Social scientists have determined that teeagers accept responsibility for a behavior when they believe that they have chosen to perform it in the absence of outside pressures.
Giving rewards for what you want is external pressure—really a bribe—because it is used to control. It may get teenagers to perform a certain action, but it won’t get them to except responsibility for the act. Consequently, they won’t feel committed to it. The same is true of a strong threat; it may motivate immediate compliance, but it is unlikely to produce long-term commitment.
This has very important implications for rearing teenagers. It suggests that we should never bribe or threaten them to do the things we want them to believe in.
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