Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – December 2005

Volume 5 Number 12


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Promoting Learning

 6. The Raise Responsibility System

 7. What people say


May the holiday season be of good cheer, good health, joy,
peace, and gratefulness.


In the five years that this monthly newsletter has been
distributed, there have been but two mailings other than the
newsletter. Both were sent this month and were directed to
users of the Raise Responsibility System itself:

Following are a few points about it:

1. It is the only discipline approach that is a total system
(three parts forming a whole: teaching, asking, and
eliciting), rather than a list of techniques, strategies,
or tactics.

2. It is the only discipline program in the world for youth
that is entirely noncoercive.

3. It is the only system that implements current knowledge
of the interaction between the brain and emotions to actuate
positive behavior change.

4. It is the only program anywhere that does not use
external devices such as threats, manipulations, or bribes
to promote the desire both to behave responsibly and to put
forth effort to learn.

5. It is the only system in the world that can be used
with youth of any age, in any grade level, with any subject
matter, in any school, or in any home setting.

6. It is the only approach that empowers young people to
resist both victimhood thinking and peer influence that may
lead to irresponsibility.

7. It is the only system promoting responsible character
development that does not rely on any external agent.

Dr. Judith Lapointe with the University of Houston would
like to share the Raise Responsibility System at the next
meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
However, she would first like to determine the success of
practitioners using the system.

Her report is a rare opportunity to inform a major research
institution that the system is more effective in promoting
responsible behavior and learning than approaches using
threats and coercion or manipulation and bribes.

The special mailings were sent in an attempt to help the
research. If you have had success using the system, please
share your experience(s) with her in the next few days.


Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a developmental and clinical
psychologist specializing in parenting and working with
children, interprets discipline as most successful when
aiming at a child’s mind, rather than focusing on the
behavior–exactly my approach.

Kerry Weisner has attended some of his seminars in
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and shares some of his
ideas that, as she states, mesh so well with the RRSystem.

One of his approaches is to have positive things to say in
discipline situations. He does this by encouraging
reflection. He gives prompts that empower. Dr. Neufeld has
used this approach with his own children when they were
young and still uses them now in their twenties. Kerry has
adopted this approach both at home and school and attests
to its value.

For example, if Dr. Neufeld has something he wants a child
to do–such as a chore, writing a thank-you card, or doing
homework–Dr. Neufeld makes a request or gives a suggestion
by saying, “It would be good if you __________.” He then
follows up with, “Can I count on you to do this?” He calls
this “soliciting good intentions.”

Kerry reports using this many times at school and at home
with both of her teenagers. The approach is noncoercive and
promotes a positive way to engage cooperation. To share
Kerry’s words, “It puts people in charge and has them feel
what it’s like when others count on them. It makes people
feel important. When people know that others are counting on
them, there’s a great inner incentive to carry through with
the request or the job because most people don’t want to let
others down. A person wants to think of oneself as someone
who can be counted on.”

Dr. Neufeld notes that this approach is only effective with
a child or student who feels some attachment to the adult.
He points out that it is useless to try to encourage young
people who don’t care for you, that they should do something
just because you are depending upon them.

Using the three practices of being positive, offering
choices, and prompting reflection significantly improves
relationships and can increase feelings of attachment.

Kerry continues with another phrase that is helpful with a
youngster who has done something that shouldn’t have been
done, has misbehaved, or has had to suffer the results of a
bad choice: “I know you meant to _____________. What went

This phrasing sends the message that you think highly of the
person regardless of the negative situation and that you
know the person didn’t really want to end up with the bad
results on purpose. It let’s you separate the “deed from the
doer.” It demonstrates empathy, and it opens the gate for
the young person to really think back over the whole issue
without getting defensive. It puts you in the position of
coach, rather than cop.”

Dr. Neufeld’s website is at http://www.gordonneufeld.com/


Why would people want to hear criticism from someone else?

Criticism promotes negativity, rather than positivity.

Criticism puts a person on the defensive and usually prompts
the person to justify the actions. It is also dangerous
because it wounds a person’s precious pride, impinges on
one’s sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

Even B.F. Skinner proved through his experiments that an
animal rewarded for good behavior will learn much more
rapidly and retain what it learns more effectively than an
animal punished for bad behavior.

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing
with creatures of logic. We are dealing with people who are
driven by emotions, creatures bristling with prejudices and
motivated by pride and vanity.

Smart communicators do not judge people by the gauge of
their own years and experiences. Instead, they prompt people
by asking nonthreatening reflective questions such as, “If
you had the opportunity to relive that experience, what
would you do differently?”


“I love you too much to argue with you.”

–Jim Fay
Love and Logic Institute.


From “The Clearing House,” September/October 2005 – Special
Issue on Classroom Management for Middle and Secondary

“In an attempt to provide ideas and ways to make middle and
secondary schools physically and psychologically safe, we
asked a number of experts to write articles for this special
symposium edition of ‘The Clearing House.’ Rather than
prescribing specific writing topics, we asked the authors to
share their beliefs on what contributes to classroom
management and to making middle and secondary schools safe.”
–Guest editors, page 5


The article entitled, “Discipline without Stress,
Punishments, or Rewards” (Pages 51 – 54) begins as follows:

The subject of discipline is often confused with
classroom management.

“I appreciated your differentiation between classroom
management and discipline. After 35 years in the
classroom, I can see how so many times discipline
problems are exacerbated by poor management.”
(Baiotto 2003).

Although related, classroom management and discipline are
distinctly different topics.

The entire article is online and can be duplicated at


Harry and Rosemary Wong have published a new online course
in classroom management. This is not a lecture course, but a
cutting edge, interactive course where you will create your
own classroom management binder. You can see a preview of it
at http://www.classroommanagement.com/


The RRSystem, inclusive in the MARVIN MARSHALL TEACHING
MODEL, is outlined at

is described at



I am to document strategies that I have done with a student
who gets very mad and loses his temper. He yells, refuses to
move, etc. He is a very active little boy.

Please help. Do you have any ideas that are not cumbersome
that can be directly documented. In this documentation, I
need to show if he is improving. I have introduced the
levels of behavior. I have trouble being consistent with the
follow up. I guess I need to reread that part of the book.
Any ideas?


Review the impulse management technique described in the
book on pages 153-155. It can be reviewed at

In a conversation with him, say something like, “Every time
you get angry, you are a victim of your impulses. Do you
really want to go through life being a victim? If not, let’s
establish a procedure so that when you get angry again, you
can redirect your thinking and be in control–rather than
becoming a victim.

The procedure can be to take a gasp of breath (as alluded to
in the first paragraph of my response) or any other
technique that you suggest or that he creates. As the
procedure(s) are used, the less often he will get angry and
the less intense his anger will be.

To help him in this positive approach, for him to realize
that he has the choice of how he responds to his impulses,
and to help him reflect, have the STUDENT keep the required
record. If YOU keep the record of his improvement, it will
be depriving him of the opportunity to become more
responsible and gain satisfaction from his successes.

I also suggest you post your question at
You will get some additional ideas.

7. What People Say

“Our staff has been working hard to eliminate coercive
practices from our interactions with students. Your
strategies helps us move closer to our goal.”

Ruth Foster, Principal
Winans Elementary School, Lansing, MI