Preschool Peer Pressure

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2003
Preschool Peer Pressure
Wed, 02-27-2013 - 3:30pm

My 5 year old DS is in preschool and has never had any major behavioral issues until the past 2-3 weeks. He has a little friend that talks him into doing things that are against the rules seemingly for his sole entertainment. I have witnessed several instances of the teacher telling DS to do something, this other kid telling him to do the opposite and DS making the wrong decision.  DS's table manners are fine at home, but the other kid tells him to throw his spaghetti in the air or spit food out and he does it.  DS couldn't care less about sports, but is all of a sudden playing "hockey" with the play broom in the "housekeeping center" and hitting other kids in the classroom because the other boy who is on a local youth hockey team is teaching him this stuff.  They are not allowed to bring toys to school unless it is for show-and-tell Fridays, but I've been reduced to patting DS down before leaving for school mornings to make sure he's not trying to smuggle an Angry Bird figure in the class to impress this other kid.

I tell DS that he should try to stay away from the other kid, but it doesn't work. I tell him that he should ignore the other kid when he tells him to do things he knows are against the classroom rules, but it doesn't work.  I've punished him for the bad behavior by taking away his favorite toys and privleges and it hasn't worked.  Does anyone have any advice?  I'm at my wit's end and want to help him get on the right track before going to Kindergarten in the fall.



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 12:01pm

Have you tried rewarding him for good behavior?  I seem to always fall back on this. Probably because my kiddos don't seem to be phased by punishment, but will walk on water for a reward. Ha!  Landon has been in trouble at pre-k the last few weeks too... same kind of stuff... doing things he shouldn't because someone else is or doing it for a laugh, etc.  We talked to him until we were blue in the face and it didn't phase him.  Yesterday as I was dropping him off, I tolg him he could get a milkshake (his fav) if I got a good report from his teacher.  Worked like a charm!  May be something to try? 

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 02-28-2013 - 2:46pm
Can you ask for him to be moved to another classroom at pre-k? If they have assigned seats, asking the teacher to put them at opposite areas of the classroom at least for classroom stuff. Or ask the teacher about using a positive reinforcement system that may help. But otherwise, I don't know if there is a whole you can do. My middle one has the same habit, she very much wants peer approval and it definitely concerns me. The neighbor and her get into a lot of trouble together, so we only let them play at home with our supervision, and when they are in afterschool care together (the neighbor is a grade higher than my daughter), the afterschool teacher knows they get into trouble together so she keeps them separated during activities. But otherwise, I would continue to have dialogues with him about the right nad wrong choices, and that sometimes, he'll just have to deal with the consequences of making bad decisions. You can also try and try and role play with him, give him tools to know how to handle the peer pressure. Put him in a situation and ask him how he would respond, and then give him possible other ways to respond that won't get him in trouble.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Thu, 02-28-2013 - 6:56am

My oldest is 9 and I have not always been a fan of who he chums around with and as older wiser mom's have pointed out I can't really pick his friends. I can point out what makes good friends and bad but ultimately he has to learn to make these decisions on his own. Same with behavior. When he was younger I would wait in school yard and I would constantly correct him because I was so affaird he would get yelled at by VP or school yard monitor and then one morning I had had enough. I told him every morning NOT to do something and well everyone else was so I let VP handle it. Sure enough he told him SAME thing I had been and I laughed maybe he will listen to you and he reminded me it just takes time. They are young still learning limits and testing rules and they need to hear it from people other then MOM. There are consequences for good behavior and bad and they need to learn both and then they will be able to make those decisions on their own.

Its hard as parents not to want to protect their kids, my issue with older DS friends is I don't think they are all seeing the friendship the same. DS gets picked on and my thing is that is NOT how a friend should act but there was this one boy last year and i was banging my head against a wall trying to get through THAT IS NOT GOOD FRIEND behavoir and it wasn't just DS this kid had issues with and eventually DS learned and now he is happy the kid moved schools. I used to be worried if DS got in trouble it would reflect badly on me but teachers get kids are testing limits and sometimes they have to get that negative reinforcement from someone other then mom to learn from it. Otherwise it just sounds like nagging mom again.