Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – August 2015

  Volume 15 Number 8


  1. Welcome
  2. Promoting Responsibility
  3. Increasing Effectiveness
  4. Improving Relationships
  5. Promoting Learning
  6. Parenting
  7. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
  8. Reviews and Testimonials 



A federal mandate has been issued to reduce “minority” office referrals and suspensions. Because of this directive, many schools are having more difficulty than usual. Teachers and administrators have not learned how to use authority without some form of coercion. DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS is the only system that uses authority WITHOUT coercion.

Having taught, been a counselor, and principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, I believe that teachers have the greatest behavior challenges at the middle school level. Therefore, since my passion is to improve education, I will start calling middle schools to show them how to use AUTHORITY WITHOUT COERCION to reduce office referrals and suspensions—while at the same time motivate students to put more effort in their learning.

If you know of a school—not limited to middle schools—that could use some assistance, please mail me at mailto:Marv@MarvinMarshall.com with CONTACT in the subject area. If possible, please include the name of the person to contact, the person’s position, the name of the school, and the school’s phone number. If I may mention your name, please include it.

I will be sharing Discipline Online. Since the program has 54 modules to be viewed and reviewed at convenient times for the purchaser, I will be suggesting how the school can receive special rates for more than one acquisition.

— If you are an educator, please see Teacher Training Programs


The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
—Eric Hoffer

Beginning with the “The True Believer” in 1951, Eric Hoffer wrote ten books that made him one of the most popular social philosophers in the 20th century. Often called “the longshoreman philosopher,” Hoffer was a provocative thinker.

The Eric Hoffer Book Award has become one of the most prestigious international awards. My parenting book, “PARENTING WITHOUT STRESS: HOW TO RAISE RESPONSIBLE KIDS WHILE KEEPING A LIFE OF YOUR OWN” is a winner of this award. The book is in hardbound, ebook, and audio format—as well as in Spanish. See Parenting Without Stress.

A few months ago I mentioned that I would be writing a new book, “LIVE WITHOUT STRESS: HOW TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY.” I invited those who were interested in being an “Advance Reader” to let me know and I would be sending them each chapter as I finish it.

Here is a comment I received about a chapter I recently shared: “After reading this section I really had only one comment: WOW! Thanks again for including me in what is going to prove to be a major work in the field.”

You may be interested in more of what I share at my blog


One of the great approaches to successful living is to develop the art of prompting positive mindsets.

For example, suppose I lay a plank on the ground. Almost anyone can easily walk on the plank from one end to the other. But if I were to raise the plank 10 feet off the ground, how many people do you think would get across it without falling? I would guess quite a few people would fall off the plank.

Why can people walk the plank when it’s on the ground but not while it’s elevated? A prime reason is that when the plank is on the ground, people imagine success. They believe and feel they can accomplish the task. Off the ground, there is a tendency to question the success of the endeavor.

Your mindset is vital. What you think, what you visualize, what you image is to a large degree what you will become—just like the eagle who thought he was a chicken. As the story goes, a young boy found an eagle’s nest while climbing in the mountains around his father’s farm. He removed an egg from the nest and placed it under a hen back at the farm. The egg hatched along with the other eggs. All his young life the eagle was raised among chickens. Knowing no better, he came to see himself as a chicken.

Then one day an adult eagle flew over the chicken coop. As the young one watched this great magnificent eagle fly higher and higher, the thought came to him that he too would like to soar high. With a burst of inspiration, the young eagle flew to the top of the chicken coop. From there he soared to the top of a low hillside. As his confidence grew, he soared higher and higher.

Question: What are you doing to instill a positive mindset in the youth with whom you work inspiring them to achieve higher?

If you are at a loss, try positivity, choice, and reflection.


With so much recent violence and the many attacks on innocent people, here is something to keep in mind if you find yourself being accosted.

Rather than yell, “Help,” shout “Fire!”

In today’s society, too many people are hesitant to get involved when hearing a call for help. The exclamation “Fire!” arouses everyone.


Collaboration is more effective than domination. (From a tweet at tweet)

Follow me on Twitter where you can read some very interesting thoughts: twitter.com/MarvMarshall


When people, especially the young, learn the difference between external and internal motivation, they become empowered to resist bullying and victimhood thinking.

Also, when they learn both lower unacceptable levels of the Hierarchy of Social Development, they learn to understand that their choices affect how they are treated. “Miss Nelson Is Missing” is a classic story about what happens when young people are out of control. A short video clip about the book is available at youtube.

A primary teacher shared with me the following: “I showed this to my students when I introduced Level A. Then I showed it throughout the year on some days when the whole class chose level A. It brought them right back on track. You should see their faces; they gasp at what is happening. They say, ‘We don’t do that!'”


Unfortunately, some very young people have a tendency to lie. I recall vividly during my seven years as an elementary school principal watching a youngster commit an irresponsible act. When I approached him and told him that I saw what he did, he very confidently said to me that he didn’t do it.

If you have a challenge with having a young person tell the truth, the following will help.

Start by asking a series of questions where the student will reply, “Yes.”

-Would you like to have others like you?
-Would you like to have more friends like you?
-Would you like to have people trust you?

Then ask, “What needs to change to have these happen?”


I would like more information on Guided Choices. When a student breaks one of the class standards, I use Checking for Understanding. If he still continues, I use Guided Choices. I give the student the choice to go back to his table or the desk. I give him the choice to draw a picture or tell another classmate what happened. Before a student is asked to leave the classroom, would it be after three times breaking the same standard or three times with any standard, like he bossed someone, bullied someone, or yelled in class?

You are definitely on the right tract by giving choices. However, a more effective approach is to use Guided Choices to ELICIT rather than IMPOSE.

Start with the three practices of positivity, choice, and reflection. It would sound something like: “I know that you are capable of choosing Level C or Level D (POSITIVITY). I have also seen you make responsible CHOICES. And I am also impressed by how you think when you want to do something that is good (REFLECTION). But now I have a problem and the only one who can help me is you. Are you willing to help me? (I have never heard anyone respond in the negative.)

“Here is my problem. Our classroom is like a family. We are all here together. When someone chooses to act on Level A and doesn’t care about others or chooses to act on Level B to bully others, then all the members of the family suffer. Do you want other people to suffer? If not and you want to be a leader in the family, what do you suggest the next time you choose Level A or Level B?”

Then ELICIT a procedure. You may have to do this a few times with different procedures until the youngster finds one that is acceptable to you. You can also make some recommendations but the child needs to feel that he is empowered and not obeying what the adult imposes.

This is the reason that I often aim at three—rather than two—choices. Three choices removes all sense of coercion.

Also, be sure that the student understands that he chose an unacceptable level. This is critical. No one can change what they do not recognize. The youngster does not understand that he is only considering himself and not others—that he is selfish (Level A) or that he is bullying (Level B) you, the teacher, because he is making his own standards—rather than following yours.


Recent emails:
1) “I’ve been diving into the online course! I love it! I’m going to download and buy some of your posters for this year.

You should make T-shirts! I would wear it and it would get the word around more.”

2) “I completed all the modules and just loved them. I learned more, and much was reinforced from already having read your book. I am glad I have the modules to refer back to and I am happy to keep growing in this system. I am so excited to introduce it to my new group of kids. I will send you pictures of my two Discipline Without Stress Bulletin Boards I have created for my kindergarten class. It is kindergarten friendly. 🙂

“I have a friend who keeps telling me, ‘I hope you get a good group of kids,’ and each time it is said it itches me. I have a new perspective. I try to explain to her, it is not that I get a ‘good group’ of kids; it’s in the system. It’s my responsibility to set up the classroom from day one in the right way, separating procedures and routines from discipline issues, and empowering my kids with the gift of responsibility and that the choice is theirs to behave or not. There is no more thinking that I am going to magically get a ‘good class.’ It’s all in the way I set the climate of my classroom with this model from day one.”

Brianna Sidero – Glendora, New Jersey


You have no idea how your program has impacted my life and my students! My classroom does not have tension but is full of doing the right thing. Last year was my first year my kids learned of empathy and they truly care about each other. My prior years that was not seen. A mom visited and told me that my kids really seem to care about each other.

Let me know about upcoming visits to New Jersey or New York! I would love to meet you one day–the man who changed my career for the better!

Brianne Sidero
Glendora, New Jersey

NOTE: I am no longer giving public seminars but continue to present nationally and internationally when invited.

Regarding kindness and empathy, the following is from a slide on Discipline Online.

You cannot mandate

These characteristics require internal motivation.


Learn how to use authority without coercion, reduce your stress, and become more effective—while the investment is still so affordable. Read more

Additional resources


Landmark EDUCATION book: 

Award-winning PARENTING book: