Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – May 2014

—Volume 14 Number 5


  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 




It will work out in the end, and if it doesn’t then it’s not the end. –Dev Patel, from the Academy Award nominated movie,”The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”


 One of the advantages of the Raise Responsibility System (discipline and learning system) is that it can be implemented immediately. With this in mind, I share the following e-mail I received on Tuesday, April 29, after I presented the previous day.

“I attended your seminar yesterday in Voorhees, New Jersey and was very interested in the presentation. You have made me realize that I brought my military background into my classroom and was acting like a drill instructor to manage my classroom. I began teaching the fundamentals of your system immediately today, and I know I can make it work for me and my students. At the end of my first class this morning I overheard one young man say, ‘I learned that I could make level C or D choices all by myself without anyone having to tell me.’ Pretty impressive considering this young man has always been my most serious challenge!”

Thanks, Tony Otlowski Music Teacher, Harrison Township, New Jersey


One of the many things I discuss in my seminars to teachers and parents is how important procedures are to increase efficiency. This applies to one’s personal life as well. Here is a current experience that my wife gave permission to share.

My wife oftentimes turns the computer off and leaves the room without the computer shutting down. “I’m a quick getaway gal” is her quip. I often suggest the procedure of staying in the room until the computer totally shuts down.

The faucet in our kitchen sink must be pulled down vertically; otherwise, the faucet drips. My suggested procedure is to look at the faucet after the handle is pulled down to be sure there is not any dripping.

Two weeks ago, the quick getaway gal turned the upstairs bathroom sink on when she thought it was off. I happened to go downstairs and suggested she join me to watch rain coming from the ceiling. She flew upstairs to turn off the bathroom faucet. A little procedure such as looking to be sure that the water is turned off rather than left running before leaving the area could have saved money–thousands of it.

We are now living in a motel for a month or two while our residence is machine dried, asbestos tested, re-plastered, repainted, and all of our packed furniture is moved from storage back to its previous location.

Another life experience!


Self-esteem is a person’s sense of self-worth and is manifested in large part by a person’s self-talk. One of the advantages researchers report about positive self-talk is that it encourages persistence–a key characteristic for success.

Negative self-talk creates a negative mindset that can lead to avoiding failure rather than reaching for success.

The more young people are encouraged and are talked to in positive ways the greater chances are for their own self-talk to be positive. Some young people need to believe in someone else’s confidence in them before their own confidence sets in. Numerous testimonials and stories attest to a person’s success because someone else believed that the person would be capable of performing the task. Indicating that the person can achieve the task promotes responsibility.


Some people’s ego deprives them of the benefit that comes from asking for help. We see this in the stereotype of men not asking for directions when lost while driving by a gas station that may assist in giving directions–assuming the car has no global positioning service (GPS).

One of the most powerful phrases in all of life is “I wonder if you could help me with something.” The phrase breaks down barriers.

Why does such a simple phrase have such a profound impact on people? The reason is that it feeds their egos and appeals to their good nature.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, the authors of the “Chicken Soup” series, wrote a book on the subject entitled, “The Aladdin Factor.” The entire book was based on this simple and effective idea: “Ask and you will receive.”

The powerful request is one that anyone can use–even with discipline problem. Th adult merely asks the question, “I wonder if you could help me with something.” Since the person you are asking is the cause of the problem, employing this phrase is a noncoercive and very effective approach with which to start.


Checking for understanding is imperative for improving relationships. Without this procedure you can never be sure that you and the other person actually understand each other.

There is a story told about General Alexander Haig, the former commander-in-chief of the United States European Command who spent five years with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

One time at an international party, an Englishman asked him, “General Haig, are you married?”

Haig said, “Yes, I am.”

The Englishman asked, “Do you have any children?”

He answered, “No, I don’t have any children. My wife can’t get pregnant.”

The Englishman said, “Oh I see; your wife is inconceivable.”

A German fellow said, “No, no. You don’t understand. What General Haig meant was his wife is impregnable.”

But a Frenchman said, “No. What General Haig really meant was his wife was unbearable.”

Occasionally paraphrasing in your own words what the other person is saying is an effective technique to check for understanding. Whether you understand or misunderstand, both parties win. If you get the person’s message right, the person will feel good about the communication and will affirm it to you. If you get the message wrong, the person will clarify.


In general, people have a hard time untangling the sources of various positive and negative feelings and are prone to misunderstand their causes. In a classic demonstration of this, the current day’s weather affected how people being interviewed rated how well their entire life had been up to that point. They were more likely to characterize their whole existence as sunny when the weather was nice. Conscious awareness of this reaction, however, brought about an immediate change. When the interviewers called attention to the weather outside, the feelings colored by the presence of either sun or clouds no longer had an effect.

Nonconscious thoughts and feelings influence not only the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us but also our everyday actions. The effect the nonconscious has on behavior has provoked debate among psychologists for decades. For a good part of the 20th century, B. F. Skinner and the behaviorist school of psychology argued forcefully that our actions were entirely under the control of what we saw, heard and touched in our surroundings AND THAT CONSCIOUS THOUGHT PLAYED NO ROLE. This idea was embodied in the classic experiment in which a rat learns through trial and error that pressing a bar results each time in the rodent’s receiving a food pellet. In the Skinnerian view, most of what we do translates into a more sophisticated variation on the same theme of pressing the bar to get what we want–external motivation. Research in the 1960’s debunked Skinner’s behaviorism.

The opposite extreme, that motivation is always internal, is equally false. Merely watching or listening to someone else can prompt us to behave in ways that we do not even realize.

The Hierarchy of Social Development clarifies these concepts by explaining the difference between external and internal motivation. Once people can articulate the difference between these two types of motivation, their understanding and learning significantly increases.


Every child wears an invisible sign stating, “Make me feel important.” 


FROM Discipline Answers

I’m just starting to read Dr. Marshall’s book “Discipline without Stress.” It makes so much sense!

My plan during the first week is to explicitly set up procedures and expectations. BUT, what about children that STILL do not behave? What do you do? Consequence? Conference? Ask them to stop?? Can you give me an overview?

Here’s what I do. I start by reminding myself to follow the Discipline without Stress Teaching Model.

The first and crucial step is to proactively plan for classroom management, in other words, the planning and teaching of procedures. This means actively teaching the students what you want them to do and how to behave in all the routine activities that they do every day. Think of it as teaching them to be successful.

The more experience I have with this discipline approach, the more I further rely on procedures to also deal with what might be called a discipline issue.


The following is from a testimonial:

“Great presentation! I really liked being given the opportunity to reflect upon my methods of dealing with students. I feel like I have been using the wrong approach.” —Theodore Floyd, Assistant Principal, Tampa, Florida

The EDUCATION book: 

“Dr. Marshall, I just checked you book out at the library and started reading it; I cannot put it down. Your book is filled with excellent tips and information for raising socially responsible children and adults.

“This is a must have book for parents and teachers. I have referred it to all of my friends with children. I just wanted to thank you for all of your insights.”

—Kim Muhlenfeld  – Bel Air, Maryland

The PARENTING book: 

“As both a parent and a teacher, I strongly believe that in today’s world it is more important than ever that we teach children how to make good choices–not through coercion, bribery, or threats, but in a respectful, loving way that inspires and teaches children to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. I have used Dr. Marshall’s methods in my classroom for the past several years. Each year I am amazed at how well the students respond to the hierarchy and how much more learning takes place. The Raise Responsibility System really works!”
—Robin Tzucker – Kirkland, Washington