No way I'm taking them hiking!

12:54 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
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How to break it to someone you like that you'll never, ever take their kids hiking?  Like, ever.

I have five kids of my own so I'm no rookie but the kids in question are loud, dangerously disobedient, lazy and prefer video games to water falls.

Ugh. 

1:25 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
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OK.  But Pope Frances just removed you from the beatification list. 

1:56 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
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I'm sorry, they want you to take their kids hiking *without them*?

How would "I have enough kids on my hands as it is, but you're more than welcome to come too" be received?

7:52 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
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Get them to come on TS and when they read this post. You will not have to say a thing. Lol!!!

I have the same problem however my buddy had a stroke, is wheelchair bound and I can’t say no. Had a ton of problems with him last time his older brother and I took him. Come to think of it, it’s been every time with this kid. So I’m  looking to see what your solution turns out to be.

9:33 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
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If you cannot level with them and tell the truth they are not really your friends. 

"If we are going to be friends, there is no room for bullshit."  Rudy

6:49 a.m. on July 12, 2018 (EDT)
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ppine said:

If you cannot level with them and tell the truth they are not really your friends. 

"If we are going to be friends, there is no room for bullshit."  Rudy

 All Jeff was asking is how do you politely refuse a request that he see no reasonable way he can comply with. If he was backed into a corner, I’m sure he would make it clear.  However you don’t always have to beat people down to get a point of contention across. A little tack leaves open the door for the future in the event the situation changes. 

Everthing doesn‘t require a confrontation. Nor for bridges to be burned as some are in the habit of.

8:06 a.m. on July 12, 2018 (EDT)
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I’d focus on and explain the dangerous disobedience and loudness. Or just say you don’t want to take other people‘s kids hiking. Unless you have and he knows it. 

10:31 a.m. on July 12, 2018 (EDT)
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I completely disagree with John.  Especially in the outdoors, you have to be able to depend on people.  You have to be on the same page. The word you were searching for is tact. I have less of it than some people, but I also have friendships that have lasted over 60 years.  Being in the outdoors overnight for an extended period of time exposes people for who they really are. 

1:20 p.m. on July 12, 2018 (EDT)
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Jeff, I hear you loud and clear. 

On the other hand I remember a group of about eight kids I took on a backpacking trip 45 years ago in Yosemite.  6 of them were from well-to-do or middle class families who had paid their way.  The other four were on scholarships--from tough neighborhoods, and without the social skills that had been ingrained in the first four. 

Within the first mile or so, all differences began to disappear when they started sweating up a steep hill...and by the end of the first day, everyone was pretty much one team.  They were tired, but proud of what they had accomplished. 

Until, on the afternoon of the second day, I offered them a chance to off-trail to climb a 12,500 foot mountain.  I gave them a simple choice:  stay here in the snowfield and have a snowball fight, or climb the mountain with me.

Only one of the first six kids went with me.  He was a serious hiker with his family, too.  All four of the scholarship kids came with me.  When I asked the meanest, toughest one of all about it, he explained:  "I didn't hike all the way up here to not climb the f***ing mountain."

I still grin when I think of that kid.  I hope he turned out OK...

5:02 p.m. on July 12, 2018 (EDT)
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There are several ways to approach this. You may use the below suggestions to assert the choice already made, or to weigh the alternatives.

Jeff, do you have a rapport with these kids?  If not the answer is no.  I don't take stranger adults on hikes, why even consider doing so with youth? I don't hike with people who I have yet to determine if I can respect them - or they respect me.  That must be established before traipsing off into the yonder.

If you do have a rapport, do they respect you?  If not and the parent isn't coming along, then state that is a the reason; otherwise it is too much responsibility to take on and no control.  If they do respect you, it is a matter of asserting your authority.  Get these kids to live up to your expectations instead making their own rules.  But this may take a couple of trips - consider it an investment, an act of stewardship.

If the parent is coming along, the question beckons: have the kids been camping before?  If no, then suggest the parent takes them on their first few trips before subjecting others to this experiment. 

If the parent isn't coming along this becomes more of an issue about this being a family trip (your family) versus a youth trip for your kids and their friends (your bud's spawn).  If your kids are pals with these other kids, it is a more delicate matter.  Do they want the other children tagging along?  Now we are contrasting a parent's prerogative against their children's desires.  Careful when you tread over that ground, if you force the binary option of choosing to camp with dad or friends, this may come back to bite you when they are old enough to camp without your presence.

Ed

10:16 a.m. on July 13, 2018 (EDT)
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Here is my rough hieracrchy of friendship in ascending order:

1. People I see at parties. 

2. People I would go out to dinner with. 

3. People I would go on an overnight hotel trip with. 

4. People I would car or RV camp with. 

5. People I would backpack or run rivers with. 

6. People I would go on an extended backcountry trip with. 

Once in a while I make a mistake, and do a trip with someone who is at level 3, and take them on a river trip.  Sometimes people are exposed and their egos are laid bare, especially if they are not adept at things like running boats down rivers. It can be hard on a friendship.  There is no way I would even consider taking someone else's kids on an outdoor trip with knowing them well, taking some day hikes first and being able to sit down and have an honest conversation with them.

I have been leading outdoor trips for 50 years.  Other people like to go, but want someone else to come up the schedule and a location.  I carefully consider personalities, abilites and attitudes before inviting people on river trips.  Some trips are like a dream. Most are really good.  Once in awhile I guess wrong. 

3:33 p.m. on July 14, 2018 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

How to break it to someone you like that you'll never, ever take their kids hiking?  Like, ever.

I have five kids of my own so I'm no rookie but the kids in question are loud, dangerously disobedient, lazy and prefer video games to water falls.

Ugh. 

 LOL..............

The fact that these kids are "loud, dangerously disobedient, lazy and prefer video games to water falls."  explains it all to me.

Being one of those people that has little to no tact, I would thank 'these parents/guardians' for asking me to be a babysitter and suggest that they send their kids a Outward Bound summer camp since they themselves don't want to step up and take care off, teach, spend time with there own kids out in the wild.

4:21 p.m. on July 14, 2018 (EDT)
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“they send their kids a Outward Bound summer camp since they themselves don't want to step up and take care off, teach, spend time with there own kids out in the wild.”

Hahaha I’ve missed this. Post more often Ape!

5:03 p.m. on July 14, 2018 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

“they send their kids a Outward Bound summer camp since they themselves don't want to step up and take care off, teach, spend time with there own kids out in the wild.”

Hahaha I’ve missed this. Post more often Ape!

 Thanks Jake.

With my lack of tact I must pick my words carefully, and even more so, pick my battles even so much more carefully.  But when someone tries to lay their parenting responsibilities  upon me in such an manner that they are dumping their unruly kids in my lap..........well that is where I draw one of the many lines in life that must be drawn.  Why did the parents just not, as a family lesson in hiking/camping..................so that all involved could have a family learning experience just ask for informative assistance in what should be a parental teaching/learning experience? But as I've never been married, and or, had children of my own..............who am I to tell others how to do it?

I did change a diaper once, only once....................................and mark my words.............that will never happen again. :)>

3:41 p.m. on July 15, 2018 (EDT)
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I teach emotionally troubled kids to ride horses one morning a week.  We just finished a month long class of especially unruly and disrespectful kids.  They were agressive with short attention spans. We made a few adjustments to the program and got them horseback in the second class.  A remarkable thing happens under these circumstances.  The kids calm down first.  Then they become more positive in their outlook. They start to thank the horses and the instructors.  Then we get hugs of appreciation.  I miss all of them. 

6:59 a.m. on July 16, 2018 (EDT)
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You must have the touch, Ppine.

Ed

8:16 p.m. on July 16, 2018 (EDT)
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Horses and mules can teach kids things that we have trouble with. 

I also believe that getting kids into the wilds can help them a lot also.

Backcountry is tricky because some percentage of them will be physically and/or mentally weak and want to go home. I would want to screen them carefully and try to wash out the weaker kids on  some day trips first. 

4:25 a.m. on July 19, 2018 (EDT)
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Be nice and just say lets go but this time adults only.

1:06 a.m. on August 1, 2018 (EDT)
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I'll take anyone backpacking...I have been surprised more times than I can count by shifting attitudes outdoors (though I do sometimes hedge my bet with a short loop trail). For paddling or climbing trips I am more selective.

11:13 a.m. on August 1, 2018 (EDT)
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i spent a couple of summers guiding teenagers (14-15) on hiking, canoeing and cycling trips in and around the Adirondacks. Skill and fitness levels varied. They were by and large kids from reasonably well-off backgrounds from the US and Canada. They were also self-selecting in that three week-long trips were clearly on the menu.

I also hike with my kids' friends from time to time, but their parents are very often with us, so i'm not directly responsible for their kid's welfare.

1. There are always tactful ways to say no.  they may not ring totally true, but they are sometimes better than the blunt/honest refusal.

2. I think it's fair to say 'maybe' to the parent(s) and lay out basic ground rules, whatever they are. no video games, phones stay with mom/dad, kids have to listen to me for safety reasons, whatever your tolerance level is, then see how the parent(s) respond.

3. the trips need to grab the kids' interest, because a good, hard hike can have a very profound impact on even the most jaded kids.  locally, kids love one of the shenandoah day hikes because it has a great extended series of rock scrambles and narrow slots - natural jungle gym. when i was guiding, we periodically chose some of the secondary high peaks in the Adirondacks, rather than the tallest or most popular ones. one was fun because it has sufficiently steep scrambles that it has cables bolted into the rock, like a mini half-dome. another has a great off-trail route to the top via a trap dike and bushwhack. Much pissing and moaning from kids about having to hike in long pants until they realized how badly their legs would have been shredded in the scrub. kids who feel like they accomplished something great are altogether better behaved - tired, no bitching about trail food, and so on.  

3:57 p.m. on August 1, 2018 (EDT)
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Yep.  A feeling of accomplishment is huge at any age.  For teenagers, even more so.

6:00 p.m. on August 1, 2018 (EDT)
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thanks Andrew. 

3:36 a.m. on August 2, 2018 (EDT)
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I have raised six children, I have been a Girl Scout leader for Troops 740 & 905 in Santa Clara county -hey my first four childern are daughters plus, two sons.  I have been a coach for my children to play track & field, softball, Little League and, soccer (for two sons, one daughter and, a grand daughter)! I am no child expert, I know that if parents raise their children to obey and behave themselves, the children will act like good citizens.
Get to know your friends and their children before commiting to taking your friend's children into the backcountry. That their parents have to inform their children of the dangers that exist in the outdoors and when they make bad judgements the child could get hurt. I have takened my children, their friends hiking, cross country skiing, backpacking and, none have misbehaved. 
Before you talk about taking some else's children for a outdoor activity such as hiking, backpacking, etc. evaluate how the child behaves with their parents, how well they act when any adult tells them to do something.

My idea of a great trip;
https://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/my-glen-aulin-backpacking-trip.html

9:03 p.m. on August 17, 2018 (EDT)
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Before I get out of my truck to work with kids and horses I just think of two things.  Don't judge them and reward the slightest try.  Positive reinforcement is the way. Sometimes you just have to ignore their comments and bad attitude to win them over. 

I used to coach kids basketball from 7th grade up to 12th.  My first group were middle school kids that called me "Geezer."  Running laps helped shape them up some. 

One day our center did not show up so I filled in for him and played against a bunch of 7th and 8th grade kids.  I was about 56 years old at the time. After that they wanted to know if I ever got drafted. Respect in horses and kids is hard to win and easy to lose. 

September 26, 2018
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