Unpredictable sometimes difficult Scout behavior is part of adolescence so it is a part of Scouting. Scouting responds with a program who’s intrinsic design is a response to this and the other vagaries of being a Scout-aged boy.
Boys naturally form groups within groups and institute traditions and practices like initiations, pecking orders and all other forms of regimentation. They are more likely to create their own version of ‘The Lord of the Flies’ than the ‘Hardy Boys’. Scouting responds to this instinct with the Patrol System, a uniform and a youth leadership structure.
The leadership has to be vested with real responsibility for this to work. No special oversight of patrols by an Assistant Scoutmaster, no adult doing anything that a Scout can do for himself. Real leadership, real responsibility.
When Scouts are responsible for themselves they behave well. When they are simply an audience for adult leaders their behavior deteriorates. Scouts are continuously striving for autonomy in every area of their life and when it is withheld they soon grow bored and frustrated. This dissatisfaction ends up being expressed in a myriad of negative ways.
I wouldn’t say that every single behavior problem in a Troop can be traced back to a problem with the Troop’s program but a good many actually can. I would hazard the claim that a Troop based on a good solid Patrol system has very few behavior problems.
For what it is worth – Troops run by adults have some very thick Troop Policy Manuals with extensive entries describing procedures for handling disciplinary problems.