Can a parent be a merit badge counselor for their own son?


If so, does the Scout still need a buddy or can they work on it alone together?


5 Answers


Yes, a parent may counsel a merit badge for their son so long as they are a registered merit badge counselor. Can they work on it alone together? Yes, they can.


In our troop, we recommend that if a scout is going to work on a merit badge with his parent, that he work on the merit badge at the same time as a group of other scouts work on it with his parent. Essentially we are requiring the scout to have a buddy work on the merit badge at the same time as he does. This helps remove the risk that a parent does not make his son go through all of the steps to get the merit badge, as if the parent is going to work with the buddy, This does a couple of things for the situation - it helps us avoid claims that a parent is not requiring his son to do the same things he would require every other scout to do, and it also encourages scouts to get to know other scouts and gives those scouts a chance to get a merit badge they might not otherwise get..



Yes, a parent/guardian can serve as merit badge counselor for their own son or ward. It is not preferred, as part of the purpose of the merit badge program is to get the scouts used to calling unknown adults, and working with different people.
If it's an unusual badge, so the parent is the only availble counselor, I recommend they gather a group of scouts to work on it with their son, providing more opportunity for them to share the wealth, so to speak. If it's a common merit badge, I suggest the scout choose a different counselor, as I'm sure their parent will be harder on them than a stranger would be, just to avoid the appearance of favoritism. :-) That said, if the scout wants to work with their parent, and the parent has been approved by the district/council for that merit badge, they are absolutely allowed to. All you can do is explain the issues, and help them make the decision.

See also the quiz and answers at, and especially question #2.


Yes and yes.. that simple. In our Council, the Advancement guideline is that NO Counselor may work with an indiviual Scout on more than 5 merit badges. I know that is a different topic, but it does take mom and dad out of the Merit badge mill situation.


This question has generated a ton of personal opinions and unit practices along with a fair number of scouting myths not all of which were necessarily consistent with Advancement Policies.

Thankfully the 2011 version of "Guide To Advancement" goes to great lengths to address this question and many of the other questions related to merit badge work that have seemed to trouble and perplex scouts, parents, and leaders for a long time.

Now if we can only somehow figure out a way to get a copy to all parties concerned AND get them to read it....

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