German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.” How humans behave is a reflection of their values, principles, and beliefs. Each person deals with situations, however similar, differently. Social behavior is the way people interact with and influence other individuals.
One’s social behavior impacts, not only the way other people respond to the current situation, but also their future decisions. As social behavior is greatly dependent on the society one belongs to, it’s very important to make sure to build an environment conducive to support for people, especially children.
Doing so secures the opportunity for the children and next generations to have better lives. To be able to positively influence social behavior, it’s critical to understand it, its importance, and its effects on the society.
What is Social Behavior?
“No man is an island.” As cliché as it sounds, this is true. We are made to interact with others. These interactions characterize our social behaviors—which range from optimistic, pessimistic, trusting, and envious to relational, cooperative, introverted, and extroverted.
Social behavior is transactional. When one tries to connect with someone or deal with a situation, there will always be a response—favorable and workable or the other way around. Regardless, these responses affect the way people deal with the circumstances and the people involved.
To simply put it, social behavior is the way an individual interacts, communicates, and answers the environment in relation to survival and subjective intentions. These interactions lead to social relationships.
The Influence of Social Context to Behavior
Culture and tradition play an important role in how one reacts to social conditions. Society, influences from primary groups, and the environment are the factors that affect how a person behaves. Behavior impacts the culture as it sums up behavioral patterns shared in a society.
Furthermore, the context in which interactions take place is a vital key to how we behave. Meaning, how we understand objects, words, emotions, and social cues are dependent on where we encounter them and how we were brought up.
What is social context?
Social context refers to the general environment or circumstances in which individuals react. This is dependent on the relationship status among groups of people. Moreover, individual roles, norms, cultures, and traditions affect how one engages with others, leading to social behavior.
As social context impacts our behaviors and how we find meaning, it’s crucial to make use of these contexts to guide and help people make a positive difference to society. Not to mention, context shapes all processes in our brain—both perception and social interactions. That said; one’s social behavior is based on their understanding of contexts.
What is the effect of context on social behavior?
When contexts aren’t processed, they have a huge impact on social behavior. Failure to understand contextual cues burdens an individual with recognizing emotions, rendering them unable to properly deal with the situation. Hence, misbehavior is linked to unprocessed social contexts.
Because of this, social context plays an important role in child development. Children’s behaviors and attitudes are influenced by the environment and context as they learn and adapt to their surroundings. With that, parents and other members of society should be mindful of their influence on raising the next generation.
Social Behavior Examples
As mentioned earlier, culture and tradition affect social behavior. That’s why Filipinos are known for being hospitable and resilient. These two characteristics are a byproduct of the bayanihan culture. However, there’s always yin in every yang. Here are some of the common social behaviors—both positive and negative—which can be done verbally or nonverbally.
- Communication. Connecting with other people by conveying information to others through verbal and non-verbal cues.
- Cooperation. Willingly taking part in projects with other people to work on a common goal.
- Tolerance. Getting along without clinging to a common culture and set of rules.
- Acceptance. Accepting people as distinct individuals rather than needing strict adherence to a shared identity.
- Comradeship. Feeling of respect and empathy toward those who have gone through trying times.
- Loyalty. Treating someone with respect and defending common interests.
- Love. Expressing affection for another person.
- Altruism. Acting selflessly in the interest of others even at risk of oneself.
- Charisma. Being able to act in a way that other people admire.
- Play. Pursuing happiness through activities that promote the development of social skills.
- Humor. Having the ability to communicate joy.
- Wit. Being able to respond to situations on a cognitive level.
- Leadership. Knowing how to command and lead a team.
- Influencing. Trying to change what others think and do.
- Motivating. Encouraging people to do something.
- Gossiping. Talking about other people, often in disregard to what’s true.
- Status seeking. Making extreme efforts to get approval from other people.
- Signaling. Communicating your strengths to others.
- Countersignaling. Downplaying your strengths in order to show off, this is also known as false humility.
- Social loafing. Contributing less to the group as a result of unstructured roles.
- Conformity. Adhering to the expectations of others.
- Unaffectedness. Having high self-awareness, thus not having any need to depend on validation from others.
- Alienation. Feeling of disengagement and isolation from a group.
- Misbehavior. Failing to do what was set without the intent of not conforming.
- Taking the high ground. Keeping high standards of social behavior when dealing with people who behave poorly.
These social behaviors are the results of the biological and cognitive development of a person starting from a young age. This is why building a better society starts with preparing children to be better citizens. One way is to promote the importance of health and, of course, ensure that they grow healthy.
What is Social Health?
The development of social behavior is a combination of the child’s personality, emotions, upbringing, and the environment they’re exposed to. Behavior develops and people mature as they gain more social information and interaction. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the importance of social health to the individual’s growth.
Health is important; no one can argue otherwise. However, some people still take it for granted. Others would only worry about their physical health, letting go of the fact that overall health includes mental and social. In fact, not taking care of one of these aspects results in unhealthy conditions.
Yes, social health is as important as physical and mental health. Studies have proven the impact of social health on the overall wellness of a person. What is social health? This is the ability of a person to engage with others and form meaningful relationships. This also says something about how comfortably we can adapt to different social situations.
Social health encompasses contributing to society, developing and maintaining good relationships, enjoying others’ company, and caring about others. These are essential in order to survive and grow as an individual and as part of a community. Social health also contributes to someone’s way of thinking, which could lead to positive action or the opposite.
The Importance of Social Health
Social health plays an important role in having a strong social system. This impacts other aspects of our health, which could lead to diseases. It doesn’t just affect our emotional state, but also our physical health. There are health conditions that are the result of social isolation and loneliness.
Social isolation has been associated with death as much as smoking 15 cigars a day. To add, prolonged loneliness can put one at risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few. Not only that, it also leads to depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
That said; having an unhealthy social life can be lethal, not just for adults, but especially for children. Many children are experiencing unbalanced social health due to different factors. Some of which are lack of attention and guidance from their parents, abusive relationships, and the absence of psychosocial support.
Tips on Improving Social Health
Social wellness is a vital component of a healthier and happier life. With social health, you can have a strong social network, cope better with stress, have healthier physical health, and live longer. Here are some tips on building your social wellness.
1. Start with self-care.
Before anything else, you need to start with fueling yourself in order to give back to others. Look after yourself and ensure you have a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you have good sleeping habits, eat healthy, exercise, meditate, and get to know yourself better.
2. Forge meaningful relationships.
Connecting with other people can enhance your people skills and having friends gives you the support you need. Furthermore, maintaining and nurturing your relationships could also improve your social behavior.
Unfortunately, there are unhealthy relationships that are hard to keep. If you’re in a toxic relationship, don’t feel guilty about standing up for yourself and choosing peace. There are times that we just need to accept that some relationships are exhausting and not worth fighting, especially if they come with abuse and neglect. In that case, don’t hesitate to put a stop to it.
When you see yourself in that situation, you can ask for help from non-profit groups that offer free counseling programs.
3. Communicate with others.
Starting a conversation and communicating with your social network can help you grow as an individual. Plus, it promotes better relationships and helps you stay in touch. You can do this with small talk or deep conversations.
4. Find a community.
Being part of a social group is beneficial for your growth, maturity, and health. Having a community to back you up and help you in times of need goes a long way. Knowing that you’re not alone is comforting. Hence, find a community that suits your personality and give it a go.
5. Use your hobbies to meet other people.
What are your interests? There are a lot of events you can join to meet people with the same hobbies as you. Doing so, doesn’t just let you enjoy what you like doing, but also allows you to widen your social network.
6. Don’t force yourself to conform.
Everyone is created uniquely, so we respond to things differently. Our social behavior depends on our environment, which is why we could have the tendency to conform to what society dictates. But, that doesn’t mean you need to change your views and morals.
- Reflect on your social needs.
- Participate in social events and gatherings.
- Invest time with yourself and your loved ones.
- Be true to yourself and others.
- Show support to your friends, partner, and family.
- Be part of wellness groups.
How Childhope Philippines’ Psychosocial Interventions Help Improve Social Health
The good thing about improving social health is that it goes both ways—self-care and helping others. And one great way to ensure social wellness is by joining outreach programs. This is because you don’t just discover the world of volunteering; you also share the same passion with others.
Not only that, you also get to experience helping others to achieve a better social health, which leads to better social behavior. In addition, studies have shown the effects of psychosocial interventions on the overall health of children. A lack of psychosocial support leads to mental issues such as anxiety, depression, drug abuse, alcoholism, as well as chronic physical conditions.
As a non-profit organization, Childhope Philippines aims to help street children have a better chance of living a healthy life. Thus, we have come up with different programs to make this vision a reality.
We help children and their parents cope with stress, problems, and other issues by providing psychological first aid and counseling and ensuring they foster positive social behavior. Plus, we provide assistance to shelters, especially for neglected children and the homeless.
We understand the value of education as it opens opportunities to children who have access to schools. That’s why we created the KalyEskwela project. Its goal is to bring school to the streets to educate street children. We use a mobile van with audiovisual equipment to hold alternative learning sessions.
With the help of our volunteers, we are able to teach children with basic education. Also, we incorporate psychosocial activities such as arts and crafts, storytelling, and playing games.
Health and Medical Services
We also have programs dedicated to giving health services. KliniKalye (mobile health clinic) aims to help street children stay healthy by providing primary preventive medical care, consultations, and treatments.
We make sure to provide holistic intervention and help to children in our streets. So we also aim to support and train them with 21st century skills such as leadership, technical skills, sports, arts, and more. We also provide livelihood training programs for their parents and the youth.
Aside from psychosocial support, KalyEskwela, KliniKalye, and skills development programs, we also shed light on children’s rights, child labor, and hunger.
Be an Advocate of Positive Social Behavior and Promote Social Health
Building a better society starts with establishing a good foundation of positive social behavior. This can be done by preparing the next generation with the right principles and values. Doing so shapes their social behavior that is in favor of building a better society.
When children grow up in an environment where morals and integrity are valued, they will act accordingly rather than out of greed and selfishness. It takes a whole city to build a child’s character. That said; if you want a better future for the generations to come, we need to act now.
Be an advocate of change and help us with our mission of transforming lives one at a time. Join our team and be a volunteer or partner with us through donations. Together, let us promote social health and provide programs that would have a positive impact on the lives of the children.