I Wonder If I Could Program My Children With Pavlov’s Theory
When my daughter was about 6 months old, I had a brilliant idea. My plan was to utilize Pavlov’s theory on behaviorism to make parenting easy. I have always wanted to try out Pavlov’s behaviorism theory on my children. Imagine how well I could control my children from throwing a fuss.
Just a recap, Pavlov’s behaviorism theory stems from his experiment with his dog. The gist of it is that you can condition certain behavior using a certain stimulus. You can read all about it here.
In Pavlov’s experiment, he would ring a bell whenever food is served to the dog. After an extended time, even without any food being served, once the bell is rung, the dog would still salivate. This gave me an idea of ‘programming’ my child to act a certain way whenever she misbehaves.
My first idea was the snap. In theory, if I were to snap my fingers whenever she laughs, I could condition her to laugh whenever I snap a finger. Pretty cool, right? Although I am pretty sure there are certain psychological side effects from this, but anything to stop a crying baby.
So I set out doing so, rather inconsistently, and after a few months, I put my theory to the test. One day, my daughter had a meltdown and so I thought, this is it! The defining moment where my snap would calm her down.
I snapped my fingers. No change. She continued crying louder. I thought, maybe she did not hear me, so I snapped my fingers louder. No change. As the crying got louder, I thought that my experiment had failed. So I picked her up and calmed her down.
I was not willing to give up, so I moved on to the next plan.
Perhaps I needed something a bit closer to the source material. As such, I thought I should have used the bell instead of the snap. I started ringing the bell for fun whenever we have food. It was amusing at first, then it became commonplace.
After a while, I put the theory to the test. I prepared a meal with loads of vegetables, you know because it is healthy. Also, I knew my daughter would not be happy about it.
My daughter then started throwing a fuss and I thought that the bell would help. I rang the bell and nothing happened. In fact, she cried even harder. Once again, I have failed and I had no choice but to give in to her. I picked her up and held her tight.
That is when I realized that perhaps the research subject was not my daughter. Perhaps, I was the one in which Pavlov’s behaviorism is being employed on.
Wait… Who Is Being Manipulated, I Wonder
Looking back, I am the one who has been manipulated by my daughter all along. Her cries were the stimulus and the desired behavior is whatever she wants me to do.
All along, she just had to cry and I would do whatever that she does. Ah well, I suppose she is a smart one. Now, if you would excuse me, I need to tend to her as she is crying now.