Intrinsic Motivation

“Discipline and Parenting without Stress” is so successful because it is based on intrinsic motivation.

The validity of intrinsic motivation was highlighted, yet again, in a recent Parade Magazine article by Anne Murphy Paul, in which the following question was posed:

“Your son just started music lessons. To motivate himself to practice, he should:
(a) Promise himself a favorite video game if he completes his practice schedule.
(b) Choose pieces of music that he enjoys playing.

Answer: (b) As fun as that game sounds, research demonstrates we’re most engaged in learning when our motivation is intrinsic—stemming from the task itself rather than some external reward.

Every study on motivation demonstrates this truth. Yet, somehow, much of education and parenting use external approaches, such as behaviorism, to motivate young people. Hopefully, articles about the importance of intrinsic motivation appearing in popular, mainstream publications, like Parade Magazine, will be read and implemented by more and more parents and teachers.