When introduced to the Raise Responsibility System, many parents and teachers initially struggle with the idea of offering choices as it pertains to child discipline. Since the more traditional, authoritarian approach to child discipline and child raising focuses on telling youth what to do, offering choices seems like a radical idea at first.
To prove this point, here is a question a reader sent me: “How is offering choices teaching children that there are some things in life they had to do regardless of their mood or sense of power (like bathing, attending school, later holding a job, and being responsible for themselves when their choices are limited)? If everything become negotiable, if they think they will always have … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Counterwill causes stress, and counterwill is something we all experience at some time in our lives. What is counterwill? Counterwill is the name for the natural human resistance to being controlled.
Adults as well as young people experience counterwill. Perhaps it’s no surprise that counterwill is the most misunderstood and misinterpreted dynamic in child-parent and teacher-student relationships.
This instinctive resistance to force can take many forms:
- Refusal to do what is asked
- Reluctance and resistance when being told
- Disobedience or defiance
- Lack of motivation to do what the adult desires the young person to do
Counterwill can also manifest itself in procrastination or in doing the opposite of what is expected. It can be expressed as passivity, negativity, oppositional defiance, … >>> READ MORE >>> →
PDF of Simple Strategies
Create visual images to prompt behaviors you desire.
P = Send POSITIVE messages.
Notice the number of times you state something negatively that could be stated in positive terms. Promise with the positive by using contingencies, rather than consequences—which usually prompt negative feelings. Notice the difference between how the following two are perceived:
“As soon as you finish your work, you can go to the activity center.” (Contingency – stated in the positive)
vs. “If your work is not done, you’re not going to the activity center.” (Consequence – stated negatively)
C = Offer CHOICES.
Choice empowers. Choices give ownership, a critical component for changing behavior.
Giving three options—rather than two—removes … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Behavior Modification or behaviorism in the form of PBIS is widely used in schools and homes.
In fact, this approach of catching kids dong what the teacher wants and then giving rewards to reinforce the behavior is still mandated by state school administrators around the country.
Ask any teacher who has implemented this external approach in the form of PBIS (Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports) to promote responsible behavior and you will hear that, after using this approach for any length of time, it becomes counterproductive. PBIS fails in a number of ways for promoting expected appropriate behavior:
• PBIS is unfair because it is IMPOSSIBLE to reward every student for everything the adult desires.
• Adults are not consistent … >>> READ MORE >>> →
One of the key concepts of the Discipline Without Stress book and approach is to ask reflective questions. Always remember, though, that “why” questions are not reflective and often will not curb the discipline problem you are trying to correct.
So, what’s wrong with “why” questions, especially when trying to discipline a youngster? “Why” questions have an accusatory overtone. They also block communications because such questions prompt negative feelings.
Let’s prove the point. Say the following question out loud so you can hear yourself:
“Why are you doing that?”
Notice that when you asked this question, your voice pitch rose higher and your volume increased. Also, notice the effect on your emotions when you asked this “Why?” question.
Now, say … >>> READ MORE >>> →
More and more people who want to discipline without coercion are learning about the Discipline Without Stress methodology and the Raise Responsibility System every day.
Step 1: TEACHING – (Students learn four levels of development) Being proactive by TEACHING AT THE OUTSET is in contrast to the usual approach of just responding to inappropriate behavior.
Step 2: ASKING – (Checking for Understanding) When a disruption occurs, have the student identify the unacceptable level chosen. Note: A major reason for the success of the system is that by identifying something OUTSIDE of oneself, the deed is separated from the doer. The person is not prompted to self-defend, which is one’s natural and usual approach.
Step 3: ELICITING – (Guided … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Recently a teacher asked me, “Can we really expect ALL children (even kindergartners) to understand and abide by the Discipline Without Stress’ 4 levels of behavior without ANY rewards?”
Here is my reply:
YES, but you start by differentiating between ACCEPTABLE levels and UNACCEPTABLE levels. See the posters and cards at https://WithoutStress.com/Shop.
Also (and this is critical), be sure you have taught, practiced, and practiced again EVERYTHING you want your students to do. A MAJOR ERROR EVEN EXPERIENCED TEACHERS MAKE is ASSUMING that students, of any age, know what to do without first learning, practicing, and ritualizing the procedure or skill.
Once STUDENTS (especially young ones) HAVE LEARNED what YOU want them to do, they will want to do … >>> READ MORE >>> →
I’ve just enjoyed reading an excellent thought-provoking book published in 2013, titled Mind over Medicine, written by Lissa Rankin MD.
In one section of the book, Dr. Rankin shares an experiment conducted by social scientists. They were curious about whether or not learned helplessness in senior citizens could be counteracted by increasing their feelings of control, choice and personal responsibility. Because of my familiarity with using these same principles in my teaching by employing Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress approach, my ears perked up!
On page 130 of the book, Dr. Rankin explained:
Researchers working with residents of a nursing home designed a study to evaluate the physical health of residents in response to positive changes made in the … >>> READ MORE >>> →
On February 27, 2014 / Classroom Mgt., Creating desire, Discipline Answers, For Guest Teachers, For High Schools, For Middle Schools, For Specialty Teachers, Improving Academics, Motivating Students, Procedures in the Classroom
When I was in high school I had an English teacher who used a very simple strategy to interest and motivate students. It didn’t take much time or effort on his part and was just a simple thing, but it was enough to get me to want to attend his class every single day. What did he do? He simply put up a new thought-provoking quote, in large letters, in the same place, on the same side chalkboard every day.
He never referred to the quote. (I suspect that intuitively he knew that doing so might produce counterwill.) He never asked our opinions or started a discussion and most often the quote was not related in the least to … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Briefly, what would be the key similarities and differences between your Discipline without Stress and the Positive Discipline method promoted by Jane Nelson?
Thank you, Joanie,
Although Jane and I have similar goals in that we both want to promote responsibility and reduce discipline problems, our approaches are significantly different.
Here are a few:
DWS does NOT award young people for being responsible. DWS expects responsible behavior.
DWS is totally noncoercive—although not permissive.
DWS does not use external approaches. DWS differentiates between offering bribes before doing something and acknowledgments AFTER doing it.
DWS has no interest in one’s past history or environment; it is only interested in present behavior.
DWS emphasizes the importance of teaching … >>> READ MORE >>> →
A few days ago I was in a restaurant having lunch. Next to me was a young mom also having lunch, accompanied by her lovely little preschooler. As their meal was ending, I noticed the mom lift a spoonful of something uneaten from her daughter’s plate and offer it to the little girl––who, with a shake of her curly blond head, declined to eat. That wasn’t unusual but what the mom said next prompted me to pay a bit more attention.
She said, “Okay, Katie, if you like this can be your “No thank you bite.” The little girl shook her head no.
No thank you bite?
Huh? What was she talking about?
Since I’d never heard this expression before, … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Does anyone have a letter communicate to parents about Discipline without Stress?
Here is one letter that was shared by a Kindergarten teacher in Memphis and is based on the outline Dr. Marshall provides in his book. It may provide a starting point for your own letter.
Our classroom is a small community where teamwork and good relationships are expected. Since Kindergarten is a new experience for most students, we will spend a lot of time learning class procedures/routines and practicing them. Each student is expected to act within our standards of behavior.
The following are the standards for our class:
1. Be kind and nice.
2. Be safe.
3. Be a good listener.
4. Take … >>> READ MORE >>> →
I was thinking today about the “enforceable statements” that Love and Logic is big on using. At first, I was thinking that I might use their statements in my Discipline without Stress teaching but now I’m wondering. I’d like another opinion on the subject.
In the Love and Logic program, instead of making rules for your students, you only tell them what YOU, the adult will do. The thinking behind this is that the only person you ever really have control over is yourself.
I can see how some enforceable statements could be used with Discipline without Stress if they fall into the category of procedures. For example, things like :
- “Ooops, I listen to kids who
… >>> READ MORE >>> →
Dr. Marshall recently brought teacher attention to a youtube lecture highlighting the third part of his Discipline without Stress Teaching Model, The Raise Responsibility System.
As many university instructors do these days, Joe Jerles posted this classroom management lecture online so that his own students could access his teaching easily and repeatedly for study purposes.
Jerles is teaching from the textbook, Effective Classroom Management by Carlette Jackson Hardin. Chapter 9 of the book deals specifically with Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress approach.
Joe Jerles’ youtube presentation may be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about the Discipline without Stress approach.
Dr. Marshall points out a few things to notice while viewing the video:
- Even kindergarten students
… >>> READ MORE >>> →
My class is so messy! They leave trash everywhere and it takes them forever to clean up after centers, or art time or snack! How do you get kids to clean up? They will eventually clean it up because I keep telling them over and over, but I need some ideas!!
I try to approach it in this way in my primary class…
When I ring our chimes to get their attention at a clean up time, I typically make some positive reference to the activity which will directly follow. For instance, I might say….
- Who’s interested to see what’s been brought for Show and Tell today?
- Here’s the book we’re going to read today. I can’t wait
… >>> READ MORE >>> →
I am an art teacher at an elementary school. I have three 4th grade classes that are usually difficult to manage. I have recently asked a guest artist to come and do a Jackson Pollock lesson with them. She is supplying all the paint and canvases for this lesson, except one. I also have one very large (6 X 8) canvas that only one class will get to paint. The other two classes will have to work on smaller individual canvases. This lesson requires the students to be on their best behavior and be good listeners as we will be “splatter” painting. I told the classes they could “earn” the big canvas. I said that the class with the … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Reflection is a powerful teaching and learning strategy that parents and teachers often overlook. The key to reflection is the skill of asking youngsters self-evaluative questions. Here are a few examples:
- Are you angry at me or at the situation?
- Does what you are doing help you get your work done?
- What would an extraordinary person do in this situation?
- Are you willing to try something different if it would help you?
Unfortunately, most parents and teachers ask ineffective questions such as, “Why are you doing that?” This is a pothole question. First, most people cannot articulate their motivation and second, the youngster may answer, “Because I have ADD.” Better never to ask a child a “Why?” question regarding behavior! … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Just yesterday I sat listening, mouth wide open, as my dentist and his assistant chatted and worked on my teeth. At one point their conversation turned to family and they updated each other on the lives of their respective children. The dental assistant asked how the dentist’s son, a first year of Med student, was doing. Since the boy had always been a good student, she wondered if he was still getting good grades. The dentist said, “I really don’t know. They don’t give grades anymore. The only mark Med students receive is Pass or Fail.”
When she expressed surprise, he went on to explain further. He said that things were much different now than when he himself had attended
… >>> READ MORE >>> →