Saturday, November 22, 2008

Update on the Cubs thing

Just realised that I haven't updated on Ben going along to Cubs. We managed to go three times in total (half term was between these) but he's now decided to stop going (just after I'd purchased the uniform, naturally). Actually, I feel a little guilty in that perhaps, with a little more perseverance and persuasion from me he may have stuck it out a little more and perhaps grown to get used to it. Who knows.

He wanted me to stay each time, which was fine and actually I quite enjoyed being with the children.

One of the main problems I had, and noticed that Ben had too, was that the assistant leader had, how can I put it, a voice that was a problem to understand. No offence to him, he was a happy, loud and enthusiastic chap but his voice, perhaps the tone, loudness or whatever, made it difficult for me and Ben to understand. I don't think it was just us as I noticed other children asking him to repeat himself. He'd also occasionally bellow when a child misbehaved which made even me jump at times! He was very good at trying to make Ben welcome, but without communicating properly, well, communication can break down!

The main leader wasn't so bad, although she would at times talk down to the children, something I really cannot tolerate.

Ben, I've come to understand, likes to know exactly what's going to happen and hates to be put on the spot. To be told that "now we'll play a game" but without instructions as the other children all seemed to know the game or "pack together" again not explaining to Ben where to stand, what to do, what to say, etc., etc., made him really nervous, especially as it was assumed he'd know what to do after the first session. Once he'd get into the game etc., he'd be OK, but then they'd throw in "right, this game now" and he'd go into panic mode again. OK, so perhaps he'd get used to this and get to know all the games in the short time he'd be at Cubs before starting all over again at Scouts, but it reminded me of when I was a child and having similar feelings of not fitting in, no-one else new, etc., etc., and just wanting to disappear into the walls.

The final time we went he was nearly in tears. The boys were told to line up and were handed papers with two verses of the National Anthem. Now strangely we'd been listening to national anthems just the week before but hadn't really gone over the words to our one (we were more interested in the beautiful Welsh N/A). They all started singing (!) and after a couple of goes the leader announced that if anyone now knew the words they could form a new line opposite those that didn't to watch them try and sing. Now as they continued to sing more and more boys moved to the other line, most still unsure and mumbling but, I'd expect, they were wise to the fact that they weren't going to be different from the rest. Poor Ben, close to tears, didn't move line because he honestly hadn't learnt the second verse. I had been moved to the kitchen at this stage to make drinks, but Ben's scared face was enough for me to decide that was that (unless he asked to continue going of course). By the time I'd finished in the kitchen he was in the line by himself with everyone else watching him - how uncomfortable is that!?

I must admit he did have one good week when the boys used a pyrograph to decorate Halloween keyrings. Ben was really pleased with himself for not only learning this new skill but also learning to drill the keyring hole by himself. The panic attacks and loud exclamations from the leaders when children accidently burnt themselves was quite interesting. I've heard before that if you ask children to be careful because something could hurt them, they will psycholgically hurt themselves!

So, I'm probably softer than I used to be. I'm sure Ben would have got over his nervousness eventually and maybe had enjoyed himself. The other boys there were friendly enough, although loud at times which Ben can find a problem. Just seeing his face and hearing him say after each Monday night, "well that's over, do I still have to go next week" made me think, what's the point of making him suffer. If he really wanted to do this he'd put up with any difficulties and try and enjoy himself.

At the back of my mind I keep thinking he'll never drag himself away from my side, but I know deep down that's not the case. He managed to do a whole morning of tennis by himself with a whole load of other children he'd never met in the summer, and still he asks to have tennis lessons. He seems such a confident little guy when he's with his friends and freely talks to other adults, I just feel he needs to branch out a little but in what direction I'm not yet sure.

I got a refund for the uniform by the way!!



At 10:08 pm, Blogger Hannah said...

I think it's fantastic that he gave cubs a try! I remember going through a similar experience, there was fun stuff to do but naff leaders and at times situations that were so humiliating I wanted to disappear, as you said, into the walls.
I'm sure he will leave your side when he's good and ready and the circs are right :o)
I'm glad to hear you got a refund on the uniform!


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