Life in progress

#SoCS – Romance – Caution! This post has nothing to do with romance.


I never wanted to be a romance writer. That is, I never set out to be one. I’m more of a relationship writer. And let’s face it, romantic relationships are something most of us strive for, at some point in our lives.

Being interested in behaviors and the thoughts that make us all tick makes it a bit of a no-brainer that I’d write about relationships. Behaviors were explained to me in a course I took, for whatever reason, to learn about what makes my Autistic son do the things he does, and to learn to curb some of his inappropriate and unwanted behaviors. The most interesting (to me) thing I took away from that course is that we all engage in social behaviors, whether positive or negative. All the time. Every time we communicate with another human — or I suppose any living thing — we exhibit behaviors in order to get the response we hope for in return.

Smiling at a stranger, for instance, is a positive behavior. If I smile at someone, I hope for a smile in return. Okay, stay with me on this – these are just examples. If I stand in the middle of a crowded street and start crying, it might be because I hope for someone to try to comfort me, or ask me what’s wrong. This can be seen as a negative behavior. Manipulative, perhaps. Or maybe it’s a genuine cry for help.

The most important part of this is that our children do things like the last example, all the time. Whether they’re Autistic or not. Knowing, as a parent, what is a genuine cry for help and what is simply a manipulative behavior bent on getting our attention can be tricky, but discerning the difference can be a valuable tool.

Go back to the smiling thing. If I smile at, say, ten people I pass on the street and not one of them smiles back, I’m going to give up. My behavior is obviously not giving me the response I’m going for. Rather, it’s being ignored. Now take the screaming, crying child. What is yelling back at them going to do? Encourage the behavior, because it’s giving them exactly what they’re seeking. Attention. No words, and no amount of negative behavior back at them is going to stop their crying. But if we ignore it… and sometimes it can take ten times before they get it… their behavior will stop.

In the ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) program I was taking, it’s called “planned ignoring.” It’s very simple, and it works. I can attest to that.

Ah, romance. How the hell did I get here? Relationships. Right. All birds of the same feather. And this is why I’m a multi-genre but single-minded author.

This insanely all-over-the-place post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Find the rules and the prompt here: and join in. It’s insanely fun!

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

22 thoughts on “#SoCS – Romance – Caution! This post has nothing to do with romance.

  1. I am with you on the ignoring bad behavior. Can you think of what might have happened here in American if the news people hadn’t done everything but ignore bad behavior in a certain politician? Clear back on the day of that triumphant glide down an escalator and forward we would have had a far different outcome.

    Of course, with children, there is the added, “If you continue to cry when it is time to leave the park you make me not even want to come back.” Single moms have it the worse because ignoring looks like you don’t care, whereas it is the best method to get the behavior to stop.

    But I believe the attention we give to a thing helps it to grow. If you like it when your friends say nice things, comment on it and you will get more. If your husband wants you to look nice it would feel good to hear it.

    If someone yells at the top of their lungs and berates people, that behavior should be ignored and more attention to the many things that could be newsworthy might come to the front. Sorry–Children are People and vice versa, and all respond in this way.


  2. πŸ™‚ I arrived the same spot you did, via the route of wolf/horse packs and how we humans mimicthe pack/herd options they use for themselves – ahh – the Discerning thing is rather, for me, a life long journey of observation, trial, error, and success – – LOL


  3. What you say has certainly been my experience. And when you give a child attention for positive behaviours, thy do change in the way they communicate with you.


  4. Ah, the freedom to go “all-over-the-place” with your thoughts and words. That’s the fun of SoCS. Thanks again for that.

    Sometimes, when I know what to say of do, to get what I want, it does feel like I’m manipulating (or trying). Good to know that we all do.


  5. Great post Linda. Yeah, and the internet troll thing could be a whole separate post of its own.


  6. A real SOCS post Linda!


  7. This post was totally not what I was expecting, based on the title. It was so neat to read, because it was like we were sitting on the couch having a conversation. I found myself nodding my head, too.


  8. This is truly a food for thought. I found myself nodding along at the part where you mentioned, giving up after smiling for a number of times without getting any in return πŸ˜„


    • It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact, at first, that it’s equal to any number of horrible behaviors, but it’s true. It’s one of the reasons I ignore internet trolls. They give up and head out to greener, more satisfying pastures in which people engage them.
      Thanks for your comment, Ameena. πŸ™‚


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