What are predominant practices in your home with respect to reinforcing behaviors and for modifying behaviors?
- Spanking – as to what I remember most, I was spanked often. My father even affirmed my memories by saying that I was spanked more often than my older siblings because he said that I am more strong-willed and he wanted to channel that strength into something more helpful. Although there are professional claims asserting that spanking has risks for children (Smith, 2012), I am still somehow believing that it may be necessary during certain circumstances. I remember that there were moments when I would also get something I could throw or hit my parents, even threatening them with my own fists, and they had to spank me to stop. However, spanking should not always be the first and automatic resort to disciplining a child.
- Additional monitored household chores – I remember that there were days when I was given more chores to do than before. Also, there was a time I was asked to clean parts of the house that I did not want to be in. This can also be a form of positive punishment because the consequence was so undesirable for me back then that I cried because of those chores.
- Positive reinforcements – there were days when I had a deal with parents. They’d give me food (i.e. banana cue, fish ball, burger, spaghetti, etc.) if I’d do something or manifest a particular behavior. There were days I was brought to certain places I wished to go (i.e. mall, park, and other interesting places).
- Negative punishments and reinforcements – there were times when my access to some magazines, movies, and other literary materials were withheld. One time, I was so immersed in buying and reading KIDS’ ZONE magazines that those had to be taken away from me. There were days when I would spend unhealthy amount of time in playing computer games that I was forbidden to play them until I finished what I had to do.
Recall your past experiences where behaviorist approaches have been used to modify your behaviors.
- Which experiences do you consider positive (helpful and pleasant)?
I am thankful for the times my mother encouraged me to talk to guest speakers during the annual conventions or retreats my parents brought me with them. I also am glad for the moments I was encouraged to write poems and essays. I was given verbal praise. Sometimes, I was simply hugged by my parents. Other times, when I simply wanted to give up writing or using my skills to inspire or inform other people, my parents gave me words of affirmation.
Today, I have met different politicians from around the world. Most of them, I was able to talk to personally. Some of them, I received personal autographed notes. Although not all people consider my hobby–that is: meeting famous or interesting people, going to interesting events, and then writing about them–as exciting or stimulating, I am glad for the friends I have made and grateful for the kindness I have received from those people. Just a few days ago, I was able to interview Paco Magsaysay–grandson of the late President Ramon Magsaysay–for his Carmen’s Best Ice Cream brand. He was so kind and seems honest, made me cry that day at home.
Also, I personally know some relatives of the late National Artist Nick Joaquin because I am helping them promote their uncle’s legacy this year. Sometimes, I would personally receive career advice and historical enlightenment from Atty. Alex Lacson (bestselling author) and Atty. Steve Salonga (son of former Senator Jovy Salonga).
Being someone who likes to teach and who wants to become a successful writer as well, those memories are treasured. This may have not been possible if no one encouraged me to reinforce my interest in writing and meeting these people.
- In the attempt to modify your behavior, can you cite behaviorist approaches that successfully modified your behavior/s but turned out to be unpleasant experiences? Were there occasions wherein your behavior/s became more undesirable rather than improved?
I had a liking or interest to romantically pursue a lady for five years. We have been friends a year already before I confessed by feelings to her. I confessed it a month or two after I developed that feeling.
There was a time that I didn’t want to pursue her anymore because I know she is in a relationship with somebody else. However, I heard that she wants to be friends with me and she even told that to me personally.
After three months of trying to forget her and not see her, she told a friend that she has a crush on me. That common friend of ours told me that. So I approached her and talked to her about it, which she admitted.
She would now respond more to my text messages. And I would keep sending her texts again. She even posted in her facebook account the roses I had delivered to her house.
At this point, my behavior is modified. She told me also that she wants to leave her boyfriend. I had hoped that we could be together already. We’d go out together for lunch, for a seminar. She’d allow me to walk with her and be seen by our friends. She would text me as to her whereabouts even if I am not asking and would send messages like “Mahal ka namin ni Lord.” She’d receive my gifts and tell about it to her friends. For me, all of those were positive reinforcements–desirable things or events that encouraged my feelings for her.
But I was informed by another common friend that she wasn’t serious with me, and I might even be used for her to get near to another friend of ours. More so, there was a time when he had pleasant exchanges over the phone one morning but she’ll have a date with another guy in the afternoon.
After I have figured this out and it dawned on me that I have to stop pursuing her, I just stopped seeing her. That is, even if she would send me messages asking how I have been. That is, even if she would send me a birthday greeting. I stopped replying.
Remember, at some point I wished to forget her already. But she was the one who told me something that gave me a romantic hope to be with her. When I told her my frustrations, she even reprimanded me by saying, “Why are you so serious in pursuing me? Why not see other girls at the same time? I never thought you’d give me that kind of affection and attention.” She even told me that she did nothing wrong to me, and implied that all this were my own doing!
I was informed by a relative that this lady also did a similar thing to my relative’s classmate. I was told by our common friends that she has a tendency to do a similar thing to other boys.
As a result, even if I have only communicated with her only a handful of times out of necessity, because we worked together in some programs, in the last one and a half years, I still bear with me the emotional pain. I’m not sure if I have already forgiven her fully.
How would you prefer behaviors to be regulated and/or modified at home or in school?
At home, I prefer behaviors to be regulated through words of affirmation and words that correct attitudes. Spanking may still be used, though, however that is not the primary resort for every case. If the parties can afford it, there could be specific rewards given as a means of positive reinforcement. Also, if it is necessary and doable, some things may also be removed as a means of negative reinforcement.
In school, I prefer to give extra points to reward good behavior if it meets a certain criteria. Also, there are cases when anyone can easily get extra points because of attendance or class participation. But, there are times when the student would pass the subject anyway even without the plus points. In some cases, those students would exert unwanted behavior once in a while. Sometimes, they get really annoying. So, what I did was I showed them that I removed some of their plus points (even if I know they don’t need those anyway, but they didn’t know that).
Also, some students were able to relate with my #HugotPosts and #HugotStories that they are encouraged to study better because of those. Others, they’d rather perform well in class so that they won’t hear #HugotStaments to be said to them.
Smith, B.L. (2012, April). The Case Against Spanking. Retrieved May 15, 2017 from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx