with Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
(Click on the question to see the answer)
Marv, you have published a book on parenting without stress. Why did you choose this topic to write about this time?
Subscribers to my newsletter “Promoting Responsibility and Learning” requested that I write a book specifically for parents based upon the approach in my education book, “Discipline Without Stress® Punishments or Rewards.” Teachers used the approach at home and wanted more specific examples for various situations they could use with their own children. You can read an example at http://www.parentingwithoutstress.org/teenagers.pdf. Teachers also wanted to share the approach with parents of their students.
By the way, your readers should know that any school in the USA that has any grade pre-kindergarten to twelve can receive the education book for every faculty member at no charge by completing the online application at our charity
Self-esteem comes from feelings of accomplishments. When the bar is high and young people meet with success, their self-talk becomes one of “I can do it.” This leads to optimism, perseverance, and success in life.
When an adult uses authority when it is not necessary, young people will generally follow the desires of the adult. However, such OBEDIENCE LACKS COMMITMENT. When the adult empowers by using approaches of positivity, choice, and reflection (chapters 1, 2, and 3), then the young person becomes more motivated. Teaching, parenting, and most of life has to do with motivation. Motivation is greater when it comes from within, rather than through some external command. Superior teachers and successful parents plan on ways to empower others, rather than overpower them.
Motivational speakers refer to attitude as one of the most important characteristics for success. I simply reflected by asking myself, “What is it about attitude that is so important?” The answer is to have a positive attitude–hence, POSITIVITY, the state of being positive. In his best-selling and very influential book, “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life,” Martin Seligman refers to a person’s explanatory style. People who have this style are optimistic, view situations in challenging but positive ways, and are more persistent and successful.
Simple! Ask a REFLECTIVE question. The person who does the asking controls the conversation. However, asking reflective questions is a skill, and anyone can learn it. Asking questions such as, “What would you do if you could not fail?” and “What would an extraordinary person do in this situation?” will lead to success. The more commonly asked question of “Why are you doing that?” will get you nowhere when the young person responds, “I don’t know.”
They work in conjunction with each other. In the Raise Responsibility System, the youngster is ASKED to identify the level of behavior. Recognition is necessary before change is possible. If the youngster continues to act on an unacceptable level, then a procedure or consequence is ELICITED. In this approach the youngster owns the decision, and people don’t argue with their own decisions.
It should start in the infant stage. For example, the baby finishes the bottle of milk, throws it down, and likes the sound. The mother picks up the bottle. Not that the infant is aware of the situation, but in a way the infant is controlling the parent because the child sees the result of his actions. Next time, the wise parent gently takes the bottle before it is thrown. The entire book shows how to have the parent remain in control so that stress and extra effort by the parent are reduced while actuating responsibility in the young.
It is the EFFECT that any approach has which makes it worthwhile or not. Reliance on external approaches promotes relying on others. In order to pass on the democratic society we have inherited, it is essential that people act responsibly. Democracy and responsibility are inseparable. The Raise Responsibility System is so successful in promoting responsibility because of the effect it has of young people’s COMMITTING TO RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIORS–such as taking initiative to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, rather than someone telling them to do something, manipulating them with bribes, or threatening with punishments. Being able to differentiate between external influences and internal motivation empowers young people to resist in engaging in bullying and other irresponsible behaviors.
Very often! When a young person acts irresponsibly, we teach. We don’t assume the kid knows what to do without teaching. Yet when a teenager acts irresponsibly, do we use the same approach? Oftentimes not. But we should. Both parents and teachers make a major error when they assume young people know what to do without first giving clear, exact, specific, and precise directions
Your book has been very positively reviewed literally by parents praising it from all corners of the globe. Why do you think it has been so well received?
The approach is TOTALLY NONCOERCIVE–although not permissive. Coercive approaches, such as relying on rules (which carry with an enforcement mentality) and aiming at obedience, prompt stress when the young person does not do what the adult desires. The methodology in the book motivates young people to WANT to do what the adult wants. Even the slowest salesperson knows not to alienate the customer. Coercive approaches alienate.
Tough question: How does the single parent handle everything they have to handle while also parenting their child?
The answer is to follow the teaching model in the book. In summary: (1) don’t assume; teach, (2) communicate in positive terms, (3) empower with choice, (4) prompt reflection, and (5) use the Raise Responsibility system.
Thanks for asking. The multiple award-winning book can be purchased in the hardbound edition, as an e-book, as an 8-hour 8-disc audio set, and in Spanish in our website SHOP
My secret desire for the book! There is but one footnote in the book, on page 207. Just before I explain the counterproductive approaches of offering bribes and rewards for expected behavior, using threats and punishments to actuate long-term change, and telling people what do, I pose a request. I ask parents to take the initiative (Level D of the levels of social development) and share the Raise Responsibility System with the TEACHERS of their children.
I wish teachers of all grade levels to become familiar with the system and practices so that they may have as much satisfaction as I had when I developed the system. The more classroom teachers use the approaches described in the book, the more joy they will have teaching, the more motivated students will become, and the 50% dropout rate in our profession will be significantly reduced.