Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – May 2015

 Volume 15 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 




Reflection on the recent race rioting in U.S. cities:
You will never succeed in getting at the truth if you think that you know, ahead of time, what the truth ought to be.

I continue to receive praise for my two books, “Discipline Without Stress” and “Parenting Without Stress,” and so I have finally decided to write a third book entitled, “Life Without Stress.”

This is where you have an opportunity to get involved with the project. My plans are to share each chapter with interested readers. Participants will be able to offer editing assistance and personal experiences that may be included in the book.

Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the book upon its publication.

If you are interested, here is the procedure:
Send an email to marv@marvinmarshall.com with the word “LIFE” in the subject area and you will be contacted.


People who display the “Impulse Management” poster and “Levels of Development” poster find them very helpful for students to reflect and improve their behavior. Unfortunately, the cost of manufacturing and shipping classroom size posters have become too expensive. However, a few posters are still available here.

Especially For Teachers and Parents

Due of the tremendous response to my new teacher and parent video program, DISCIPLINE ONLINE, I have decided to extend the special introductory price for a limited time.

To take advantage of this great opportunity or just learn more about how this program can help you when working with children and young adults, visit Discipline Online.


How would you use reflective questions with a seriously disordered youngster, say conduct-disordered or even anti-social personality disorder, to encourage them to reflect on their behaviors, and, hopefully, begin a better plan.

Start by asking a series of questions where the student will reply, “Yes.” Examples:
“Would you like to be in charge of what you do?”
“Would you like to have your teacher give you a choice of what to do? “
“Would you like to have a friend or two whom you can talk with when you feel bad?”

Then ask, “What needs to change to have these happen?”

Elicit a response. Then collaboratively develop a procedure (it can be a visual one) so that the youth knows exactly what to do if the situation in question occurs again. And if it does–and we know it will–then reference can be made to the procedure. If necessary, collaboratively develop another procedure. Persevere!

You may want to add a phrase I use at the end of my presentations: “Extend Yourself!”


One of my most used aphorisms is, “The quality of the answer depends on  the quality of the question.”

Here is an example from the film, “Billy Elliot,” where a young boy is interviewed to be accepted in a prestigious ballet academy in London, England. The male chair of the interviewing panel asked the usual question, “Why do you want to become a dancer?”

(Asksing “Why?” is a very ineffective reflective question because people have great difficulty articulating their motivation.)

As I expected while watching the scene, the young boy responded, “I don’t know.”

As the boy started to leave, a female member of the panel said, “Just one more question. What does it feel like when you’re dancing?”

The boy responded,
“It feels good. Stiff. But once I get going, I forget everything. Thoughts disappear. I feel a change in my whole body, like this fire in my body. It’s just there. Like flying, like a bird…like electricity. Yes, like electricity.”

The boy was admitted.


Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when dealing with a social partner:

1. Recognize that you can only control your own behavior. The more you try to control someone else, the less likely it is that the person will do what you want.

2. Differences in perceptions, opinions, needs, and wants need to be respected. The most effective way to accomplish this is to clarify your position rather than to attempt to convince the other person.

3. Recognize the other person’s opinions. People want to be recognized at least as much as they want to be appreciated.

4. Trust is critical. All parties must feel safe. Many a relationship gasped its last breath with the words, “I simply don’t trust you anymore.”

5. Disagreements and bad feelings are inevitable. The trick is to agree upon some procedure to resolve them when they erupt.

6. The top priority must be that the relationship takes precedence over the desire of either individual.

7. Keep in mind the supreme practice: Be kind to each other.


Bluma Zeigarnik, a psychologist and psychiatrist, is best known for her principle that the human mind can’t withstand its unfulfilled curiosity. A famous example of this is a 28-page story that grammatically never inserted a period until the last page. Point: without a period the reader is “compelled” (because of curiosity) to turn each page and continue reading.

Marketers use this principle regularly. “Don’t miss the next segment about….” “You will want to see what happened to….” “Stay tuned for our special guest.”

Curiosity is a fabulous motivator. This is the reason I would set up some activity at the start of every class for my students to grapple with. I always asked myself, “What can I present or do that will immediately create interest?

Nancie Atwell was recently awarded the first Global Teacher Prize, a $1 million award intended to be the “Nobel Prize of Teaching.”

She founded the Center for Teaching & Learning in Edgecomb, Maine, as a demonstration school where visiting teachers can learn her teaching approaches.

As with Discipline Without Stress, the following are key characteristics to her approach: empowerment (positivity), creating passion and interest (choice), and self-assessment (reflection).

Another key characteristic of her approach is that collaboration is far more effective for learning as compared to competition. Modules 28 and 29 of the online program show how to do it.


Some young people are spending an inordinate amount of time watching television or playing with technical devices. When the situation is such where you believe these excessive activities are not in their best interest, ask, “How will this make you happier or a more responsible person?” 


When dealing with young people, the advantage of giving three (3) options is that it reduces all coercion. This is especially the case with the “passive-aggressive” or “oppositional-defiant.” These young people often get their “power” by resisting. When three options are in play, the perception of coercion disappears. (So often these young people are prompted by “counterwill”—the natural human tendency to resist control of any kind.)

The conversation goes like this, “Would you rather complete the form by yourself, with someone to help you, or what would you suggest?” Usually, I would give two options and then say, “Or what would you suggest?”

The point is that with so many people, offering two (2) choices is still felt to be coercive. Offering three choices—especially if the third is elicited from the student—significantly reduces the feeling of being coerced or controlled.


Your program has been life changing for me, not only in my teaching but also at home. When I became familiar with your program, I was at the end of the most stressful teaching year I had ever had. I have put your principles into practice ever since and keep noticing changes in others. I also use your approach with my own two children, then 12 and 13, the girl now 17 and boy 18. They are incredible and we have a very stress free home life. Your program really works. —Heather Dyksma – Christchurch, New Zealand

Landmark  EDUCATION book: 

Award-winning PARENTING book: