Should I force my son to stay in Cub Scouts?

Kids often complain about little things...should I force my son to stay in Cub Scouts, which will be a great experience for him, even if he doesn't really want to?

40  Answers

2 15

If kids knew what was good for them, they wouldn't need us except to feed, clothe and house them; and you know that is not the case.

The experiences that we allow our children are the things they carry with them forever. I wish my parents had "forced" me to continue playing the violin; taking piano lessons; stay on the track team and some other extracurricular activities I thought I was too old and too cool or just didn't feel like doing anymore. As an adult, I regret the things I let pass me by.

On another note, my nephew came to stay with me in Florida during his freshman year in high school. I made him join the Boy Scouts for the first time. In the beginning, he hated it, but I "forced" him to go to the meetings; camping trips, events, etc.

He is now 30 years old. He tells me that he remembers how much fun he had doing those things, he just didn't want to tell me he was enjoying himself. He STILL remembers the camping trips and the male camraderie 15 years later.

17
38 3

No way! Why people force their kids to do "extra" non-essential things they hate really eludes me. Sure, as a parent it makes sense to talk to your kids about the importance of following through with responsibilities like school, chores, and hygiene, but thats enough! Parents seem to forget these kids are going from 6am when they get up for school, to 3pm when they get off and then usually they have homework and chores. Kids need time to PLAY. If kids want to try Cub Scouts or Sports or Learn an Instrument, there should be a "trial period" of sorts. In our household that trial period is 1 month. If we spend the money on uniforms or instruments they must try it out for an entire month before they quit. Cost-wise I find renting temporarily to be wise. Kids are little growing people with minds of their own and not mindless creatures who have no idea what they want. If you grow-up and regret that mommy and daddy did not push you harder your not done growing up yet. Your an adult, go do it now there is nothing stopping you, let kids be kids! Exercise and play is acceptable and healthy!

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1 9

I think you should make him finish it this year. If at the end of the year he doesn't like it then found something else that interest him too do. If my daughter stay that she wanted to play soccer but once in soccer she realized that she didn't like it. My motto is once I paid my money she was going to have to finish what she started.

16
9 3

that's the same for me! My nine yr old just today told me she wants to quit ice skating she just started her second session yesterday. I asked her why? She wouldn't give me a reason! I then told her well you have to finish up this session and then you won't sign up again and you can go back to karate or try something else saturday mornings!

0 14

I have two grown sons and one 9 year old son. The rule in our house has always been you are free to try anything that interests you, but once you join either a team or activity you must see it through to the end of the season or year. If you don not enjoy it then next year you have the choice to either skip that activity or join in. Kids may not knows what is best for them, but we can learn alot about our children by how they respond to different situations. I always use this as a teaching moment. I am sympathetic to them not enjoying something but i also let them know it is not all about them. For exapmle that team only gets 12 players if you quite midway you are affecting 11 other people. Is it fair for you to hurt those 11 other boys? Let's be honest as adults once we make a committment we cannot leave others stranded. This is a life lesson use it!

13
12 11

It really depends his personality. Do remember though that a child allowed to quit at things will make a habit of that in his/her life. With the information given I can't give you a concrete answer.
My son started cub scouts last year (as a Tiger) and loves it. But there are a lot of factors there...
In our pack boys are required to have an adult (guardian/family member) present with them at ever meeting for all ages of Cubs, not just Tigers, creating more parent involvement than in some groups where boys are just dropped off.
Secondly we did our best to make sure he could attend almost every activity. Our pack is fairly active and good about making sure the boys got their monthly outing and arranged camping trips and other activities.

On the other side of the coin my nephew who is a year older and lives a few hours away had a rotten experience as a cub scout. They pretty much sat the boys down every meeting and lectured them every week, not doing many projects. Also parents were expected to drop off older children and not stay with them. We brought him on a family float trip that our pack did and was surprised to find out that our scout group was fun.

... I guess I tell my story to point out that your pack may just not be suited to your son's needs. Have him attend a little longer with his current pack, and if he still isn't having fun look for another pack in the area.
Boys at the cub scout age are mostly about having fun. They need to be able to move about and explore their world. BSA training also says that they need to be able to have some say in their activities, den law (rules) and other going-ons. BSA also promotes parent involvement. If your son believes that you feel scouts are worth your time and effort, he will feel the same too. Be active, be supportive, be involved.

11
26 22

You may want to ask him what he doesn't like about it. It could be that he doesn't have much friends in the pack, or that the pack is not doing much, or that the pack is doing too much. Maybe check out other packs to see if he is interested, or Troops if he is older. Being a big scouting mom myself, I know that once my kids do not want to continue that will be the end. I will not force them. it's a great experience, but if he is not having fun, then why waste the money or the time.
Good luck. try finding out why he doesn't like then see if you are able to join another pack that will bring in more fun for him to be interested.

5
7 6

My son joined cub scouts as a tiger cub in first grade. For me, it was a saving grace since his dad died while he was in kindergarten & I knew it would give him good male role models. He actually began attending summer functions in the months leading up to first grade. He always fussed about going, but I also could not get him to leave at the end of the meeting when the boys were running around playing. He was eventually honest & told me he liked the smll den meetings but the large pack meetings were boring. Since they were only once a month, I told him it was all or nothing. I also told him he had to finish one full year before he could stop going. By the time he finished his tiger year he already had his eyes set on Eagle! Now, as a Weblo I he loves going & can't wait to go back.

5
115 28

as the spouse of a cub scout leader i would say if he/she is really that agenst going see if talking to them you can get him too comit to finishing the year, ( i strongly beleve a child should finish out what was paid for as it is not fair to the rest of the youthor parents pocket) then he can choose not go back. but forcing a child to do something they really dont want to do will only cause fights and frustration for you. my husbands pack has had a few children who are forced to go and one of 2 things happens...1 the child has not shown up for weeks then out of the blue comes for 1 or 2 then stops again which makes it very hard on the leaders to plan anything, or 2 the child is disruptive and the pack as a group does not have fun or get anything done. if you can get older kids who have been there or are there to tel him how much fun they have he may be willing to give it a fair shake and finish out one year and realize he loves it.

5
5 27

Jacqueline below is ABSOLUTELY right.....kids don't know what's good or right - otherwise they'd be paying the bills. If my parents would have forced me to stay in a few things, I'd be a member of a prestigious alumni club - that I could give back and volunteer and help kids just like I was but can't now that I never graduated. I don't know how to play and instrument, and I played 3 when I was in school, but thought because I was too cool, or too bored, or had other interests i could quit - and they let me.

One of the most disappointing things I've EVER read, was an old letter from my violin teacher - It said that that I was extremely talented, (and at the time elementary school actually HAD music lessons) and that I needed private lessons. I never did. I didn't realize I had talent according to her. My parents should have.

Sometimes you need to force your kids to do things they don't want to - because YOU are the grown up! =)

4
9 3

i wish i did more in school and other activities. My daughter is a girls scout. swim lessons, ice skating, just started karate, gymnastic when we can sign her up and she's big for age so we encourage her to be active and exercise. She takes after her father in build and is very strong! I quit trumpet. Wanted to do flute but they said the instrument wasn't a good fit for me oddly enough my daughter wanted the same thing! She has violin lessons and everytime I tell her to practice she wants to quit and we came to an agreement before I bought her the new blue violin she wanted that she'd stick with it. She hates summer school but in order to do the fun stuff she goes to the 3hrs a day for 3-4wks in June to keep her up to where she needs to be! The structure is reassuring! Now she wants to do a bowling league which now won't start until summer so it gives her time to change her mind we are going to start going to the after school bowling special once a wk to see how she likes it before we sign up for the league! She does/tries way more then I did at her age. She loves her jazz dance class lessons once a wk and cant wait for her first recital. I know I did one yr of dance in kindergarten and I think I liked it. Why didn't my mom keep me in probable cost and time. I know the cost is worth it for their childhood experience!

3 2

We have a one season rule at our house if you want to try something new you have to stick it out for a whole season or a year so you can get a feel for what its all about I don't want my kids to be quitters just b/c something is hard but they shouldn't have to do it if they don't like it but after the money has been paid out we stick to it for a season!

3
0 1

My son was in scouts from Tigers through Webelos I and I was his den leader. Our pack is active and the same core group of his friends have been in the same den from the beginning. He has a positive attitude while he's there and enjoys the activities. However, while in Bears (year 3) he began saying he didn't want to continue. I asked him to stick it out, but the same thought continued for another year. He was so close to getting his Arrow of Light that I couldn't imagine him quitting after all that work. Then it dawned on me that I could make him stick it out when he'd been expressing for a year and half that he was no longer interested. He would get his Arrow of Light and it would mean something to me, but not to him. We sat down, I explained how close he is to completion, the benefits, etc. etc and he said he got it, but still wanted to stop. We stopped. He respected my wishes to complete a full year and I respected his wish to change activities. We're both fine.

2
21 0

Ask him why he doesnt like Cubs then see if you can make some suitable changes. Maybe there is one factor outstanding that can be addressed. Maybe you can watch one night and see for yourself. I was a girl guide, my brother a cub scout and to this day I credit those lessons to much of my preparedness and stealth when challenged, in nature and in life.

1
0 1

my son noah has been in cub scouts for almost four year and he love it and lean things about scouts and good friends

1
0 32

No you should not. I am deeply involved in the Scouting program. I am also a district trainer for my council, sit on the roundtable committee and work leader specific camps and trainings. If a boy is not happy or not getting anything out of the program he shouldn't be forced to stay in it, he will more than likely end up resenting the program. Both my sons joined as a Wolf and Bear and love it, I couldn't be happier. I have one that just crossed into Boy Scouts and my youngest is a second year Webelos, getting ready to cross.

1
0 20

My son aged 10 is in Cubs and even though he enjoys going, he doesn't love it . At this point in his life he's not in a position to know what's best for him and I do believe that what he's receiving from Cubs will benefit him in the long run. Luckily for us, it does not coincide with weekly schedules and happens on a Saturday morning so the timing is perfect.

1
8 14

I agree with many of the moms here. Once you start something and I have paid for it, you are going to see it through. My oldest daughter who is 9 has a hard time making friends as she is extremely shy. She wanted to do cheerleading when she was 7. After 2 practices she wanted to quit cause she said that nobody liked her but I was watching her and kids were reaching out to her she just wasn't being very accepting. I explained to her that she is on a team and everyone has to pull their own weight I encouraged to make friends and to be loud and proud when she did her cheers. It wasn't until the very last game that she was comfortable with everyone and pulled her weight. She loves it now. I think you should find out why your son doesn't like Cub Scouts. I believe that if a child doesn't see something through and at least give it a chance they won't know if they truly like it or not.

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12 0

absolutely, it gives them some really important life skills that they won't even realise they are learning till they use those skills as an adult. I'm in the same position and I think it is really important as they need the positive role models to learn from

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5 21

. Sometimes kids need us, the parents, to make the right choices. Sometimes we make choices depending on what we see as their strengths and wanting to develop them, sometimes the decisions we make are based on recognising weaknesses that need to be address. This is just what we have to do as parents and not always 'give in' to the kids....if we did that I'm sure far more kids would never go to school and get an education.
If you put him in Scouts for a good reason and his not wanting to go is simply due to lack of motivation or tiredness or because it's 'hard', then stick with it...he needs to learn that you can't quit just cause you feel like it or can't be bothered. If he wants to quit because of bullying or because he's genuinely scared etc. that's a whole separate thing and needs to be addressed.
We have a two year rule in our house...the kids can have three activities a week and they have to commit to them for two years before trying something else. 4 for mine have stuck at scouts, only 3 have stayed with piano and all are in Little Athletics. Hope that helps.

1
1

No. Let him pick an activity that he likes. My son tried cub scouts, but left for sports and other activities. Just tell him that he has to pick an activity and give him options. I was happy as it appeared that cub scouts seemed to enforce to the least to get something done. Regardless of how little effort the children put into something they still got their badge or belt loop. I found the children in Cub Scouts would usually nerds, who did not make good grades (think Ralph or Millhouse on the Simpson’s). Also, there were many ADD students who parents thought would pick up discipline. I know it may not be good, but we do live in a society where people are judged by the company they keep.

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4 12

my son is working on his Eagle rank he wanted to quit a few times we said no i noticed when my husband went on the outtings with him he loved going when dh had surgery and coud no longer go thats whn my son wanted to quit and did not want to go on outtings any more. my son has 970 back packing miles 900 earned before he was 16 he is 17 now and did not want to go on any more again I said no he only needs 35 to beet the troop record of 1000 (his goal). I know as an adult later on in life he will regret not finishing his Eagle rank or getting the 1000 mile patch we even told him he could stop going when he gets Eagle and 1000 miles but he is not in a hurry to get it. after this weekend he will only need 25 miles and for Eagle 3 merit badges and his project. The parents who stay in Scouting have parents that re involved in scouting

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7 0

No, don't make him do something he doesn't want to. Let him find something he's really interested in instead.

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401 0

Don't make him do it if he doesn't like it. I hated girl scouts and my mom let me quit. I still remember hating it and I'm so glad she didn't force me to go.
I had plenty of good experiences without the scouts.

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11 6

Im involved with scouts as a leader and in my experience a child that is forced to stay when they are not enjoying it, start to resent it and either cause trouble or is very hard to get engaged with activities - no fun for the leaders either. Is he experiencing problems with boys in his section? Talk to the leader and find out if there is anything going on and if they can help rekindle his enthusiasm. I agree with one commentor - is the pack he is in actually doing the things he likes? they can be so different and some leaders have poor understanding of a 'mixed' program. Cub scousts need physical activity and more intellectual challenges in a good mix - and some leaders need to remmeber its meant to be FUN and its not school. It would be a shame to stop but equally not so good if he is really not liking it. For frequent quitters we usually pick a date just after a key activity eg a visit or a camp, and then agree with him to stay til then and then make their mind. 2 out of 3 usually stay.

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4 8

I am all about compromise. Both sides of this argument have very valid points, so this year, with my daughter starting kindergarten, I would like her to take an acting class and she wants to try ballet.

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157 22

Without a car, we find it hard to get to after school clubs and groups. One we could get to was a local dance class. At first my son (5) loved it but then he started complaining. Even the instructor noticed he wasn't paying attention as the others did. I stuck it out, encouraging him to go and now he loves it. He does really well and was one of the most enthusiastic children on stage for their annual dance show. I think there's a point where you can say it's just not working, but don't give up at the first sign of trouble. Often, through talking with your child and talking with the instructors, you can work through the issues. The child will come out better with perseverence.

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53 28

In my home we are not a family of "joiners" We are a non-traditional family that pretty much dances to the beat of our own drum. I have a 21 yr old brother who earned his Eagle scout at 16 and i always wanted my son's to join the Scouts I thought they would enjoy it and so my oldest joined and he did it for about 6 months. Although he enjoyed the activities they did and getting to do stuff with his uncle he hated the unruly free for all of the troop that he was to attend. So needless to say he did not want to attend the meeting of this troop and we have not found another troop that is within our area. So I agree with the mother, if your child is not interested do not force them to do something. Kids nowadays are sceduled to the point that they have to punch a time clock to take a #2. Take your own kids out and camp and fish with them that is what we do.

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0 0

I think that depends really. Has he been there for long? Firstly, you say it will be a great experience even if he doesn't want to do it. If he really doesn't want to do it, it will not be a great experience for him. However, if he's always changing his mind about things or if he's just decided for no apparent reason that he doesn't want to do it then gentle encouragement to keep on trying won't hurt. My kids tried things before they found something they really enjoyed. I didn't force them to continue (except when I'd pay for a whole course of ice-skating lessons then I told my son he had to finish the ones I had paid for).
I would suggest you find out why your son is complaining about it. Whether it is something he has only just started or something he's done for a long time, just tell him to keep it up for a couple more times (perhaps set a time limit in about a month or so) and, if he still isn't enjoying it, don't force him to go. Perhaps look around for other things he might enjoy and give him the option of continuing Scouts or choosing something else. While it is a good thing to encourage children to do extra-curricular things, it may have a negative effect to try to force it on them if they're not enjoying it.

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0 0

Some people have said - and it is true - that, as adults, we have no choice but to do things we do not enjoy. That is fair enough but a hobby is not a necessity for a child or an adult. Yes, there are things we have to do which we don't enjoy but if we have a choice, we're not forced to continue a hobby which we don't enjoy so why should that not be the case for kids, particularly if the activity wasn't the child's choice. I don't think we should allow kids to quit something after 5 minutes of doing it (especially if it was their choice) but we should not force them to continue a hobby which they don't enjoy if they have genuinely given it a go.

0 12

My rule is "you have to do something,what ever that may be" You can't quit in the middle of something, you have to finish that year/season. And only one thing so we are not running around and eating in the car...

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0 1

WOW! I am going through the exact same thing. My son joined Cubs last season and at the end of the season he told me he wanted to be an ordinary kid (lol) and doesn't want to go back, my guess is he just wants to stay home and play video games and watch TV. Cubs is fun, it's not like school and doing homework. They play with other kids and games and I think it's better then staying home and do nothing.

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1 20

What is his reasoning for wanting to drop out? Maybe he is just bored, in that case. It isnt worth keeping him in it if he really isnt enjoying it. I am my sons scout leader and there is someone who doesnt enjoy it and his parents make him come anyway. He makes it difficult to teach the class and to have him participate! I think if has a good reason to drop it, then let him. I would make him finish out the year, as it is a great lesson to learn that if you start something you should finish. But your probably not on right now anyway. What year is he in? In tigers you dont do much, as it goes on, he will enjoy it more!

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8 3

We are too quick to give up these days, in our disposable society. Im a Nursery nurse, worked with young children for many years. Sometimes kids want to give up at the first hurdle, it could be shyness, lack of confidence, frustration, embarrasment, or they genuinely dont like the activity. I believe as parents/carers, or scout leaders, it is our job to engage and encourage them to persevere. A few important lessons to learn is that we can´t win every race, sometimes we will fail, and that doesn´t make you a failier, it just means you try again, and that sometimes, just taking part is fun. Try and find out if there is a particular problem, he doesn´t get along with the leader, or other cubs, or maybe he´s too tired after school- If after all the above he is still adamant he doesn´t want to go, then maybe it is time to move onto something else. Remember you want your child to feel you have listened to, and heard what he thinks and feels, and that he can come to you when he has a problem, this will stand you in good stead for later years. How many adults look back and say "I wish my parents didn`t let me give up dancing, piano, judo, etc"

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11 20

I guess it depends on your child. Is he simply telling you he's not enjoying himself and then having a ball when he's there? I'm a guide leader and I have had parents who let their kids quit because apparently the kid didn't want to come, but the child had heaps of fun and was over the moon about being with us.
Kids are master manipulators, I'd suggest talking to the cub leader and finding out whether your son is actually enjoying cubs but just makes a scene for your benefit. The Cub leader will usually be honest because if a kid is truly not enjoying themselves they bring down the entire experience for everyone else and the leader will be quite content to not have the extra work load.

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3 12

I cannot stress enough the importance of kids completing what they have started. I have two grown sons that were involved in cub scouts and my husband and I helped with the weekly activities and campouts they did. Our boys went further into Boy Scouts and we set a goal that in order to have a drivers license and for us to pay for the insurance they had to be a Eagle Scout by 16 and carry a 3.0 gpa. They both had thier Eagles by 14 and carried the gpa's. It taught them the to be responsible for thier choices and has also taught them how to be good role models for other youth. My husband has helped 8 boys in the last 18 months do thier Eagle packages and our family as a group participated in each project. I believe that scouting both as a cub and as a boy are fantastic ways to teach boys goals, responsibility and honesty. Unless there is nothing being done in the pack or if there is a leader not doing thier job then I say keep him in it because he will thank you later.

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7 73

I often wonder the same thing! My son is eager to join, but then part way through he says he doesn't want to go to Beavers anymore. I encouraged him to finish the year & now he is eager to start again in September. We'll see how it goes?!

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5 21

I am glad you asked this question, I forget that I joined this group for a reason. I'm currently experiencing the same thing but a different activity. I have regrets of my own with activities that i was involved in as a child and I had expectations from my mom as a child that I didn't realize until I became an adult. Being involved is so important as a child and as a parent. if he wasn't involved in Boy Scouts, what else would he do? Is there another organization that he wants to be a part of?
I am making my son stay in this sport that he has played since he was 5 (now 10) he has played a variety of sports and always asks to be involved in this particular sport. he doesn't want to do the work!

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0 6

I am in this same exact situation. I had my son join as a Tiger and he loved it. We went to Wolfe and he decided that he did not like it as much. as he had a bad experience in the summer camp. The boy scout summer camp that he was in for two weeks was very disorganized. I told him that he had to stay in the pack for one more year. I was very involved as one of the pack leaders and was even asked to become a den leader. My son started to get bully by one of the pack leaders children. I mentioned it to them and it was ignored. My pack tended to be disorganized and generally did the same activities every year. The boys did not have much say in what they wanted to do or even the adults for that matter. Needless to say, I have asked my son to look at another pack but he has decided not to do to the whole situation. When you have a son who won't even get out of the car to attend meetings then WHY FORCE YOUR CHILD....He has to do another activity now which he has picked YMCA which interesting enough he loved the YMCA camp over the summer as he felt that they understood him unlike the cub scouts.

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8 12

Absolutely. Cub Scouts is one of those things, like everyone else has said, that can change from year to year. BUT do not say he can quit at the end of the year if you don't intend to let him quit. My parents told me I had to take piano lessons for a year and if I still didn't like it I could quit. I hated it, but they made me stick it out. I actually didn't like piano lessons, playing the piano or practicing until I was an adult and could accompany choirs in college. Now, I'm so grateful to my parents for "forcing" me to commit to it and stay with it from the time I was 9 until my sophomore year in high school. There are experiences our children have that will ultimately make them better, more well-rounded people. The values they learn in cub scouts will stay with them forever.

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5 22

I'd never force my child to stay in anything. I tell them they have to finish out a ball season if we've already started, but not for something continuous. My son was in scouts (he's 7). I know it's a great experience, but he didn't like it. He was bored. So I pulled him when wrestling season started (practice was on same nights as meetings) and we haven't been back. If you force them, they will start to resent you for it. I always think to myself, would I want someone MAKING me stay in something that I wanted out of. ;)

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11 0

I totally agree with finding out why he doesn't want to go. I am a leader myself and both of my boys on occasion have said they didn't want to go, but we cannot get them to leave at the end. After digging deeper, they did not want to do the "boring stuff" that their Den was doing that night. Each Achievement has "fun stuff" (projects, activities) and "boring stuff" (talking, writing), that need to be done. Maybe one of the kids said something to him. If that is the case, talk to his leader. Does he have friends in his Den?? If not, see if you can get him to invite one to join with him. Once you find out what the reason is, try and find a solution. Get help from the Leader and the Cubmaster. Our job is to make sure the boys have fun and learn at the same time. If after everything, he still says no. Try and get him to finish the year. There is such a wide variety of things that Cub Scouts do, something later in the year may spark an interest.

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149 9

No, he should not have to stay in cub scouts. With our sons (ages 10 & 8) we encourage them to try various activities and then if they really don't like it, they can move onto something else. There is only one thing we forced our older son to stay with and that was karate. He needed it for coordination. As he has grown and moved up in the ranks, he's come to love it and it has been a great confidence builder.

We also did force them to be in children's choir in our church. They can sing and need to be able to appreciate that talent. (Being boys, they think singing in church is "girly").

The "great experience" is going to depend upon his leaders by the way. Our older son has been in scouts and will cross over to a Boy Scout this February. He's had a great leader who works hard on many activities and "go see its". Our younger son never wanted to join until the last meeting of the year when he was in second grade. I'm not so sure what his experience will be like because his den only meets once a month and the parents lead the meetings.

We are lucky in our city, our boys have almost too many choices between community, school and church. I guess that is why we allow them the freedom to choose different experiences. By doing this, we found out our older son enjoys golf! Which is great because he is not an athlete but this would give him an opportunity to meet other children and make new friends.

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0 15

If we join something we finish the year, no exceptions. My twins are 9 and they old enough to know what they would like to do. Also we all have things to do we do not like ie work, chores, pay bills etc so do children have to "like" everything they do. After all they do grow up to be adults who will have to do things they may not "like" in the future.

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