Often new leaders worry about control or discipline in their troop. You can think about behavior management in two ways:
Prevention: Heading off the possibility of problem behavior before it happens.
Intervention: Taking action when inappropriate before behaviors occur. Usually directed at the girl who is misbehaving.
In Girl Scouts, we encourage using techniques that will help prevent behavior problems. Techniques for prevention include:
- Using the meeting wheel so your meeting has structure.
- Using the kaper chart and the Do-It, Did It Cans to keep girls involved in the details of the meeting.
- Using the girl processes: girl-led, learning by doing and cooperative learning.
- Use the Girl Scout Quiet Sign
- Relating to girls in a respectful manner.
- Having activities like games ready when the girls seem like they have a lot of energy or you get done with an activity early.
- Developing a “Team Agreement” so girls have a say in the rules of her troop. (See your Brownie Journey Book for details on Team Agreements!) “Team Agreements” outline how team members cooperate together. Brainstorm with your Brownies about what is important to create a strong team.
- Using positive reinforcement activities when necessary.
Sometimes you have a group of girls that need some external motivation to control their behavior. When that is the case, you should try some positive reinforcement techniques. You may find that initially you will need to use these techniques every week but as the year goes on girls will mature and begin to discipline themselves. Here are two ideas, you may have more!
How it Works: Light a candle during the opening ceremony. If the troop is well behaved the candle will burn for the entire meeting and is blown out during the closing. If the troop is disruptive, the leader blows out the candle. The goal is to have the candle burn down – then the troop receives a special treat or surprise. Start with a candle that will burn quickly then increase the amount of time it will take for the candle to completely burn.
Complete a Word – How It Works:
If the troop has had good behavior the entire troop meeting, you will put up a letter (use a poster board, cut out letters, etc.) Our example will be “P”. The next meeting behavior is good again – put up the second letter – in our example it would be “I”. If the troop is disruptive, no letter goes up. The goal is spell out the special treat the troop will get for good behavior. Using our example the troop would get a pizza treat!
Tips for Leaders
Be honest with the girls. You have some expectations that are not negotiable - health and safety standards.
Work towards creating a positive team atmosphere in the meeting.
Girls can learn to discipline themselves if:
- They feel secure, trusted and valued
- They understand the rules, help make the rules, know the rules and know why the rules exist.
- They are involved in planning their activities.
If you believe a girl is at risk of hurting herself or others, your role is to get her the expert assistance she needs:
- Contact staff members at your local Girl Scout Office and find out how to refer girls and their parents/guardians to experts at school or in the community
- Share your concern with the girl’s family, if this is feasible.
- More information is available in your “Volunteer Essentials Resource Guide”
Please watch the video below to learn more about Brownie Behavior