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2 Bumps

A Little Preschool Problem

My daughter went back to pre-K this week after Spring Break. She's always been well-behaved at school; her two teachers have said many positive things about her. But two out of the three days, she's come home this week telling me she got her clip moved to yellow. There's a system where if you're behaving well and following directions, your clip is on green. If you're pushing your luck, your clip is moved to yellow. If you've blown it, your clip is moved to red. She almost seems proud of herself, like getting her clip moved is a novelty or something. She knows exactly why the clip was moved, both times for talking during carpet time when everyone is supposed to be quiet and listen.

The first time I just talked to her about what I expect from her at school. That she needs to follow directions, be nice to other kids, be quiet when she's supposed to, etc. She agreed. But then she came back with the same issue, and when I asked her about it, she said some of her friends get their clips on yellow every day. So I'm wondering if it's peer pressure, but I'm kind of puzzled.

Anyway, I wouldn't let her ride her bike at the park this afternoon, which is her favorite thing to do right now. At first she was really upset, so I told her tomorrow she could make a different choice at school and get her bike back. Then she started saying she didn't care about her bike or the park anyway and she likes it when her clip is on yellow and the teachers aren't happy with her. That's pretty much a first, since she's usually kind of a pleaser who doesn't want anybody to be disappointed with her I asked her questions about school, trying to figure out if anything dfferent had been going on, but she didn't have much to say. No new kids, no bullying. The only change is that one of the aides recently had a baby, so there's a different aide in the afternoon now, but my daughter says she's nice.

So what am I missing here? Is this just regular five-year-old testing, or is there something I should be catching that I'm not?


Asked by Ballad at 7:45 PM on Apr. 4, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • she wants to be like eveyone else, and I think she was "testing' you on the part, I don't care about riding my bike etc. Tell her that being different, and being good will get her more places than she could ever imagine! I would tell her if she gets 3 goods in a row, you will do something very nice, she is motivated by pleasure, not by punishment. I do think as long as she continues you need to with-hold the bike riding, you are a good momma!

    Answer by jerseydiva at 8:14 PM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • I'd say this is an instance of countercontrol, a reaction to your application of force. She is, effectively, responding to your efforts to leverage her by making sure she doesn't have a "handle" for you to grip, in order to manage her. It's her way of regaining freedom when faced with your efforts to control her.
    Countercontrol is built into reinforcement theory. The effectiveness of using reinforcements (either negative OR positive) to influence behavior is entirely contingent on the controllee's desire to avoid or gain the reinforcement. If she doesn't want stickers, or doesn't care if she can't ride her bike, those reinforcers are useless.

    I would just consider it feedback. A smart girl effectively communicating "I don't appreciate this approach. I'm not a thing to be maneuvered & managed. This feels bad."
    I think people get unhappy when they feel controlled by someone they love, who loves them. Children are no exception.

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:54 PM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • So you took away exercise for an issue they are handling at school??
    Let the teachers deal with the school behavior unless they ask you to intervene... she is being punished twice for a minor offence.


    Answer by Crafty26 at 10:32 PM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • Yellow is only a warning (at least that is how it is treated at DD's school). I would not punish her at home for just a "warning."

    Last year when DD was in Kindergarten her classmate always got red. I talked to his mom one day and she said that his favorite color is red, so he isn't happy unless he gets put on red. Some kids are good, but just have their reasons...hopefully the teachers are smart enough to realize it.

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 7:10 AM on Apr. 5, 2013

  • Sounds like she is doing the same thing her friends are doing. She want to be the same as them.

    Answer by louise2 at 7:49 PM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • She wants to be cool. What happens when she gets to red? I bet she won't!

    Answer by staciandababy at 9:21 PM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • Well it sounds to me that she really misses the other aid and feel like she left for good, but any type of change is hard on a kid and she just might feel if she acks out that maybe the other aid might come back, I have seen this in one of the three kids I have and I found letting him take one of his favoret toys it helps him have a good day and is more sacure in being their when something has changed..

    Answer by Traber at 8:20 PM on Apr. 5, 2013