Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – March 2015

Volume 15 Number 3


I am very pleased to make the following special announcement:

The Discipline without Stress eLearning course is now available. The course is divided into short easy-to-navigate topics. As a subscriber to my newsletter, you are the first to be informed of this money-saving introductory offer.

While seminar companies charge $229 for my on site performance, and many online courses are at $329, this eLearning course will be $99.95—for a very limited time only.

If you are an educator and have challenges solving behavior problems simply and immediately, or think classroom management and discipline are the same, or if your students are apathetic toward learning, then the Discipline without Stress eLearning course will be invaluable for your professional development. Learn about it here.


  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 




Mental indigestion is far more destructive than physical indigestion.
—Cavett Robert, founder, National Speakers Association

April public seminars: I will be presenting “Powerful Strategies for Reducing Classroom Behavior Problems” for the Bureau of Education & Research (BER) according to the following schedule next month:

April 13 Pasadena (Monrovia), California
April 14 Oxnard, California
April 15 Anaheim, California
April 16 Sacramento (Elk Grove), California
April 17 San Jose (Sunnyvale), California

To order a brochure, call BER at 800.735.3503 (M-F) 6 a.m – 6 p.m. Pacific Time, or to look at the brochure online  and/or to register follow these steps:

 1. Link to BER.
2. Click on “Seminars & Conferences” at the top of the page.
3. Click on “California” on the US map.
4. Click on either “Preschool-6th Grade” or “Grades 6-12.”
5. Click on the name of the city where you would like to see my seminar.
6. Look for my seminar according to the above dates.
7. To the right of the seminar information click on register to register, click on details to see the brochure, or click on location for the place where the seminar will be held and to get a map with driving instructions

On February 19 I had the pleasure of presenting “Parenting without Stress” to parents of the Westbank First Nation School near Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The parent presentation was in a traditional First Nation setting: a native pit-house that lends itself to interactive learning in a warm and nurturing environment.

The Okenagan translation of their Sensisyusten House of Learning is “The place where you become anything you choose to be.” The Discipline Without Stress practices of positivitychoice, and reflection implement this approach.

The Discipline Without Stress Punishments or Rewards presentation to the teaching staff was conducted the following day. I truly enjoy presenting at Native American schools in the USA and First Nation Schools in Canada because these cultures actuate behavior in their young through influence, rather than through coercion that is so commonplace in US homes and schools.

The school emphasizes honesty, courage, respect, love, truth, and wisdom. Their approach encompasses characteristics for happiness–traits to instill that cannot be mandated and can only be actuated from internal, not external, motivation. These include:
-Persistence, and


If you want to become a more effective adult when working with young people, then give up the desire to control. Instead, hand over to the young the responsibility of learning to control thmselves. This is important for every child but especially important for those young people who have repeated discipline and impulse control challenges.

The key is to use the Hierarchy of Social Development all the time so that it isn’t associated with corrective discipline. In fact, the more you use the hierarchy, the more young people will understand the difference between external and internal motivation and become open to using the hierarchy to help themselves make better choices. 

The more you discuss the hierarchy in a variety of situations, the more it seems to become a natural tool that children begin to use independently. They start to evaluate their own choices, actions, and behaviors on an everyday basis.

One of the main principles of this approach is to ask questions that promote reflection. Those youth who have out-of-the-ordinary discipline issues are the ones who especially benefit from these questions.

You can’t force children to change their behavior, but as an adult, you can ask questions that will challenge them to think about where their own behavior is leading them–somewhere where they really want to go or not.

Learning to ask more reflective questions is the main strategy in which adults become more effective. The child’s inner response to these questions is what will motivate the outer change you are hoping to eventually see. The better the questions, the more likely the child will respond.

Ultimately, the most effective parent and teacher convey the message that behavior is a choice and all choices naturally have consequences. Some are positive, some are negative, and some are neutral.

Regardless, behavior is a choice, and people are free to choose responses to much of what happens to them. If you can get a child to start contemplating these ideas, then you have planted some very valuable seeds. You can empower them with the realization that life is a never-ending series of decisions and help them to notice that it feels pretty good to be able to look after themselves by consciously taking charge of the process.

If you are willing to invest $19.95 to improve your effectiveness, read about the 100-page Resource Guide I use in my presentations. You will find it a comprehensive resource. The Resource Guide can also be an adjunct to the eLearning course.

See Resource Guide


A farmer had an old dog. One day his dog fell into a dry well. At first, the farmer was at a loss of what to do.  The dog was probably also at a loss of what to do. 

The farmer thought, “It’s an old dog. Why don’t I put an end to its misery. He could either starve to death, or I could bury the dog and cover up the well at the same time.”

So the farmer started shoveling the dirt into the well. At first, the dog barked furiously, and the farmer felt sad but continued filling up the hole. Then came absolute silence. The farmer suddenly saw the dog wagging his tail and kicking dirt into the well. The dog would just shake off the dirt that came on him and then get on top of the pile. The old dog eventually “rode” the pile of new dirt to the top.

Question: Do you allow yourself to be buried under the clutter of life, or do you shake off all the dirt, get on top of the situation, and use the dirt as part of your experience? 


When I was a youth growing up in Hollywood, California, I listened to the disc jockey Al Jarvis on Radio Station KFWB.

I still remember the piece of wisdom he would often recite: “It’s the little things in life that really mean the most to all of us.

Take a moment and reflect on this aphorism. Don’t we remember some comment that a teacher, parent, or friend said to us that we still remember?

As a teacher, I would often kneel by a student’s desk to be at eye level and make some comment about the student’s work or about the student. There is no doubt in my mind that my students remember what I said to them–as small as the comment might have been. Oftentimes, it’s these small comments that we most remember.


Following are some summary thoughts from visiting many classes at a recent school visit:

In general, I was very pleased that the staff understood that effective learning must involve students engaging in an activity. The vast majority of teachers were implementing this understanding by having students engaged in some activity every few minutes—rather than a more traditional approach of the teacher putting forth most of the effort while students just sat and were to ingest the learning.

I also enjoyed teachers engaging in reinforcing a learning—rather than just implementing the activity one time and assuming all students learned at the first exposure to a concept.

My recommendations are:

1. Have students pair off for some activities and have them share with each other the answer to the teacher’s question, rather than have individual students compete for the teacher’s attention where only one student “wins” the opportunity to answer.

2. Before every class ends, have some reflective activity (student to student works well) so every student leaves with self-talk of “what I learned today in this class.”

Thanks again for inviting me to visit your wonderful school.


I received the following in a recent email:

I just returned from a cognitive psychology conference in Hong Kong and was just very impressed by the self-possession of the people on the streets and the marvelous relationships parents seemed to have with their children. 

After reading about Chinese culture, particularly Confucius, it looks like the Chinese put enormous store by the principle of self-control. In correcting behavior, the first thing they turn to is asking, “What is the proper thing to do?” And everyone knows what that is because they are taught over and over again. Then they give lots of chances to self-correct.

I saw absolutely zero defiance of parents or child misbehavior in Hong Kong!

Anyway, if you haven’t already accessed them, you may be interested in the principles of Confucius—along the lines of your idea of “responsibility.”

Steve Davidson, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist – Newport Beach, California

I responded:

Hi Steve,

I visited schools in Finland and, although they do not follow Confucius, they teach responsibility from a very young age. Link to my blog/ and in the white search box, insert “Finland.”

In contrast to how Finland raises its children, Western societies aim at teaching obedience, which does not create desire. Successful parents, in my opinion, aim to enable rather than control.  


I was asked by a third/fourth grade teacher, “What do you say to a student who thinks his answers are ALWAYS correct even when I prove he is wrong by giving examples of the correct math solutions and by other students demonstrating the correct answers by their methods?”

I responded:

ALWAYS keep in mind that the person who asks the question controls the situation.

The only way this child will change is by having him continually reflect. The skill required here is in asking questions that will have him do so.

So what question(s) can you ask? Here are a few that immediately come to my mind:

– How do you know that your answer is correct?
– What’s the worst that can happen if you make a mistake?
– What would you do if you found out that someone else made a mistake and is afraid to say so?

(The Resource Guide has many pages of effective, reflective questions.)

A few suggestions:

– Emphasize what I teach in my education book: you cannot learn and be perfect at the same time.

– Let the student know that anyone who is easily embarrassed has a challenge in learning. People who want to learn understand that you cannot learn if you are more concerned about being embarrassed. 

– Start each conversation with the child with some kind of sincere compliment.


I took your class last spring and its principles structure my first/second grade class. It’s very effective and necessary to establish order and motivation.

I now tutor students after school and have suggested to two of the parents that they read your book, Parenting Without Stress. One has an ADHD child and the other is tied to her 7 year old in ways that cause her development to be delayed. The child lacks intrinsic motivation.

I just wanted you to know what a positive impact your class has made. I live in Illinois and would like to be a part of your class as a refresher if you are ‘in the neighborhood.’ Please let me know if that is likely.

Linda Boehm – Chicago, Illinois

Landmark  EDUCATION book: 

Award-winning PARENTING book: