Imagine having eight overactive, screaming boys dropped off at your house for an hour every week — their parents barely bringing the car to a full stop before sending their little bundles of noise your way. You didn’t sign up for this.
Fortunately, one of the great things about the Cub Scouts is that the families that participate tend to be more involved. Honest, I’m not just making this up! In my experience, the parents with kids in scouts — whether it’s Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts — are the same parents you always see at the PTA meetings, soccer games, school functions, birthday parties, and community events.
This is great for you, the Den Leader, because you can rely on these parents to support you and the scouts. You are not a babysitter! Is anyone paying you to watch their son? Nope. You volunteered to do this, and the other parents know it — or should be informed of this if they don’t!
At your very first den meeting, be sure to tell the other parents in your den how this is one of those “it takes a village” kind of deals. Each and every one of you will be involved to make sure this den is a fun, and successful venture for all of the scouts. In the Lion and Tiger years, the parents should stick around for every meeting — and participate! It is your job as the den leader to get these folks involved at this early stage, or things could get more difficult for you later on.
In my personal experience with leading dens for both of my sons, I found that almost all of the dads and moms who attended the meetings ended up enjoying themselves, and almost every parent stayed for the meetings all the way through the Webelos II year. The weekly gatherings were a fun diversion for them where they could connect with their sons in a way that may not have been so easy the rest of the week.
If you ever find yourself with an absent parent, it would greatly benefit you in the long run to try and engage them somehow, even in the smallest of ways. Their son will benefit from their involvement, and so will you.