Front Line Stuff
Edited by Mark Ray
Communicating With Divorced Parents
Several boys in Scouter K.C.'s Cub Scout den have divorced parents. She is looking for effective ways to communicate with adults who may not communicate well with each other.
As a divorced parent and Cubmaster, I can sympathize. In our pack, we use e-mail as our primary form of communication; paper handouts are often misplaced or not delivered to both parents. It’s imperative that both parents feel they are an integral part of their son’s success in Scouting. When parents share an active role, both the boy and the parents benefit..
A monthly den newsletter communicates information to all parents. Include dates, times, locations, and special resources needed for activities. Also include names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of den and pack leaders and den families.
As for handbooks and uniforms being at the wrong house, have the Scout keep his handbook, uniform, a notebook, and a pen in a daypack. He can take this pack to school on the day of the meeting or activity.
The first step is for the den leader to advise the Cubmaster and committee chairperson. These boys need the support of pack adults in order to reduce Scouting-related stress at home.
If handbooks or uniforms are an issue, perhaps each parent could have a handbook, and the boy could store his uniform at the meeting place..
Pack Committee Chairman R.S.
A reward for proper uniforming and books motivates the boys. They will develop the responsibility to communicate to mom or dad the importance of having what they need.
Pack Trainer D.E.
Try to put everything -- dates, places, activities -- in writing. The Scout can be responsible for getting fliers and handouts to the custodial parent, but send the information via e-mail or postal mail to the extended family.
I find that lists help. When my boys were younger, I prepared lists of things they needed to pack for activities while at their dad’s house. As they grew older, they made their own lists. We wrote the lists out the evening before they left so they would have time to pack.
My ex-wife has custody of our son, but I am in charge of his Scouting activities. When items need to be completed between meetings, I photocopy the relevant pages and send them along. We also make sure both households’ e-mail and postal addresses are on file so that both parents get the same information. This even helps us plan “switch” weekends so that I can have my son for events like Lad and Me camp-outs.
Assistant Scoutmaster R.M.
Divorced parents sharing custody -- like working parents juggling various children’s activities (and just plain busy parents) -- need multiple forms of communication.
Create a handout of what was accomplished at the weekly meeting, along with suggested activities for home and a list of what is needed the next week. Copy it on yellow paper so it stands out from homework papers. If parents expect to see this handout weekly, you’ll have their attention.
Den Leader B.K.
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