Discipline and Internal Motivation

A prime reason that the discipline and learning system (Discipline Without Stress) is so successful is that it teaches young people to understand differences between internal and external motivation.

In the research book, Intrinsic Motivation and Self Determination in Human Behavior by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, they conclude, “In other words, verbal rewards (i.e. cognitive feedback) left intrinsic motivation unchanged in a situation where tangible rewards undermine it.” (p. 60)

The Discipline Without Stress system promotes giving positive feedback, especially recognition, but does not suggest giving tangible rewards. One reason is that once a tangible reward is given, motivation inevitably changes. Will the incentive be pursuing the objective for the satisfaction derived or will it be to get the external reward?

A second reason for the success of the discipline and learning system is that the focus is on promoting responsibility; obedience then follows as a natural by-product.

A third reason is that the system separates the deed from the doer, the act from the actor, a good kid from irresponsible behavior, thereby eliminating the natural tendency for a student to self-defend in a discipline situation.

In sum, internal motivation is far more successful in having young people persevere and behave responsibly than are external and manipulative motivational approaches.