Understanding Level C


The only part about the Hierarchy of Social Development that confuses me is that if Level C is a level of caution, then how can we label it as acceptable?–even though I can see that in the hierarchy it is implicit that it is positive.

I have a hard time trying to explain to kids that this level is acceptable…. BUT WATCH OUT…. it might not be! This is what I'm not sure how to handle. I know it's best if the hierarchy is simple and easy to understand because then using it is straight forward, but since this Level C has the negative aspect as well as the positive one it seems important to help kids understand.


Use the analogy of a TRAFFIC SIGNAL that is explained in the discipline and learning book.

Red =    NO (Don't go.) (Levels A and B)

Yellow = Proceed BUT WITH CAUTION (Level C)

Green =  GO (Level D)

AND consider who is directing the traffic (giving directions), e.g., a teacher or a parent or someone of the same age (peer).

Explain that if a teacher asks, and the student acknowledges Level C, that's fine and expected in a classroom. This would be the same as when a parent asks at home. But when a fellow student or pal asks you to do something in school or in the neighborhood, you need to ask yourself, "Is this the right or appropriate thing to do?" (because it may be inappropriate and peer pressure overtakes one sense of "right" or "wrong")

Teach the words "appropriate" and "inappropriate" or "not appropriate." Even four-year-olds can pronounce these words and understand what they mean.

Set up situations for both concepts, positive and negative.

Examples prompting appropriate behavior:
"GO"on the yellow signal
Say "Hi" when you see someone you know?
Smiling back when someone smiles at you?
Cooperating when someone needing help or asks you to assist

Examples prompting inappropriate behavior:
"NO" on the yellow signal
Let's make fun of Billy. He won't mind. (common male bullying)
Let's ignore Sue. I saw her talking to Jill, who we don't like. (common female bullying)
Let's eat the cereal with a knife. (Have fun by coming out with some outlandish examples.)

Having young people come up with their own examples will make it easy for them to understand when to use "caution"  before acting.