Discipline versus Obedience

Sometimes teachers contact me explaining that they have one student (or more) who will not respond to the Raise Responsibility System (which is detailed in the Discipline Without Stress book) and who often have repeated discipline challenges They wonder if there is something different they should do to encourage that student to understand the system or if they need to change how they implement the strategies in the Discipline Without Stress methodology.

I believe the answer to this dilemma is very much tied to expectations about what it means to have a child “respond” to the Raise Responsibility System. I notice that sometimes when people say they are having difficulty in getting certain kids “to respond,” what they mean is that they are frustrated that a number of kids DON’T IMMEDIATELY BECOME OBEDIENT after being exposed to the Levels of Development

It’s important to keep in mind that aiming toward obedience is often counterproductive because too many young people today resist authority. The Raise Responsibility System promotes responsibility but also RESULTS in obedience because the STUDENT voluntarily makes the choice. That’s when discipline issues decrease.

The Raise Responsibility System is not a magic strategy and you won’t necessarily see dramatic improvements occurring overnight in the more challenging children, but I do believe there is always a “response” inside the child. It’s just that we don’t always see that response.

As you implement the Discipline Without Stress practices, it’s important to wait more patiently and with more certainty, knowing that any exposure to the Raise Responsibility System is a step in the right direction. Just because you don’t always see immediate results doesn’t mean that there isn’t something happening internally in the youth. It’s just that it takes time for “seeds of change” to take root and then sprout.

Always remember that teachers DO make a difference. The trick is to become more conscious of the things you say and do in each new moment because you never truly know which of your “seeds” are taking root.