The Defiant Little Girl

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defiantgirlOk. It’s not always fun at school. All teachers and children know that. This particular day, the birthday girl I’ve mentioned in my post before, was being defiant, not only to me but to all other teachers. We kind of blamed it on sugar. Mom packed her candy for her lunch snack. This isn’t good news for any teachers.

She didn’t sleep during nap time. So I went to her and talked to her. I told her to try take a nap and not disturb her friend. She didn’t listen and just wouldn’t. Then I told her that I’m gonna tell her mommy not to pack the same snack for her the next time if she’s not going to listen. (She told me before, that she loved what her mom packed for her today and she was going to tell her mom when she got home). Still, she didn’t listen. After a few warnings, she kinda applied ‘reversed psychology’ on me. Finally, she said, “Go tell my mommy then. I don’t care. I don’t like sweet stuff anyway. I like spicy.” I was appalled she responded that way. I told another teacher what happened and she too, tried talking to her about it.

That didn’t work too. She was running everywhere when everyone was supposed to be sitting in a circle. And she was chattier than usual during mid-afternoon snack. She was disturbing other friends during art and craft too. I continued to observe.

On that day, I’ve actually prepared a little pre-Christmas surprise for them. I made little Santa sleighs using candy canes and chocolates for each of them. But before giving it to them, I did a little activity with them. It went like this:

1) I asked them if they wish to own Santa’s sleigh

2) Santa might grant them that wish if they could draw some reindeers to pull the sleigh

3) Once they were done, I asked them to close their eyes and wish really really hard that Santa would grant that wish

4) With their eyes closed, I placed the santa sleighs behind all of their chairs…except for one

When they opened their eyes, I asked them to look behind their chairs and they were elated…except for one.

Yep. The ‘birthday girl’. She turned around and looked for hers. Her friends noticed that too, and asked me why she didn’t have one. I asked the others if they knew why. One very smart girl said, “She didn’t draw reindeers. SHe didn’t follow instructions.” (I did mention that to the birthday girl while she was drawing. I kept asking her where were her reindeers but she ignored me. Instead she told me what she drew – princess, girl, trees…etc…and no reindeers. I told her if she wanted to have Santa’s sleigh…she gotta start drawing some reindeers. Still she ignored me.)

After that activity, it was free play. The ‘birthday girl’ didn’t want to join her friends. I asked why. She said, “I’m feeling upset. I didn’t get my sleigh.”

“Do you know why?” I asked.

“I didn’t draw the reindeers.”

“Yep. You didn’t follow instructions. And you know Santa only gives presents to those who are nice right?”

She nodded.

“Have you been nice today?”

She didn’t answer. So I asked more straight forward questions.

“Did you nap during nap time?”


“Did you listen to your teachers?”

She shook her head.

“How are you feeling now?”


“Well, that’s exactly how I felt when you didn’t listen to me today. Is this a good feeling?”


About 20 mins later, her dad came to pick her up. And she said this to me, “I’m going to tell daddy I didn’t get my sleigh.”

I kinda expected she’d say that. So I was prepared and said, “Oh. You don’t need to do that. I’ll do that myself.” And I did. I told Daddy what happened the entire day. As I did that, she hunched and cast her eyes down as she walked in circles next to Daddy.

THen I called her and told her that I’ve told Daddy what happened and that Santa was aware of it too. “You must promise to behave before I give you the sleigh.”

She promised and I gave her the sleigh.

The next day, she was at her best behavior. I know children forget really fast so I need to be consistent with my rules with them.


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