Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – August 2010

Volume 10 Number 8


  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


Discipline is the bridge between goals and their accomplishments.
–Jim Rohn (1930-2010)

At the recent National Speakers Association conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Edie Raether, creator of “I believe I can fly,” a children’s book, compact disk, and blanket for children 3 – 10. The package facilitates healthy life choices, develops problem solving skills, and instills hope and a positive belief system to increase self esteem.

The program is a character education program, an area I have been involved in since starting my approach with my first publication, “Fostering Social Responsibility”– responsibility being the foundation of all such programs.

“I Believe I Can Fly” is described at

Edie can be contacted at mailto:edieraether2@gmail.com.


Since stress can powerfully affect learning, you can predict that children living in high-anxiety households would not perform as well academically as kids living in nurturing households. Research bears this out: Children living in unstable emotional homes (those with conflict) get lower grades and do worse on standardized tests.

The stronger the degree of conflict, the greater the effect on performance. Such students are five times more likely to live in poverty. Teachers find emotionally distracted children so upset and preoccupied by the explosive drama of their own family lives that they are unable to concentrate.

With this as fact of life, how does the US Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” justify EVALUATING TEACHERS’COMPETENCY baaed on standardized tests?


The word “problem” indicates something is wrong; it is negative.

Instead, use some substitute word that does not prompt an immediate negative orientation. For example, referring to a “challenge” PROMPTS A DESIRE to resolve the situation, something the word “problem” lacks.


After receiving the assignment, the CNN photographer quickly called the local airport to charter a flight. He was told a twin-engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, “Let’s go.”

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and took off. Once in the air, the photographer instructed the pilot, “Fly over the valley and make low passes so I can take pictures of the fires on the hillsides.”

“Why?”asked the pilot.

“Because I’m a photographer for CNN,” he responded, “and I need to get some close up shots.”

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment. Finally he stammered, “So, what you’re telling me, is . . . you’re not my flight instructor?’

Never assume.


A woman bought a bottle of cod liver oil to give to her dog so he would have a healthier and shinier coat. Every morning, she pried the dog’s jaws open and forced the liquid down his throat. He struggled, but she persisted. “He doesn’t know what’s good for him!” she thought. Faithfully, each day she repeated the process.

One day, the bottle tipped over and she released her grip on the dog for a moment to wipe up the mess. The dog sniffed at the fishy liquid and began lapping up what she had spilled.
He actually loved the stuff.

He had simply objected to being coerced.

–With thanks and permission from http://www.jimgentil.com/


My visit to Athens earlier this summer, along with recent research readings about memory and the brain, bring to mind the ancient Greek Titan goddess of memory, Mnemosyne.

The message of modern memory research is that the brain is wired to recognize and organize CONNECTIONS and that rote memorizing is usually ineffective. Students are more likely to retain new information when they can relate it to what they already know.

Start by explaining the learning to yourself first–as if you were teaching it to someone who was unfamiliar with the concept. By using this self-talk approach, you will clarify and consolidate your own understanding. You can then relate it more easily to what your students have already learned.

After the teaching, emphasize to review the learning in SHORT SEGMENTS. There are no known upper limits on how much human beings can learn, but there are significant limits on how much we can remember at one learning session–SUCH AS WHEN CRAMMING.

Have students practice early (after the learning) and often.
This can start before the end of the period in some reflection activity before students leave.

If the connections between subject matter and students are relevant and personal to them, and if the learning is rehearsed several times, the learned material becomes part of long term memory.


My wife related the following experience to me:

About eight years ago at the grocery market, I found myself chit-chatting across the fish counter with an employee who was a young grandmother. Somehow, I told her my husband just published a book entitled, “Discipline Without Stress.”

She told me her three-year-old granddaughter was a handful and very strong-willed. The child’s mother, who worked away from the house all day, came home tired, and too impatient to try anything new. She continued to holler and coerce with punitive measures; consequently she could not control her child.

I said to the grandmother, “When you’re with the child, give her choices about everything.” I explained about letting the child have ownership. I told her, “Don’t tell the child anything; put everything into the form of questions.”

This grandmother took to the concept like the proverbial duck to water with superb reflective questions to her grandchild like, “Do you want to act like a grown up or continue crying?”

By the time the child was old enough to start school, she was ready and became very successful in school. I said to the grandmother (whom I continue to see at the market), “You realize you saved her.” She smiled and responded, “I know.”

The other day when I was in the market, the grandmother approached me and said, “I have a story for you. I have three grandchildren now. The oldest girl is eleven, the middle child is five, and the boy is three. They were all together playing. The eldest was playing ‘Nanny.’ That’s me.
I heard her say to the youngest, “Are you going to cry or. . . ?”


To read a fascinating story about teenage siblings and how a bad situation was easily resolved, link to http://parentingwithoutstress.org/
and click on the last link, “Click here to read an example.”


Two fundamental characteristics of both “Discipline Without Stress” and “Parenting Without Stress” are the practices of POSITIVITY and CHOICE-RESPONSE THINKING.

Kerry, in one of her recent posts, describes the picture book, “Pete the Cat.” The book beautifully illustrates these two characteristics. Her post that describes the book is at http://disciplineanswers.com/pete-the-cat-lesson/

If you are a primary school teacher or a parent of a young person, it will be worth your time to view the presentation at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUubMSfIs-U

Amazon lists the picture book for $11.55:


“We continue to have a very peace-filled school thanks to students making wise choices and attempting to be at Level C or D.

MaryLou Cebula, Principal Warren, New Jersey