Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – April 2012

Volume 12 Number 4


  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



Almost every significant breakthrough is the result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking.
–Stephen R. Covey, Principle-Centered Leadership, p.67


If you reside in the Southern California area, you may be interested in attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This famous book fair–one of the largest in the USA–will be held on Saturday, April 21, and on Sunday, April 22, at the University of Southern California.

The event is free. If you attend, please stop by my booth # 539 in the children’s area. I will be available to answer any questions or concerns you have.

If you are a book lover, this is an event not to be missed.

My websites have been redesigned in an effort to make them easier for parents, teachers, and schools.

If you find something that is not clear or needs to be corrected, please e-mail me at mailto:Marv@MarvinmMrshall.com and include the address of the site in your memo to me.

Additional information will be added–including my articles, “The Parenting Without Stress Model,” and a parent assessment inventory.

NOTE: The amount of spam I receive on a daily basis has been overwhelming. To reduce my time on deleting spam, I am now using a program referred to as BoxTrapper. If you send me an e-mail, you will receive the following response:

The message you sent requires that you verify that you
are a real live human being and not a spam source.

To complete this verification, simply reply to this
message and leave the subject line intact.

This is a one-time only procedure. When you reply, your e-mail address will be automatically added to my “white list.”

In addition to the updated Marvin Marshall website, all of my products have been moved to a new publishing website, Piper Press.

“CHILDREN OF RAINBOW SCHOOL” (2nd Edition) is a new e-book that will be of great interest to anyone working with children. You can read about it at http://piperpress.com under both the “Education” and “Parenting” categories. If you deal with children, you will find this inexpensive e-book to be a wonderful return on your investment as you teach the Hierarchy of Social Development.

The 100-page Resource Guide that I use in my presentations is now also available for your use. The Resource Guide is an adjunct to help implement Chapters 1 and 3 of the new 2nd Edition REVISED education book:

Here is the Prelude to the new 2nd Edition REVISED:

Tom Sawyer INSPIRED others to whitewash Aunt Polly’s
front fence. Tom was a better psychologist than any

Behaviorists believe that all behaviors are acquired
through conditioning. They rely on EXTERNAL sources to
actuate change. They completely neglect the INTERNAL,
which is a prime reason that neuroscientists do not rely
on these approaches for humans.

Unfortunately, a carrot and stick approach–used to train
rodents, birds, and animals–is employed in much of
education and parenting. Although behaviorism is touted
for special education students who are given tangibles to
reinforce desired behaviors, this approach is often used
now (and in some cases mandated) for ALL students.

Although external sources can CONTROL, they cannot CHANGE

In addition, external sources focus on obedience, but
obedience does not create commitment.

In contrast to using external, manipulative, and reactive
behaviorist approaches, DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS is so
successful because it is proactive, totally noncoercive–
yet not permissive–and inspires, prompts desire, and
drives commitment for responsible behavior and learning.


This is from a post from the mailring:

For a student who continually blurts out and argues with the teacher, our usual number-on-the-board and 2-minutes-in during recess hasn’t worked. He just keeps blurting out.


Marv’s first course of action is always to try helping an impulsive student (such as one who keeps blurting out) by establishing a procedure that will help the student control impulses.

Once in my own school, Darlene helped a grade four teacher with a student who continually disrupted the class by blurting out. The teacher had the boy stay in at lunch to teach him a procedure. He was given some poker chips that were in the math manipulative bins.

The procedure was simple. Any time he wanted to say something to her, he was taught to move a chip from one side of his desk to the other side and then raise his hand.
Having a pile of chips on his desk made the process very concrete, and the secret to the success was the eight times of practice.

She explained that the brain needs at least eight times of practice to learn a new habit, so they would need to practice many times. She pretended to teach to the class in various subject areas (math lesson, punctuation lesson, etc.). He practiced moving the chip over and raising his hand before speaking.

It was noncoercive and the boy had a good enough relationship with the teacher that he was willing to try something that she asked of him. Establishing a good relationship with the most troublesome students is well worth the energy. She also focused on how much better he would feel about himself if he could show the same self-control the other kids his age were able to exhibit. In this way, his blurting out was shown to be what it truly
was: IMMATURITY RATHER THAN MISBEHAVIOR. He didn’t like the idea of being immature. Even young people would rather think of themselves as mature rather than immature, so he decided to change what he was doing.

Kerry in British Columbia


Persuasion is the art of convincing others to do things your way. Roger Dawson is a friend of mine in the National Speakers Association and an expert on negotiation skills. He relates in his book, “Secrets of Power Persuasion,” that there are 7 ways people can be influenced: (1) if they think you can reward them, (2) if they believe you can punish them, (3) if you know how to apply those dual pressures successfully. However, people will be more easily persuaded
(4) if you have bonded with them, or (5) if a given situation limits their options. People will also do things your way (6) if they think you have more expertise than they have, or (7) if they find that you always behave in a fair and consistent manner.

Dawson warns against the first idea–rewarding people–by explaining that it is subject to the laws of diminishing returns and it is the most expensive way of getting things done. Neither is exercising the power to punish people a very good tool because fear is not a positive motivator (but it is undeniably a persuasive force). Real power comes from knowing when and how to apply those two forces, often called “the carrot and the stick.”

Taking the time to bond is a more powerful technique. Being perceived as friendly makes the task of prompting change a lot easier. Also, as people become convinced that you have more expertise than they have, they are more likely to want to do things your way. Finally, showing that you have consistent standards and values lets people know they can rely on you, and this trust can be translated into a very powerful persuader.


The following are types of aggression that hinder good relationships. They should be discussed with young people.

PHYSICAL: hitting, punching, kicking, tripping, pulling hair scratching, biting, pinching, throwing things at someone

VERBAL: name calling, threatening, mean words, incessant teasing

EMOTIONAL: laughing at someone, hurtful imitating, mocking, making faces, excluding, ignoring


“Work” in employment and “work” in learning both require effort. However, employment and learning are so different that I devoted the epilogue in my education book to the differences between them. The differences are so significant that the only time I use the word “work”–as in “homework”–is in the index.

With this in mind, enjoy the following e-mail I received.

Have you heard about the next planned “Survivor” show? Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for six weeks.

Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum and a class of 28 students.
Each class will have five learning-disabled children, three children with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two children who speak limited English. Three children will have severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least three days in advance with annotations for curriculum objectives, and modify, organize, or create materials accordingly.

They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange and attend parent conferences.

They must also supervise recess and monitor the hallways.
They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, and curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor those students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the standardized tests.

If sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show. Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment at all times.

The business people will only have access to the golf course on the weekends, but on their new salary they will not be able to afford it anyway. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to 30 minutes.

On days when they do not have recess duty, the business people will be permitted to use the staff restroom as long as another survival candidate is supervising their class.

They will be provided with two 40-minute planning periods per week while their students are at special events. If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials at this time. They cannot surpass their daily limit. They also must continually advance their education on their own time at their own expense.

The winner will be allowed to return to his or her non-education job.



How do you handle a child who simply refuses to do homework?
I have asked reflective questions and spoken to him positively, and he is well aware of the various levels and choice when he’s refusing to do his homework, but none of this has actually made any impact on his actually DOING the homework. Please help.



Doing homework is NOT a behavioral discipline problem.
Homework falls into the category of instruction and learning. There are three prime purposes of assigning
homework: (1) reinforce what has been taught, (2) create interest, and (3) learn something new.

No one can force another person to learn. The person will do homework only if motivated to do so. If there is no motivation, don’t expect it to be done.

Homework is not a requirement for success in life. With this in mind, however, here are a few suggestions:

(1) Elicit from the student the reason that homework was assigned. Then (2) elicit the student’s motivation for not doing it. After you have prompted the student to reflect and articulate on both, then let the student know that you will no longer attempt to force homework to be done.

The message to give to him is that it is his life–that you will do your best to help him direct what will be beneficial for him but that he makes his own decisions.

Your most effective approach will be this elimination of all coercion and through his own reflecting. These are your best apporaches to prompt a change.


The following is from an April 1 response to a post by a special education teacher at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisciplineWithoutStress/

I also teach special education. I think it is a long, slow process but DWS offers one of my best tools.

I frequently refer to the idea that their behavior dictates what type of teacher they have. The same applies to their relations with others. If an incident occurs, I show them how their behavior contributes to others’ behaviors. If they get pushed, what did they do first to “ask for” the push?
What was their body language? Did they say or do something or try to be first?

It’s a lot about showing cause and effect. We talk about what it is they really want. Is it worth the price they pay?
Also, is there another way to get what they want? With young kids it’s hard because they are “all about me” and often being first is worth any price. The important thing is to point out that they are choosing to be pushed or hurt if they try to be first.

Always show them they are never a “victim.” They choose what happens by their behavior. For bullying, we talk about why the bully picks on them (because the bully gets a response).
They are weak enough for the bully to go after. What can they do in order NOT to be weak? We discuss different actions. We role play what happens when anger meets anger or pushing gets pushing. (It escalates back and forth until someone is hurt).

Don’t expect them to get it over night.

You might be able to do 5 or 10 minutes daily in a class meeting and help things along. Building self-esteem in special ed kids is always a challenge.


The EDUCATION book: 

“I continue to work with student teachers at the university and find classroom management to be an area that is most difficult for them. It is a topic that isn’t adequately addressed in course work or textbooks. Your work is the exception and what is so apparent to me is your desire to really make a difference in education. You are on my list of educational heroes along with the late Madeline Hunter.”

Bob Sullivan
Woodbury, Connecticut


The PARENTING book: 

Dear Dr. Marshall,

“I have been struggling with my five-year-old who knows his own mind. Coercion was not working! I was at a complete loss until I tried your approach. I had never tried anything like it. Your methods have definitely improved our relationship.”

Karen McCormick
Norco, California


The following is from a recent SEMINAR evaluation:

“This was an absolutely amazing seminar. I was surprised to learn that everything we are doing at my school is the opposite of how to motivate students. Thanks Dr. Marshall for providing me with the tools to assist in motivating my students and helping me to help them become productive citizens in society.”

Jason S. 5th grade teacher
St. Louis, Missouri

Esperanza B.
Clyde Hill, Washington