Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – December 2014

Volume 14 Number 12


  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 




My moods are my responsibility.

(Remember that the ONLY way to change an emotion is to redirect your thinking. Emotion ALWAYS follows cognition.)


External motivators unfortunately are used extensively in schools and homes. These include telling young people what to do, threatening and punishing them, and rewarding them for things that they should do. These approaches teach young people OBEDIENCE. The shortcomings of obedience appear when teachers and parents are not around to use these EXTERNAL motivators.

The “Raise Responsibility System” focuses on internal motivation, which builds the vision to act with responsible, autonomous behavior whether or not anyone else is around.

If we are to continue the civil democracy that has been our heritage, we must do more than just talk about civil democracy and responsibility; we must actively foster it. We can do this by PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES for young people to take responsibility and to show them that responsible behavior is not only in their best interest but is the most satisfying.

By TEACHING a developmental hierarchy, using REFLECTION to change irresponsible behavior, and using AUTHORITY WITHOUT BEING PUNITIVE, we empower students to manage themselves to be responsible and perpetuate a civil society.


Go way back to the ancient Greeks, and you’ll find Plato and Socrates saying that people consider their name to be the most beautiful sound in the world. Dale Carnegie quoted this idea in his classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”—one of the best selling books of all time. In fact, studies show names to be so important that people pay more attention to sentences in which their name appears.

For example, if, as a parent, you call out loudly to your child, “It’s time for dinner,” your youngster might not hear a single word of what you said. But if you say, even softly, “Billy, time for dinner,” chances are a lot better that he will stop and listen. So make sure you include the person’s name to obtain attention or when giving recognition. It has motivational power.


Here is a question to consider if you are married—or in some variation of a relationship—and would like to retain your original relationship:

“If we were not married and you were still courting me, is that how you would talk to me?”


If a student is an habitual worrier, sometimes intensive studying is for naught when a test or a big performance rolls around and the student chokes. Luckily, it turns out that focusing on worries by writing about them before a test can boost scores. Psychologists at the University of Chicago found that college students who wrote for 10 minutes about their thoughts and feelings concerning an upcoming math exam solved more arithmetic problems than did students who sat quietly. It was shown that the writing task improved the scores of highly anxious ninth graders so much that they performed as well as students with low anxiety on a biology final exam. The technique may be most useful for habitual worriers in high-pressure situations.


The following is an old e-mail I share: 

“I realize your new book is on parenting, and I do like the title. You asked for sharing of stories, so I’m sending my school story. It made me chuckle. 

“I am a third grade teacher in Indiana. This is my tenth year teaching, and I’m always looking for ways to improve. After reading your book and initially thinking I couldn’t teach 3rd graders the four (4) levels using your vocabulary, I decided I really should give it a try.

“I taught one level each day following suggestions from the book and always started by introducing it with a story. (An example of stories are at children-of-rainbow-school.) 

“Shortly after teaching the levels (hierarchy), I was out of the classroom when the students arrived. One of the girls looked around the room, realized I wasn’t there and looked at my student teacher and said, Mrs. Beams isn’t here. I hope we don’t see any anarchy.

“And there wasn’t. I guess it works.”


Here is a simple exercise that a teacher or parent can use to demonstrate the difference between external motivation (Level C) and internal motivation (Level D).

While in a classroom, choose a name from your class, e.g., “Jason.” INFORM THE CLASS THAT FOR THIS EXERCISE THEY ARE ALL JASON. Remind the class that every bit of cognition is followed by a feeling. For example, someone compliments you and you feel good; someone criticizes you and you feel bad. 

Then ask “Jason” to pick up a chair that was on its side. Ask members of the class (who are all Jason) how they felt after you asked them or told them to pick up the chair. The responses will primarily be negative.

Then, set up a variation of the scenario. You “Jason” are the first person in the classroom. The teacher doesn’t see you come in because the teacher is working at the white/chalk board.

You see a chair on its side and take the INITIATIVE to place the chair under the table where it belongs. Then ask all the “Jasons” how they felt when taking the initiative to do the right thing–just because it was the right thing to do. You will receive only positive responses. 

Point: People will never get the feeling of satisfaction from Level C that they will get from Level D–taking the initiative and doing the right thing just because it is the right thing to do


“I have been a Special Education teacher for over 20 years. The idea that behavior is a choice is something that I have always tried to teach my students. When I discovered The Raise Responsibility System, I was so excited that I wanted to start using it right away! Alas, it was summer and when school started I didn’t have any students assigned to my class. I was eventually assigned to shadow a first grade student with severe ADHD who was without his medication. After several days of having to remove him from his class due to unruly behavior, I decided to teach him the Hierarchy of Social Development. He grasped the concept right away.

“Because of the ADHD, I made him a flip card as a visual reminder to keep on his desk. After that, all I had to do was ask him what level he was behaving on and what level he should choose.

“There was one afternoon that he looked at my assistant and told her as he flipped his card over ‘I am choosing Level A behavior right now.’ He became so disruptive he had to be removed. He didn’t like the Level A teacher behavior that the teacher used with him. He hasn’t made that choice again.”
–Samantha Phillips – Raymondville, TX

(A person who acts on Level A or Level B is sending the message that h/she is not responsible enough to choose an acceptable level (Level C or Level D); therefore, the adult must use authority with the person.)

Landmark  EDUCATION book: 

Award-winning PARENTING book: