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Merit Badge Counseling for your own child

Can a parent serve as a merit badge counselor for their own child? What if the merit badge was counseled in private (not part of a merit badge class)? I realize that this may raise eyebrows but is it a violation of BSA Policy?

Is there relevant literature? The GTA is pretty silent other than no one on one contact with scouts which I assume would not be applicable with your own natural born/adopted child.

I need BSA literature, not opinion, please.

The Guide to Advancement is the controlling policy for Merit Badge Counselors. There is no prohibition on parents being a Merit Badge Counselor for their own child in the Guide to Advancement or any other BSA document.

While it is desirable for Scouts to work with a MBC who is not the Scout’s parent, there is no policy that prohibits it.


As long as the parent is a registered and approved merit badge counselor for the merit badge in question, the Scout has the option to choose to work with his or her parent. The relevant section is The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader.


That was my thought. I don’t have to like the scout working with their parent but don’t see that I can prohibit it (just discourage it).

Thank you. That section then links to
GTA 2019 Counselor Approvals and Limitations Paragraph 3

" Approved counselors may work with and pass any member, including their own child , ward, or relative. Nevertheless, we often teach young people the importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with counselors beyond their families and beyond even their own units are doing that. They will benefit from the perspectives of many “teachers” and will learn more as a result. They should be encouraged to reach out. [emphasis added]."

I think that was the information I so desperately needed.


If the parent is a merit badge counselor than it really shouldn’t raise eyebrows. And while they should be reaching out, we should also not fail to recognize the value in a parent/child relationship in working through a merit badge. As an SM I might be concerned about constant using parent for counselor. But I wouldn’t think twice about one or two that they did.

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I think there is a big difference in being a sole MBC for your own kids. E.g. if I did Chess 100% with my own child and signed off on the blue card, it could raise eyebrows. I’d rather do the work with my child and have another MBC sign off after examination, or better yet why not just open the time that you are working with your child to others in the same troop? Otherwise it invites questions, and why do that when it’s just as easy to have someone cross check. Also, opening it up to other kids helps out the entire unit.

Thanks. I am only interested in bsa regulation, not opinion.

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Or… we could stand against the throws of calling everything into question and/or casting sideways glances. To be sure, most things are better when you have more than one learner. And chess really begs to have additional people. Though in my troop, you might only have one our two scouts who don’t have the badge. Then you could have the scout work with those others even if the scout is the only one “taking the class.”

A Scout is Trustworthy

In theory, yes. In practice, not always. @kevinwindisch you are right you wanted facts not opinions, however while there are BSA articles that get published it is also factual that not all units follow them per the guideline.

Since you cannot add additional requirements for merit badges then all units have no choice but to follow the GTA. This is not optional.

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