# Extrinsic motivation could undermine children’s self-motivation

Teachers, tutors, carers, or parents would typically provide stickers or pocket money to incentivise the kids to adopt new behaviours. Unfortunately, this practice may undermine children’s self-motivation.

For example, I did use stickers to encourage my then 2-year-old to brush her teeth. Prolonging this practice might have made her think that the responsibility of taking care of her teeth belongs to me, rather than hers. She’ll not have the self-motivation to brush her teeth when this happens.

Realistically speaking, though, most in things in life started extrinsically. My 6-year-old now brush her teeth without anymore stickers. See also: Flow activities are exotelic first before they become autotelic

# References

The Self-Driven Child (p. 107)

Research over the last four decades has repeatedly demonstrated that incentives like sticker charts, consequences, and other forms of parental monitoring that are “laid on” children actually undermine this type of motivation. […] What’s more, our clever brains see through external motivators; we’ve evolved in such a way as to detect them and to resist attempts to be coerced. We’ll devise ways to get the reward without doing the job or assignment. This is why kids can get As in course they hardly remember after a few months.