Behaviorism and tantrums Jess’s story is an example of operant conditioning, because most of his behaviors are voluntary. Jess had already learned how to get candies and other sweets from his dad at the grocery. This is also an example of positive reinforcement, because Jess is getting something he loves when he misbehaves and throws tantrums, which eventually increases Jess’s negative behavior in the future.
Bill’s behavior can be defined as negative reinforcement, since he is giving donuts to Jess in order to get his shopping done without his son throwing tantrums.
If Bill doesn’t stop dealing with Jess’s behaviors, he will not be able to control his son in the future and the problems will only increase in the future. If I was Bill, I would try these three things: 1. I would make some rules for Jess at the grocery store.
Jess might seem too young to understand the meaning of rules, but it will be important to explain to Jess in easy and simple ways what the rules are, and why he should follow them.
2. I would use donuts or candy bars as rewards. If Jess can follow the rules at the grocery store, then I will give him a prize. Jess might throw a temper tantrum as soon as he enters the grocery store, but Bill has to be strong and follow through whatever the rules are.
I would use negative consequences, like taking away the privilege of going to shopping with Bill if Jess’s behaviors continue. Jess might scream and cry, but Bill should ignore him until Jess stops. Once he stops, Bill should explain to his son why his behavior is not working. Bill can even make behavior chart and reward Jess when he has good behaviors, and ultimately give Jess a goal to reach. This will teaches Jess the right ways to get attention.