Anyone can have a bad day. Leaders play an important role in helping girls feel safe to be themselves and to bounce back from conflict or other behavioral misalignment in a troop setting. Here are some ways you can help a girl overcome a not-so-great attitude.
Step 1 - Correct the behavior
- Praise in public, correct in private (never in a room by yourself). This prevents the girl from being embarrassed when you point out her mistakes in front of all the girls.
- Talk with her not at her. Share what troop agreement or expectation was not being followed.
- Document the date, behavior issue, and correction for your own records.
Step 2 - Take a break
- Ask the girl to step aside and take a break away from the group - make sure she is still in a safe space with sight of both troop volunteers.
- Share what troop agreement or expectation was not being followed. This may be done before or after the break, but make sure she understands the reason for the discipline.
- Briefly inform the parent/guardian what happened.
- Document the date, behavior issue, correction, and length of the break for your own records.
- You may repeat this step as needed - as long as it continues to be effective and the girl is learning/growing.
Step 3 - Have a meeting with the girl's parent/guardian
- If the behavior does not improve, set up a time to meet privately with the parent/guardian(s).
- Remind the family of the Girl Code of Conduct and the troop agreement. Explain that all girls in the troop worked together to create the troop agreement.
- Describe all incidents that have occurred in sequence.
- Keep the conversation open, calm, honest, and respectful.
- Discuss how you will work together to ensure their girl has a positive experience in Girl Scouts:
- Ask for help from the family - is a parent/guardian or other trusted adult able to attend meetings with their girl until the behavior improves?
- Ask how the family may help their girl recognize the expectations in the Girl Code of Conduct and the troop agreement.
- Assure the family you look forward to working with their girl.
- Assure the family you will keep in touch with them about their girl's behavior.
- Document the meeting date, talking points, the family's response to the discussion, and next steps for your records.
Step 4 – Contact your network for support. This includes your Service Unit’s Volunteer Support Coach, MSE, or the GSACPC Customer Care Team at (602-452-7030 / firstname.lastname@example.org).