry father I have ideas about how he could learn this lesson. :evil:

But I need to deal with this in a reasonable way. We've spoken to the school before and it's not very effective, the teachers aren't there at break times which is when it's a problem and the lunch ladies can't keep an eye on all the kids all the time.

It seems the best way for this to happen is for me to speak directly to this boys parents and tell them what my daughter is telling me. Imo it's their responsibility to teach their kid how to behave when a girl doesn't want his attention.

I'm pretty anxious about my ability to do this without losing my rag atm, I get very angry just thinking about it, and obviously I avoid talking to other parents at the school as a matter of course, but this has to be done.

And I've misjudged these things in the past, I feel like if it was my kid I'd want to know what he was doing but also, what parent wants to hear their kid is hurting/causing anxiety to others? I hate not knowing how people are going to react. People get funny where their children are concerned.

So what do you think - am I doing the right thing here? Is there an alternative approach I haven't considered? Anyone got any experience?


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IsabellaLinton
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20 May 2024, 10:58 am

He hurts her physically? 8O

Has the school notified his parents of this? You'd hope they already know?

I might ask the school what steps they've already taken to address the situation with his family. Maybe if the school officials are decent they could arrange some sort of meeting with you and the other parents to design an "action plan" or something constructive-sounding like that which won't involve firearms or vice grips on your part.

(Note: Hide those well for now.)

That way it can be written up as an agreement with the school about how they will respond in future as well. It will be documented.

Failing that, send your daughter to my house. You're free to join her.

No bullies allowed.


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DuckHairback
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20 May 2024, 11:11 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
He hurts her physically? 8O

Has the school notified his parents of this? You'd hope they already know?



From what I can glean, it's all stuff that could feasibly fall under 'rough play'. She's not coming home bruised or anything. We've talked to the school about it and they say they'll keep an eye on it but I think it's ramped up over the weekend.

My daughter has always played with the boys more than the girls and they have, up until recently, thought of her as one of the boys. She has short hair and wears the boys uniform, trousers and shorts a lot of the time. She can play pretty rough herself.

But they're getting older and starting to feel the feelings, I think. I get the impression he just likes her in a way that she doesn't return and he's acting out because he doesn't know what to do. I can remember behaving in a similar way when I was that age.

Because it's a problem both at school and at scouts, I just feel that I should go straight to the parents with it and if they won't deal with it then I'll kick up more of a fuss at school and scouts.


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babybird
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20 May 2024, 11:15 am

Oh I'm getting the gist of this now

I'll try and read it properly later and let you know what I think

I'm just a bit pushed for time right now


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Fenn
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20 May 2024, 12:24 pm

This is the “if it was me” type of answer.

For physical rough stuff: all three of my kids are Black Belts in Taekwondo. I have two boys and a girl. The girl is the “middlest”. I like marshal arts over other contact sports because it teaches discipline and courtesy as well as power. I want my kids to be powerful but to have discipline. This gave my daughter physical confidence to not only stand up for herself on the playground but also stick up for her friends.

In Scouts, I’m going to guess BSA here. This is one reason I wasn’t pleased with the “girls in Boy Scouts” change. The young boy should be assigned a “buddy” by the adult leader. If she is in Cubs the adult Leader is the choice. In the big kids program (was called “Boy Scouts” now called “Scouts BSA”) they should be teaching the youth leadership and using the Patrol Method. The first go to should be the youth Patrol Leader. If that doesn’t work the youth should go with the Patrol Leader to the the Senior Patrol Leader. If that doesn’t solve it the three of them should go to the adult Scout Master or adult Assistant Scout Master.

In “Scouts BSA” the girls and boys should be in different Troops. That is BSA policy. Does everyone follow this policy? No. But they should. You can complain to Council or National of they do not.

Assigning the girl (your daughter) another girl as a buddy, and the boy another boy (if I was the Leader I would pick a boy a year or two older who I trusted) as a buddy.

There is a document called “The Guide To Safe Scouting” that should cover all safety rules. You should be able to find a copy online or buy one at the ScoutShop

As a parent in BSA you should have taken the Youth Protection Training. If you are new to Scouting you may not have learned that yet, but that is the rule. If you are really thinking abuse or bullying you should report it as such as soon as possible. The Training should tell you how. The Guide to Safe Scouting should cover it as well.

If it is just kids being kids there are other options.

In my younger son’s Troop there were two high needs scouts who were on the spectrum. The Troop had safety concerns so the asked one parent to attend all camping and summer-camp activities. To do this the adult Parent had to join as an Assistant Scout Master.
(Only Trained ASMs in camp for Youth Protection).

If any of this is not clear just ask. I have gotten one son to Eagle and was Den Leader for both my sons. If it is not BSA just let me know and you can ignore much of this post. I have been an ASM in two big troops and have taken most of the training.

I thinks youth who’s parents are involved get more out of the program and the Adult learns a lot too, good Father-son time for me and my boys (my daughter didn’t want to join and had other activities she enjoyed).


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DuckHairback
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20 May 2024, 12:35 pm

^Thanks Fenn, that's really good information and I didn't know a lot of it. Yes it's Cubs so it's the leader, but as I say, she's really not great at standing up for herself, she'll defer to a stronger character every time and she's terrified of melting down in public so she doesn't trust herself to get angry with other kids. She also doesn't like to draw attention to herself by telling the responsible adults when there's a problem - this whole camp scenario could probably have been avoided if she'd just taken the problem to the group leaders on the first day. I'm sure they would have dealt with it.

I would get involved with the scouts stuff, I never did it myself, but as an only child in a house that's fairly isolated she spends a lot of time with me as it is and its one chance she gets to be out in the world on her own.

I'd love for her to do a martial art, I'd love to do it with her, actually. Trouble is we can only really afford for her to do a couple of after school activities and she does a drama school and scouting already, there's no more money. But yeah, if I can figure out a way to get her into a class like that I'd love to.


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Fenn
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20 May 2024, 1:38 pm

I found this:

It might help you.

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestor ... 14_WEB.pdf

My older son is diagnosed Autism and ADHD. When I was his den leader, I think all the boys in my den were ADHD. This was before the whole Program went co-ed. back then girls were only in Venture Scouting and only above a certain age (15 or 16). For a boy with ADHD an all boy Scouting program can be a great place to be. Like wild Indians and wolf puppies all rolled in one. I had one boy with ADHD who was always getting in trouble at school, and getting into fights.
First week I gave him a talk: “the number one goal for Johnny was to be in control of Johnny”. Any time he got out of line I would ask him “what is your number one goal” he’d say “to be in control of Johnny” then “were you in control of Johnny just now?” “No”. He was a great Scout. His problem was that he wanted to be powerful and had impulse control issues. Other people had tried to go head to head with him and take his power away. I encouraged his power and discipline together.

BSA can be great for kids on the Spectrum who can also benefit from the clear rules and spelled out expectations. That is how it was for my oldest. I was involved a lot when he was younger and that helped to make a safe environment for him. Besides no-one else volunteered.

I also used the 12 Points of Scout Law and Oath to guide Scouts.
If the Scouts “Promise” I remind them to do what they promised.

The hard part for kids on the spectrum can be the sensory overload. There was a boy who attended a few meetings with my youngest son’s Den. The Pack meetings were loud and chatotic and I think he was overwhelmed. It was hard at Den meetings because he would either withdraw and not participate or monolog.

My two sons are both ADHD and the oldest is diagnosed Autism. The younger has some Autism Traits (but not as much as his brother and no diagnosis). My youngest finally dropped out of scouts last year because he had other activities he wanted to spend time on. He didn’t like marching (Scouts BSA) and loud chaotic Troop meetings.

As an adult with ADHD and Autism I sometimes found talking notes at meetings, planing and some social skills (with other adults) challenging, but liked the structured camping and outdoor activities. I was good at “scout skills” like fire starting and knots.
I needed to work with other adults for some of the planning and organization.

Cubs should still (I think) be separate Dens for boys and girls, but Summer Camp can get a bit chaotic. The first thing I thought of for your daughter was the buddy system, but it can be hard if you are not there and she has trouble self advocating. Can you try “scripting” for better self advocacy? Do some role playing? Write her an actual script and work on memorizing it?

Talking to the Pack leader, and, as you suggested, the other youth’s parents is an option. Den leaders are often over whelmed. They are volunteers and are outnumbered by youth. Another adult as Assistant Den leader can help. A Den Leader can also ask for a Den Chief (an older Boy from Boy Scouts or Youth from Scouts BSA) who can help with the little ones, and the younger Cubs REALLY look up to a kid that is older by a few years. I had two Den Chiefs in two different Dens I lead. Both of them were a huge help. It can take some work to find one.

A Den Leader can also assign a Denner who is a Cub who leads. (Like a “Line Leader” or “Officer of the Class”) How much a Denner really can help or lead depends on the age and the youth.


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Fenn
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20 May 2024, 7:07 pm

Also:

Guide to Safe Scouting

GSS Recent Changes


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IsabellaLinton
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20 May 2024, 7:32 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
Anyone got any experience?


Have I told you about the time my son's friend pissed all over his brand new, open Macbook?

He was drunk and thought it was a glow-in-the-dark toilet.

That was fun to deal with.

He couldn't afford to buy my son a new one so I had to text his father to pay.

It was around $2800 and my son needed it asap for uni.


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DuckHairback
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21 May 2024, 6:29 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
He was drunk and thought it was a glow-in-the-dark toilet.


Easy mistake to make 8O

I don't feel like I've ever been so drunk that I didn't know what was and wasn't a toilet. I don't know how much you'd have to drink to be that addled. I've drunk as much as I can physically drink and never lost sight of reality. I've never blacked out or lost time on alcohol. I used to think people were just making that up to avoid taking responsibility for something bad they did. But I suppose it just takes people different ways.


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babybird
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22 May 2024, 3:05 pm

Aw mate I'm sorry to hear this. I've not read it all yet because I can't concentrate lately

I get where your anger is coming from though. I used to have to be restrained when my daughter was young if anyone upset her but you're right you have to find another way that will help her because this is about her and not you getting angry but you already know that anyway but I thought I'd just say it anyway

That's about where I read to so I'll read some more one time...

I hope it all gets sorted for her before I read the reast of your post

I think it's difficult if you're a girl who is one of the boys and then the boys start getting older and stuff gets really complicated


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29 May 2024, 2:31 pm

How's it going DHB

This scenario sounds so familiar to me

I just hope that this doesn't ruin her school experience too much


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DuckHairback
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30 May 2024, 6:55 am

Thanks bb.

The situation is under control i think, words have been had, everyone knows what's going on.

I think my daughter is just playing with a different group now and the boy is keeping his distance so that's all good. But she's lost a friend (for now, at least), which is sad.

My partner says the same thing about school and how she remembers when the boys stopped being friends and started getting weird around the girls.

Its a shame but i suppose its just growing up.


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Fenn
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30 May 2024, 7:55 am

As a parent of a special needs child there is something I learned. There are basically only two types of interventions: change the environment or change the kid. Everything falls under those two categories. Sometimes it is one, sometimes the other. Often it is a bit of both.


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30 May 2024, 3:35 pm

Yeah it is sad that she's lost a friend but from what you've said about her she seems pretty switched on to people and resilient and she's got good parents who will help her through it as well


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