Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – May 2016

Volume 16 Number 5 May 2016
Newsletter #178 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 



A failure is just a lesson to learn for the next round.
—Daniel Goleman

DISCIPLINE ONLINE ELEARNING has been updated with six of the 54 modules now available to view. Link to FREE TRIAL

On April 30, I presented a three-hour seminar to counselors, teachers, and parents in the Los Angeles area. I offered a special rate for the eLearning program to the 100 participants a $99.50. Since repetition is the mother of learning and since most people need to have a learning reinforced, the eLearning program has no expiration date to review the modules categorized into:
• Gaining clarity between classroom management and discipline,
• Three universal practices to reduce stress and influence others,
• The totally noncoercive (but never permissive) discipline program,and
• Using the Hierarchy of Social Development to increase learning

The program shows how to use authority WITHOUT coercion—a skill most leaders, parents, and teachers need to be taught how to implement.

If you are interested in increasing your effectiveness, improving your relationships, and reducing your stress, then take advantage of this special offer. Insert the special coupon “CASC” (California Association of School Counselors) at the very BOTTOM of the order form. THIS SPECIAL OFFER EXPIRES AT THE END OF THIS MONTH.

Although designed for individual use, multiple subscriptions to schools and organizations are now available in bulk form so that membership is transferrable. The program qualifies under most state and federal grants. QUESTIONS? Call 714.334.1882.


Recently published online Without Stress Tips:

11 Autonomy and Motivation
12 Counterwill
13 A Dirty Sponge
14 Listening, Caring, and the Story
15 Facing Adversity


Here is an example of how to have a student change attitude and behavior.

While working with a middle school for three days, I was asked by the counselor to conduct a discipline counseling session. The request was to work with a student who was a major challenge to the school.

The counselor sat in the session and observed how I used noncoercion and collaboration to prompt a change in the student’s attitude and behavior.

I started the meeting by asking the student, “What was the situation that brought you to the office?” Alicia (not her real name) replied that she had called someone a bad name.

I mentioned that it seemed to me the impulse of being unkind to a fellow student controlled her behavior. I explained that if a person cannot control an impulse, then the person becomes a victim of the impulse. I asked her if she would like to be in control of her life, rather than be victim of her impulses. She answered in the affirmative. I then asked her if she would be interested in learning how to control herself so she wouldn’t repeat the same kind of behavior. She said, “Yes.”

I asked what options or choices she could have chosen when she had the urge to call another student a bad name. She said that she could (1) do nothing, (2) say something nice, (3) tap a toe, or (4) draw something. After this discussion of possible choices, I asked her to stand and take a deep gasp. I gave her an impulse card that looks like a traffic signal with three colored lights. I explained that the red refers to taking a deep gasp of breath in order to stop and take a moment to reflect. The yellow represents thinking about options, and choosing one is indicated by the green for “go” with your choice. https://withoutstress.com/product/impulse-management-levels-of-development-cards/

I explained that the only way she could avoid being a victim of her thoughts or her feelings would be to redirect her thinking. After she practiced this procedure of gasping, thinking of options, and then choosing one, Alicia asked if she could keep the little impulse card. “It’s my gift to you,” I told her. (I had previously visited a math class where Alicia was sitting in the back of the room drawing cartoons. Also, an administrator had told me that she had hacked into a computer account, which indicated to me that she was academically capable.)

I wanted to assess her reading, so I gave her something to read, which she read very well. I complimented her on her reading skill. Since the incident happened during her math class, I asked her if she liked math. She said that she did not. She also mentioned that she did not like the “advisory class” that she had to attend because she preferred to be with her friends during this time. (The “advisory class” is a flexible program taken by all students in the early part of the year but devoted to remedial work with students as the year progresses.)

I asked her what she would like and, of course, she wanted to get out of the “advisory class” because she wanted to be with her friends. I asked her that, if this could be arranged, would she be willing to be tutored for two weeks in math? I also asked if she would practice impulse control during these two weeks. She said that she would.

I asked her to again demonstrate how the impulse control procedure works. After she had practiced the procedure, I turned to the counselor and asked him if math tutoring could be arranged. He said that since he is in charge of the “advisory class” he could, and he would arrange for Alicia to be tutored in math.

That concluded the discipline counseling session.

Later in the day, the counselor told me that Alicia told him that she not only liked me but far more importantly that she had changed her attitude.

In summary, the session was totally noncoercive. Nothing was imposed. The session was collaborative. I worked with the errant student—sharing and asking, rather than telling. Finally, the student left with a specific procedure to control future impulses.


Some Basic Truths:

1. You can control a person, but you cannot control their thinking.
2. You cannot change another person. People change themselves.
3. Coercion is temporary and prompts negative reactions.
4. Rewarding young people for appropriate behavior is counterproductive for promoting long term responsibility.
5. Imposed punishments are not nearly so effective as elicited procedures or consequences.
6. Posting punishments for classroom disruptions gives security; not knowing the consequence is much more effective in preventing inappropriate behavior.
7. Telling a person what to do encourages resistance.
8. Young people want to be responsible but coercion is counterproductive for success.
9. Teaching toward obedience often results in resistance.
10. When students are responsible, obedience follows as a natural by-product.
11. Classroom management and discipline are not synonymous.
12. Peer pressure is a significant factor in young people’s lives. Knowing how to identify it can assist in resisting it, especially when it comes to behaving in individually or socially or destructive ways.
13. Relying on rules places the teacher in the role of a cop—an enforcer—rather than a facilitator of learning.


Here is a simple but highly effective idea to improve relationships:

Periodically ask yourself, “Am I a joy to be around?”

Want to use a better approach?


Young people are different today. They are being bombarded by all kinds of experiences that former generations did not experience—including video games, play stations, smart phones, and anti-social values in the media.

Today classroom kids are more complex, diverse, distractive, and challenging—so their brain development is different.

Therefore, most young people do not learn by hearing alone. They need to see or do something if the learning is going to stay in long-term memory.


Father to son: “Listen to me!”

Son is thinking: “You should listen to me.”


From a teacher:

The initial excitement over giving rewards is what makes people believe they work. What six-year old doesn’t want stickers and a trip to the prize box? What fourth and fifth grader isn’t “motivated” to attend a dance or popcorn party? They all want the rewards. It’s making them conditional by tying rewards to behavior or grades.

In my class, I do give out stickers occasionally (from all the unsolicited donated ones parents send in). I tell the kids upfront that they won’t be getting any stickers or treats from me based on behavior or academics. That is conditional and controlling. No one likes feeling controlled and manipulated. My sticker giveaways are unconditional, just as my affection and regard for them is unconditional. So when I give out stickers everyone gets them “just because stickers are fun and I love you!”


Thank you so much for spending the day with us. It has really gotten the staff motivated again and the conversations afterwards as people were leaving were great. Everyone thought it was well worth their time! I always think that is half the battle in trying to get someone to improve themselves. So again, thank you!

I should add that the program works even better because you are so accessible (a phone call away) when there are questions about how to handle a difficult situation. So again, thank you.

Bobbie Darroch
Principal, Benchmark School
Phoenix, Arizona