Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – October 2014

—Volume 14 Number 10


  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 pleasure is inherent in the responsible act. —Evelyn Marshall

The RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM is explained in Phase III of both the “Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model” and the “Parenting Without Stress Model.” The explanation of the system has been edited to make it easier to understand and implement.

A waitress came up to a customer, poured him a cup of coffee, and commented, “It’s a great day isn’t it?” He looked up at her and growled, “What’s so great about it?” She just looked at him and said, “Mister, you ought to try missing a few and you’d find out.”


An aspect of perseverance–a key characteristic of responsibility–is carrying out something long after the mood has left for doing it.

For example, if tomorrow the student is going to have a test the following day, the student may study that evening or may decide to get up earlier in the morning to study. Chances are better that if the studying takes place that evening when thinking about it, the student will be in more of a mood to study. Chances are that he won’t be in the mood to study in the morning even though he had planned on it.

This may not be true for everyone, but it was for me. When I became an assistant principal of supervision and control of a high school of 3,200 students and was attending many athletic and student body events, I would come home at various hours. Previously to this assignment, I had been running in the afternoons, but my new erratic schedule made this impractical.

I presented my dilemma to the track coach who suggested I run in the mornings. So the next day I set my alarm to get up earlier. Upon hearing the alarm the following morning, I recall my self-talk: “This is crazy” and went back to sleep.

I tried it again the next morning. With great apprehension, as I recall, I ran that morning. I have been running in the morning ever since.

My point is that on the first attempt when I was not in the mood, I did not do what I had planned to do. However, after the first time it was easy. And that is the reason that doing something when you are no longer in the mood takes perseverance.


Resiliency is a cousin of perseverance.

More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails.

A person can increase his or her level of resilience by developing mental and physical habits that foster a positive mental state.

A body of data, including studies of identical twins, suggests that certain personal characteristics that foster resilience may be at least partly inherited. These traits include a temperament that leads a child to confidently take on novel tasks and interact with unfamiliar people, as well as a good nature, social personality, and an ability to accept oneself, including our faults.

However, virtually any one can become more resilient through disciplined, consistent practice. The more we activate specific brain areas through our behavior, the more neural connections form in these areas enabling the neurons involved to transmit their messages more efficiently.

Self-confidence, prompted by thinking positively, provides a safety net against failure and bolsters our belief that we can overcome obstacles. As a result, we tend to be more active in confronting challenges rather than passively avoiding them.


 The great football coach Lou Holtz said, “It’s tough to get ahead when you waste your time getting even.” That’s the reason that condemnation has to be avoided. It’s a dead end.

Blaming, condemning behavior often starts with the “You” word. It comes out in phrases such as “You should…. You always…. You never…. or You’re the one to blame.”

Holtz related the story of being at a dinner party where a woman said to her husband, “There are two things wrong with your speaking. You get off the track.” Her husband asked, “What’s the second?” “You came back to it,” she replied.

Even though the wife might have shared the comment with a certain lightness, it was a condemnation nevertheless, and Holtz suspected the husband felt put down rather than amused.

If you’re the victim of someone’s condemnation, it naturally prompts negative feelings. So think twice before using “You” in conversation–even in jest–because of the accusatory nature of its effect.


1. Self-testing and asking “Why” questions are excellent ways to improve learning.

2. Underlining and re-reading can be ineffective and time-consuming. It may be that underlining draws attention to individual items rather than to connections between items. Highlighting or underlining can be useful if the marked information is then turned into flash cards or self-tests.

3. Practice testing works even when its format is different from that of the real test, given that repetition is so important to learning.

4. To remember something, short frequent learning episodes are more effective than fewer long ones.

5. When preparing for a test, plan enough ahead of time to review at least three (3) times. Review; then repeat the process two more times. You will grasp the material much better the second and third times. Repetition does more than help remember; it helps in making connections and understanding. In addition, preparing in this way leads to confidence and a positive mindset when taking the test.


We want our children to be happy, so we often give them things. The following point is NOT to stop giving items to our children; it is to point out how HAPPINESS is EARNED, not GIVEN.

Young people today are learning to have an “entitlement” mentality. For example, many teachers give kindergarten and early grade students stickers or other items for doing what the teacher requests. Parents also bribe youngsters by saying something like, “If you do this, then you will get….”

Without realizing it these practices set up a mindset of self-talk such as, “If I do what you want, what will I get?” After continually being given things, the young person now feels entitled. And if the reward is not forthcoming, anger may arise. Anger is antithetical to happiness.

In the past, people grew up learning to put forth effort in what they did. Whatever they received was a direct result of their efforts. The result was satisfaction. In short, people earned their happiness. 

It may be that future generations with an “entitlement” mentality will not be as happy as former generations.

My message to parents: Don’t do things for young people that they can do for themselves. If you do, you are depriving them of an opportunity for putting forth effort–and the satisfaction that comes as a result.


Here is a review of the reasons that schools have so many discipline problems

The school is now receiving the free materials.


The following is from a testimonial:

“I teach kindergarten and currently have 23 English language learners with varying levels of English proficiency. We have a school-wide plan that involves ‘flipping colored cards’ to guide behavior.

“This does not match the Discipline Without Stress method, so while I have the colored cards posted, I have ignored them so completely I don’t even think the children are aware of them. As it is still very early in the school year especially for ‘kinders,’ I am assuming that the child who doesn’t follow all the procedures doesn’t yet understand what is expected. So I teach what I expect and what the child’s response should be.

“I have two students who are attempting to be ‘class clowns.’ When I ask them where their behavior is and how they feel about it they quickly settle down. I have accomplished this without the threat of ‘flipping cards’ or getting a’yellow’ face in the daily agenda. –Mrs. Lucille Bloomer, Orlando, Florida

Notice the strategy or asking reflective questions. The Resource Guide has pages of examples.

Landmark  EDUCATION book: 

Marshall’s system has major strengths beyond those found in other systems of discipline. It makes sense and rings true for teachers. It focuses on developing responsibility, an enduring quality that remains useful throughout life. It removes the stress that students and teachers normally experience in discipline. It is easy to teach, apply, and live by. It is long lasting because it leads to changes in personality. Educators find these strengths especially compelling; hence, the surge of interest in Marshall’s model.”
–C. M. Charles, Building Classroom Discipline, 8th Edition (Pearson, 2005) pages 106-107

Award-winning PARENTING book: 

“Parents will find this book simple, practical, and highly valuable in reducing levels of frustration. It brings a brighter future.” –Aaron Grugan, Griffith, New South Wales, Australia