Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – March 2016

Volume 16 Number 3 March 2016
Newsletter #176 Archived


  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 



The direction that the corners of your mouth point will be the way your day will go.


Discipline Online has been completely revised. You will find the site easier to navigate, more pleasurable to read, and more efficient to use.


Wednesday’s short free tips so far:

1 The Problem with Telling People What to Do
2 Reduce Stress with Collaboration Not Domination
3 Having a Mindset of Making a Contribution Enhances Life
4 Reduce Power Struggles to Reduce Stress
5 Benjamin Franklin’s Approach
6 Flexibility and Choice – A cute Story


Three storks were having dinner. The father stork said, “Today I left a little boy at the Jones’ and they were so happy!”

The mother stork said, “I left twins at the Smiths’ and they were so thrilled!”

The father stork said, “Son what did you do today?”

“Nothing much,” said the baby stork. “I just scared the hell out of some college kids.”


There are some who say that the bumblebee overestimates her ability to fly. Her body is much too large for the flimsy set of wings nature gave her.

But the bumblebee thinks she can fly. She flaps her wings as if she expects to fly and guess what? She flies!

One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to underestimate yourself. The reason is quite simple. You act in harmony with how you see yourself.

So take a tip from the bumblebee. Visualize yourself as if you can fly—that you can do what you set out to do. Put your wings in motion and do what you want to do.


Lyrics from Frank Sinatra’s singing “LET ME TRY AGAIN”

I know I said that I was leaving,
But I just couldn’t say good-bye.
It was only self-deceiving
To walk away from someone who
Means everything on earth to you.
You learn with every lonely day
I’ve learned; now I’m back to stay.

Let me try again; let me try again.
Think of all we had before,
Let me try once more.
We can have it all, you and I again.
Please forgive me or I’ll die.
Let me try again.

I was such a fool to doubt you,
To try to go it all alone
There’s no sense to life without you.
Now all I do is just exist
And think about the chance I’ve missed.
To beg is not an easy task,
By such a foolish mask.

Let me try again; let me try again.
Think of all we had before,
Let me try once more.
We can have it all, you and I again.
Please forgive me or I’ll die.
Let me try again.


How people relate to each other is a critical component of a learning community. Enter classroom meetings, which builds trust and respect and lead to a warm and caring environment. Creating such an environment is necessary in order for each class member to develop the confidence to make a statement or voice an opinion and still feel safe.

Classroom meetings provides an opportunity for students to recognize abilities, describe activities, and even admit mistakes without feeling vulnerable. Self-empowerment is increased at these meetings because opinions are listened to and where an individual’s contribution can led to a solution of a problem.

Teachers who use class meetings develop a closer relationship with their students. Conversations often reveal things about students, their families, and their circumstances that teachers might never have found out otherwise. A challenging class can turn into a learning and caring community because these kinds of meetings empowers students to think of how their actions affect others.

Classroom meetings differ from usual class discussions in that, to some extent, the process is the point. As suggested, these meetings not only give ownership of the class to the students, they facilitate the development of skills. In addition, classroom meetings provide a venue to gain understanding of how other people think and feel—two necessary aspects of getting along with others.

Consider holding a classroom meeting to enhance learning as well as to resolve behavior problems.


Parents have the responsibility to instill moral character values in children—such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

When parents use rewards such as candy, stickers, and movie passes to reinforce desired behaviors, they are using the values of children to motivate in hopes that these characteristics will transfer to adult values. But they don’t. By using the things that children value, parents are merely reinforcing the values of children—NOT the values required to success in a democratic and free enterprise system.

Behaviorists, who promote giving rewards to control behavior, are not interested in values. They are interested in changing behavior only, which is the reason that neuroscientists do not use behavioral approaches. Scientists realize that humans are not like dogs, pigeons, or rats, which were used by behaviorists who extrapolated that, since rewarding behavior worked on these types of creatures, it would also work on human beings.

Rewards change behavior. When a reward is offered as a bribe to motivate, the parent will never know whether the motivation becomes one of getting the reward or because doing so is the right thing to do. More importantly, these rewards to control do nothing towards creating mature values in children. Instead, they support the mindset of, “If you want me to do what you want, what will you give me?” This approach leads to narcissism, which is not a good social or personal value.

So, while most kids will do what parents want them to do to get the treat, the young people haven’t moved one step further towards becoming more mature or learning values for success as adults.

In former generations, young people were expected to do what parents asked, and grew up with adult values. Too many of today’s parents are rewarding young people gratuitously. The result may be a generation of immature and selfish people.


I am having a very difficult time with one of my children in my class. He is a very bright boy. He is constantly interrupting our lessons, needs all of my attention all of the time, hurts the other children, is defiant, rude, and disrespectful. When I ask him what level his behavior is, he can always tell me. When I move to guided choices, he tries to choose things that will get him more attention (going to the office because he loves the secretary), or he just says, “I’ll go home.”

When I tell him that going home is not an option, that we want him to choose something that will help him to stop “bothering” others and that we want him to stay here with us, he keeps standing firm on the idea that he wants to go home. When he stands out in the hall, he still interrupts by poking his head in the door or by opening and closing the door by hanging onto the hinge area of the door.

We have tried filling out “stop, think,act responsibly” sheets. He can reflect perfectly on his behavior and always comes up with fabulous solutions/ideas to try next time. The problem is that HE NEVER FOLLOWS HIS IDEAS!

I love this kid, but I am getting to my wits end trying to help him to act responsibly and not constantly bother the other kids in our class. It is just so unfair to the other kids. I know that this problem runs deeper than just a misbehaving 6-year-old boy, that there are issues at home and I am completely understanding of this. He may not get teachers in the future who can see the lovely side of him. HELP! I would appreciate any suggestions that anyone has! Thank you in advance for your help.

Have a private conversation with him. Let him know every time he does something that is not right that he is letting his impulses control him. Ask him if he still wants to be a victim or whether he want to be a victor by being in charge of himself.

Explain to him that when he allows himself to act on a level which is not acceptable that he is showing everyone else that he is immature—that he is not smart or capable enough to control or redirect his impulses, which is one of the most important part of growing up.

Then tell him that you know how capable he is (positivity), that what he is choosing to do is not in his own best interests (choice), and that he will be disappointing you if he does not become an example for how everyone else should act (reflection). Be sure to ELICIT a procedure from him (although you can give suggestions) to implement every time he acts on a level that is not acceptable.


My name is Angel Harrison and I work at Benchmark Pre and Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona. I first want to tell you how happy I was to hear that you were coming to our school. I sat in with you about seven or eight years ago when you came last. Since then I have implemented your strategies with my preschool three’s class. It has taken me a while to perfect it, but I feel in the last couple of years that it really does work if you do it right. Although it seems that three-year-olds use their right side of the brain more often, it is evident that they love to take responsibility for their actions and love consistency of discipline without stress.

My class this year comes in every day with a great big smile on their face and a hop in their step. They are eager to get on with our work and make sure to point out things that are missed, and they also like to add ideas on what we should do. We have 50% of students from a different country (India). So not only do we implement your method with the children, we have also used it on their parents as well.

I just want to thank you so much for all the hard work that you’ve put into this practice and the wonderful books that you have provided to our country in hopes that we don’t lose the ability to enable these children to take responsibility for themselves.

Angel Harrison – Phoenix Arizona






Copyright © 2016 Marvin Marshall

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