Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – June 2016

Volume 16 Number 6 June 2016
Newsletter #179 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



When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion
—Dale Carnegie

This quotation is from Chapter 25, “Dealing with Difficult People,” of my book in process (26 of 27 chapters completed), “LIVE WITHOUT STRESS: HOW TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY.”

If you are interested in learning more about the book and reading a free chapter, view here. If you would like to be informed when this book is available, just send email to mailto:marv@withoutstress.com with “BooK” in the “Subject “line.


The eLearning program is now available for schools and organizations to purchase the program at discounts for multiple subscribers. Therefore, MY SCHOOL IN-HOUSE STAFF DEVELOPMENT is being discontinued at a FIRE SALE PRICE.

There are only 8 DVDs left in stock and they will not be reproduced. The price for the remaining ones with all the inclusions are available at the fire sale investment of $499 rather than $995. First come first served.


The updated Discipline Without Stress eLearning is offering a summer discount for the months of June and July. The coupon code is “SUMMER16” for the subscribers to this newsletter. After linking to the site, read READ MORE and scroll down to the FREE TRIAL ateLearning Discipline Online.


Recently published Without Stress Tips:
16 Remaining Unhappy
17 Overcoming Fear and Anxiety
18 Working with Fear
19 Employing your Nonconscious Mind



This is the first in a series of articles about FINLAND based upon my visiting a number of Finnish schools and sites. The reason that these articles will appear in this category is that Finland focuses on promoting responsibility starting in infancy. THIS IS IN CONTRAST TO MOST COUNTRIES—INCLUDING THE USA—THAT FOCUS ON OBEDIENCE.

As I have “preached” for years, “When responsibility is promoted, obedience follow as a natural by-product.” In contrast, when obedience is the focus, the result too often prompts resistance and even rebellion—especially with teenagers.

According to numerous studies, Finland is one of the best educational performing countries in the world. Interestingly, aside from international tests, Finland has no standardized testing of its own. They do not believe that achievement gains improve the lives of children.

So how do they score so high—especially considering that students start school at a later age than most countries (seven), take fewer classes, have a three-month summer break, spend less time in school per day, have barely any homework, and are rarely tested?

The following are a few key elements about the educational approach in Finland.

• Schools in Finland are decentralized rather than centralized. There are fewer than 20 people in their national education office. As a result, the school districts are empowered, and local agencies have more flexibility. One result of this approach is that teachers develop most of the curriculum. The Finnish approach is in stark contrast to that of the United States where power is increasingly centralized in the federal government rather than with state and local agencies.

• The national curriculum is tiny. Schools are obliged to implement the curriculum, but how it is done is totally up to the schools.

• Finland is very rigorous about their teacher selection. They recruit from the top 10% of university graduates and pay their teachers so well that the subject of money is off the table. The result is that teachers have a very high status, and classroom teaching is a lifelong career. Classroom teaching is considered a quality profession—not as a stepping stone to some other educational career such as counseling or administration.

• There is time in the school day for teachers to collaborate with colleagues. The teachers take collective responsibility for all students, not just the ones in their own classes.

• Discipline is not a problem. A prime reason is that young people are brought up to be responsible, a significant characteristic in the Finnish culture.


One of the founding fathers of modern psychology, Dr. William James, spent his professional life studying human behavior. He wanted to know what made people tick, and he wanted to know what brought out their best. He wrote a number of books on these subjects.

Near the end of his life, he was in hospital and received a plant from a friend. Dr. James wrote a note of thanks for the plant. As he wrote the note, he said that it suddenly dawned on him that the “deepest craving in human nature was the craving to be appreciated.” It seemed so obvious but he had overlooked it in his research.

He believed that the craving to feel appreciated is never satisfied. If you have people feel appreciated, he said, you will have power—not power over them but power with them.

When you have people feel genuinely appreciated, you stand out from the crowd because most people don’t bother to do it. Even though people might know they’ve done a good job, and even though they might know they’re appreciated, it is so necessary to hear it and even read it. The notes you write can be very powerful. Written notes take a bit more effort than simply saying something, and they are sometimes kept and reread for years.


Even when we disagree, it is almost always possible to find that an idea that might have merit. If you thank a person for an idea and explain the reason that it may have merit and even a reason you may disagree with it, you have acknowledged the person. This is true with adults and young people. Commit to listen; it may be a starting point to an important exchange of ideas.


In his book, “The Great Divide,” Studs Terkel talked about growing up in a Chicago public housing project. He was the youngest of ten children. His father died when he was in the 7th grade.

His mother worked as an assembly line worker and as a cleaning lady. She would constantly remind him of what SHE expected of him and not what others expected of him. “Be more than that,” she admonished. She preached continual learning to achieve excellence.

Terkel said, “If he came home without homework, she would ask, ‘You have homework?’ If he said, ‘No,’ she would ask, ‘Do you know everything?’ He’d say, ‘No.’ She’d say, ‘Well, you have homework now!’ ”

He wrote that his mother was right. The research makes it clear that the most successful people and the best leaders are always in the learning mode. They know school is never out.


We recently had solar panels installed on our roof to reduce our electric bill. (The plan we have is based on the solar company’s RENTING our roof for 20 years. The plan has no cost to us.) We were told to turn off all appliances for a very short period of time. Our printer had no surge protector and was not turned off. When the power was turned on again, the surge of electricity caused our printer severe damage.

The repair technician struck up a conversation with me about parenting his twenty-year-old DIFFICULT daughter who lives with him. He was trying to control his daughter who didn’t want to be controlled. So naturally I talked with him about some ideas in my parenting book. In the conversation I gave him some pointers, especially about not using coercion and asking reflective questions rather than telling her what to do. This approach will draw her out, and she will realize the responsible way to think and behave.”

The father was a good student. He carried my printer off to the factory for repair. Under his arm he carried a copy of my book “Parenting without Stress: How to Raise Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your own.”

The next week he returned with the repaired printer and the following story:

The other night about ten o’clock when he was dead tired and just getting into bed, he received a phone call from his daughter who was visiting a girlfriend.

“Dad, I was ready to drive home, so I walked outside and looked for my car. No car! It was stolen. My car was stolen. And I need a ride home.”

The father didn’t relish getting dressed and driving across town. But instead of scolding his daughter, which was his usual approach, he calmly asked her questions for her to realize the situation. He started by asking, “Are there any signs outdoors about no parking?”

Instead of answering with her usual attitude, she went outside and looked. “You were right, Dad. There was a NO PARKING sign where I had parked. I didn’t see it.”

Father: “Your car has been towed. It’s going to cost you $350 to get your car back.” He knew how hard-earned her money was, and the cost of getting her car back would deplete her savings. He thought that if he would pay the money, however, an important lesson would not have been learned.

Daughter: “What a way to learn a lesson!”

She spotted the parenting book and asked about it, since her father was acting so differently. “Did you get any ideas out of that book?”
Father: “That book is responsible for my new attitude. I’ll give it to you one day when you are raising children.”


I attended your session and am working your program in my third grade classroom. It has been quite successful thus far and the students are learning about their responsibility and choices when it comes to schoolwork and behavior.

My difficulty comes when working with children who use violence when they get angry. Three of my boys got in a fight yesterday at recess over the final score of their kickball game. They were hitting and kicking each other in the face. Needless to say, I am extremely upset with their behavior choices. How would you recommend I handle this situation?

Here are a few ideas:
• Be sure you have taught the impulse control technique and have ELICITED a consequence or procedure to help the students help themselves. Scroll down to the IMPULSE MANAGEMENT poster and/or cards.

• Teach “Solving Circles” explained in my education and parenting book.

• Put the incident on the agenda for a class meeting. Elicit suggestions from the students as well as from the entire class. This is a class problem and other students will give suggestions that you and/or the students involved would not have thought of.

Read about classroom meetings.


I heard Dr. Marshall speak at the California Association of School Counselors (CASC) conference in 2015. The reception after his presentation was so outstanding that, as the Los Angeles Unified School District’s representative to the CASC, I organized two seminars in Los Angeles for him to present. The first was for school counselors and the second was for assistant principals in charge of counseling.

Both drew large crowds and were highly successful. I particularly enjoyed his sharing his counseling experiences, techniques that can be implemented immediately, and the many hand-outs participants received to reinforce his counseling and discipline approach.

Alan Scher, Retired (40 years) LAUSD Teacher, Counselor & Administrator Core Adjunct Instructor & Fieldwork Supervisor at Phillips Graduate University & National University





Copyright © 2016 Marvin Marshall

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