Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – June 2014

—Volume 14 Number 6


  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 



After recently presenting to a number businesses, schools, and parent groups and listening to so many complaints, I feel an obligation to offer a consulting service.

This service is available to teachers, parents, and/or leaders in any occupation or industry who would like to reduce stress, promote responsible behavior, improve relationships, promote learning, and/or receive more joy in parenting.

If you would like to learn more, please visit the consulting page .


 “I read about your “Discipline without Stress” book, ordered a copy, began to teach the hierarchy using stories to illustrate, thought hard about procedures and where they could be implemented, began to ask rather than tell and finally began to experience the joy of teaching! 

“When my older boys (13 and 11) talk about the discipline problems in their classes at school I’m sad that the school is so helpless. Children are expelled, teachers have nervous breakdowns and nobody seems to know what to do about it. The level of desperation on the part of some teachers became clear to me when my son Samuel in the fourth class of primary school told me about how he felt sorry for his teacher because of out-of-control children. I ended up going to the teacher and gave her a 10-minute rundown of your method and despite being just a few weeks away from retirement she actually wrote up the hierarchy on the board and talked with the children about it.

“I was interested to read that you’ve recently been presenting your approach in Switzerland and hope you will come to Germany one day. There is a real need for a structured approach to discipline here and I would love to help ‘spread the news.’ It would feel a bit like Daniel against Goliath but perhaps God would be with us.

“Many thanks for helping me find the joy in teaching.” 

Best regards from Germany,

Nicola Röhl
Stuttgart, Germany”


Thoughts to ponder:

A great loss: hope
A great joy: giving
A dangerous habit: gossip
A destructive habit: worry
A serious loss: self-respect
A crippling mindset: excuses
A beautiful wardrobe: a smile
A challenge to overcome: fear
A worthless thought: self-pity
A contagious spirit: enthusiasm
A satisfying deed: helping others
An enabling mindset for success: I can
An empowering intention: extend yourself
An effective sleeping pill: peace of mind


Using positive language may be the most successful approach to reduce stress and increase your effectiveness. The reason is that this type of vocabulary empowers–AND feels good.

Compare each in the following examples:

“I HAVE to go.” vs. “I GET to go.”
“I only have two choices.” vs. “I have two choices.”
“I have no choice.” vs. “I am choosing to . . . ”
“No!” vs. “Not yet.”
“I have a DEADLINE” vs. “I have a DUE date.”
(The former connotes DEATH while the latter connotes BIRTH.)

We now know scientifically that what Henry Ford stated was accurate: “If you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way you are right.” The language you use affects so many aspects of your life–not only in dealing with other people but with yourself.

Therefore, the first step in increasing your effectiveness is to get in the habit of using empowering, positive language.

By the way, this is the reason that the Hierarchy of Social Development assigns specific vocabulary to its levels. The lower two levels of behavior are unacceptable and prompt “negative” feelings. The EXTERNAL motivational label is neutral, but the INTERNAL motivational label is empowering


A colleague e-mailed me the following paragraph from a book she was reading called “Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are” by Jack Kornfield.

“A man began to give large doses of cod liver oil to his Doberman because he had been told that the stuff was good for dogs. Each day he would hold the head of the protesting dog between his knees, force its jaws open, and pour the liquid down its throat. One day the dog broke loose and the fish oil spilled on the floor. Then, to the man’s great surprise, the dog returned to lick the puddle. This is when the man discovered that what the dog had been fighting was not the oil but his lack of respect in administering it. With acceptance and respect, surprising transformations can occur.”

The same is true regarding discipline. Each time you coerce someone by using your power of authority by imposing punishments (call them ‘logical’ or ‘natural’), you deprive the person of an opportunity to become more responsible. Imposing also promotes the natural tendency to resist. The concept is called “counterwill,” and was exemplified by the dog’s resistance.


People first need to know HOW to learn.
Then teach WHAT to learn.


I just discovered the Raise Responsibility System, and I can definitely relate it to my experiences trying to potty train my daughter. I started working with Emma and her potty skills when she was 12 months old. She was very interested in her potty-chair and loved to sit on it and play. When she finally realized that there was a certain feeling when she needed to go, I started using stickers as a reward for using the potty instead of her diaper. 

She would use the potty sometimes, but more often she would just rely on her trusty old diaper. This went on for TWO YEARS! I was at my wits’ end. We worked intensively on this all summer. I was home and I felt this was the perfect time to get this concept down. Unfortunately, Emma didn’t agree. 

When summer was over I took her back to the baby-sitter apologizing profusely. Emma was almost THREE YEARS OLD! Peggy, my sitter, had been watching kids for 40 years. When I told her that Emma still wasn’t out of diapers, she said, “Oh, I can train her for you.”

My sitter’s advice was, “Throw away the diapers. Buy her some old fashioned training pants and let her wear those. The kids will do the rest.”

In TWO DAYS Emma was completely potty trained.

All she needed to see was that all the other kids already used the “big potty.” She was in no mood to be left behind. There were no stickers, or candy, or even extra praise involved. Emma just realized that this is what was expected by her peer group, and she fell in line. I guess Emma discovered the RRS before I did.


Judith Rich Harris’s book, THE NURTURE ASSUMPTION, explains that the discussion of nature vs. nurture lacks an often overlooked significant characteristic: peer influence.

A main advantage of the HIERARCHY OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT is that it helps young people understand the tremendous influence of peer pressure–and not to be susceptible to it when its influence is negative or leads to unacceptable behaviors.


Dr. Wymond Eckhardt and I met when we were both teaching at California State University, Los Angeles. Wymond had a summer job as a park ranger working in a number of national parks–spending his last years at Devils Postpile National Monument in Mammoth Lakes, California.

I recently visited Wymond and was quite impressed when reading a recent publication of the U. S. National Park Service. I quote from the section entitled “Regional Cooperation.” The essential points as they relate to DWS are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

“Specialization, Eckhardt believed, had also resulted in a separation between ranger naturalists and law-enforcement. He regarded the July 4, 1970, riots in Yosemite Valley in which mounted park police clashed with the crowd of young people camped illegally in Stoneman Meadows as “one of the dark days of the park’s history.” SPECIALIZED LAW-ENFORCEMENT RANGERS, HE ARGUED, BROUGHT A ‘COP’ MENTALITY TO VISITOR MANAGEMENT, which often clashed with the Park Service’s broader mission of resource protection and interpretation.

“This attitude influenced Eckhardt’s approach to visitor management at Devil’s Postpile where, he admitted, “99 per cent OF LAW-ENFORCEMENT CAN BE HANDLED WITH THE FLY SWATTER.” He generally avoided confrontations with visitors unless they were endangering themselves, other visitors, or the resource itself. WHEN INTERVENTION WAS REQUIRED, HE TREATED IT MORE AS AN EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY RATHER THAN A DISCIPLINE ACTION.

“More serious offenses were handled by the Madera County sheriff’s office, which eventually signed an agreement with the Park service.

“Eckhardt brought a personal commitment to providing a positive visitor experience that had been lacking.” (page 153)


A maxim of dealing with unacceptable situations should be to first use a noncoercive and education mindset rather than immediately resorting to coercion. 

The following is from a testimonial:
“I took your class in Elk Grove Village, Illinois a couple of weeks ago. The class was on a Thursday and I began the new strategies on Monday with my first and second grade class after preparing a poster board of the levels. We read the books suggested to go with each level and drew some pictures so that I could see they understood the difference between levels. I could see in the behavior of the students when I called them up to my desk to discuss their misbehavior that the method had become internalized. Even my behavior disorder student was affected. I still have a long way to go to perfect the process but it is a wonderful relief from being a level B teacher.”

Linda Boehm
Elk Grove, Illinois

P.S. Keep presenting the material. It’s beneficial for teachers and students. –Linda

The EDUCATION book: 

“This book is a potent contribution to the field of child service. Not only has Dr. Marshall shown us a philosophy that works, he makes it easy to understand and implement. Everyone wins–especially our young people.”

James Sutton, Ed.D., Child Psychologist
Author of If My Kid’s So Nice…Why’s He Driving ME Crazy?

The PARENTING book: 

“My son is oppositionally defiant. I read the entire parenting book and loved it. Thank you so much for writing it and for addressing the needs of parents.”

Alana Newman
Renton, Washington