It’s important to be positive but realistic. Even with everything put in place, it is likely that at some point, you will have a challenging section meeting. Some tips are provided below, for when things aren’t going to plan.
If low level behaviour is occurring in the section as a whole, here are some useful techniques:
Do something else for a few minutes then go back to what you were saying later.
Sit them down and try to time a minute in silence. When they think a minute is over, they stand up.
Clapping game. When they're noisy all the leaders clap then slap their own thighs which is repeated. Gradually the young people join in and they become quiet.
Do a short burst of physical activity such as running around the room, begin a game of ‘Simon says’, get them to jump in the air as high as they can and then crouch down low for example.
These tips can support you in responding effectively to more serious incidents:
remain or appear calm.
speak firmly but quietly, and give the young person their personal space.
focus on de-escalating the situation and maintaining a safe environment.
don’t take it personally and don’t be quick to make assumptions.
remember, challenging behaviour always has a cause; it can be beneficial to consider what a young person may be communicating through their behaviour.
following incidents, reflect, review and plan ahead.
Once the incident is over, discuss what happened, the actions taken and any lessons to learn for the future.
support young people to manage their own behaviour and make positive choices.
be aware of any warning signs and seek to respond before a situation escalates.
don’t try to fix everything at once; prioritise and focus on the one issue at a time.
use the principles of promoting positive behaviour.
seeking a different perspective and sharing experiences can be beneficial.
support is available; seek help when you need it. If in doubt, always speak to your line manager and ask for help.
Reflection and review should focus on answering the following questions:
What may have been the cause or trigger?
How did the leadership team respond? Was it appropriate? Was it effective?
Were there any warning signs?
How can we avoid the situation occurring again?
How should the leadership team respond next time? Is further adult supervision needed in section?
What can the young person do differently next time? How can we support and empower the young person to do this?
Are principles and strategies for promoting positive behaviour the section?
What if behaviour continues?
Seek support from your Group Scout Leader (GSL) or line manager in Scouting.
For continued challenging behaviour, it is important to work in partnership with the parents/carers. All should be clear of the next steps - working out a process that contains defined boundaries and times scales is important so that everyone is aware of the process and how it is going to happen. If after this period has concluded, there is still an issue, then bringing in support from the Group Scout Leader is important. Once you have reached this stage, your GSL in consultation with the District Commissioner, will advise you of the process which is also contained in Policy, Organisation & Rule. scouts.org.uk/por
Remember that any behaviour that represents a serious threat to the welfare of others should be reported through the Child Protection procedures (Yellow Card).