Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – August 2011

Volume 11 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



“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
–Henry Ford


I will presenting 10 public seminars during the 2011-2012 academic school year with the Bureau of Educational Research.

If you live in or near one of the locations below, consider marking your calendar. As we get closer to each date, I will post information about registration.

January 30 Birmingham, Alabama
January 31 Atlanta, Georgia
February 1 Knoxville, Tennessee
February 2 St. Louis, Missouri
February 3 Springfield, Missouri

March 12 Winnipeg, Manitoba
March 13 Regina, Saskatchewan
March 14 Edmonton, Alberta
March 15 Seattle, Washington
March 16 Portland, Oregon


My newest $4.97 e-book, “Tips for Promoting Responsibility with Young People,” contains 25 specific recommendations for promoting responsibility with young people from the ages of two years and older.

Each page contains one specific technique that will show you how to have young people WANT to do what you would like them to do while at the same time reducing your stress, helping you to become more effective, and improving your relationships.

Learn more about “Tips for Promoting Responsibility with Young People


The Scientific American Mind magazine issue of July/August,
2011 has an article entitled, “STRAIN ON THE BRAIN”

The article contains some interesting items starting with, “A set of recent studies has just uncovered an important environmental instigator of neurodegenerative disease:

The article explains that scientists are finding stress to be more than a fleeting emotional setback. In some situations, stress can leave an indelible mark on the brain.

Researchers have catalogued the effect of stress on numerous psychological conditions such as depression and chronic anxiety. But only this year did evidence suggest that stress might be a key ingredient in cognitive decline.

Although high-pressure jobs and hectic lives might be doing some damage, stress is something we can control. Evidence suggests that simple interventions such as exercise, meditation, and getting enough sleep can help reduce the stress of life’s encounters.

I add that the three practices of viewing experiences with a POSITIVE mindset, realizing that we always have a CHOICE in our reactions, and asking ourselves REFLECTIVE questions can definitely reduce the stress we put on ourselves.


The “100/0 Principle” is a formula for developing effective relationships.

If you want to improve your relationship with anyone, according to Alan Ritter author of the 100/0 Principle, here is the formula: YOU take full responsibility for the relationship (the 100) and expect nothing in return (the 0).

As you take responsibility for a relationship, the other person does as well. Consequently, the 100/0 Principle quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100.

By being persistent in this manner, and with kindness and respect, you will likely change the dynamic of a relationship.

You can see a short video on this subject at http://www.100-0principle.com/


The schools in Atlanta, Georgia have been under investigation after a state investigator revealed cheating in nearly half of the district’s 100 schools. The district is considering imposing punishments on the teachers and administrators of the schools involved.

W. Edwards Deming, the late expert in increasing quality, would state that 95% of the blame belongs to the system. The reason is that the school district is basing its assessment on pressure to perform well on standardized achievement tests.

As Nido Qubein, president of High Point University in High Point, North Carolina has so eloquently stated:

“If the premise is erroneous, the question will be erroneous, the answer will be erroneous, and the outcome will be erroneous. Never allow erroneous premises to enter your life or you will be constipated in no time.”

Education in this country is constipated, and a significant reason for it is the use of standardized tests to measure learning and in some cases even teacher effectiveness. The premise, of course, is that such instruments are appropriate measures of learning and teacher effectiveness.

Anyone who is literate in testing and knows how these tests are constructed knows that standardized tests serve a good purpose–but measuring progress is NOT one of them.

The problem is at least twofold: (1) an erroneous premise is being used (standardized tests measure progress in learning and teacher effectiveness), and (2) the use of inappropriate measurements encourages and in some cases impels unprofessional conduct.

Atlanta is not alone with this problem. The only way to prevent such situations as in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.–to name just a few–is to evaluate learning (and teachers) with instruments that are valid and reliable. Standardized tests fail in this regard because they (1) exclude items that too many students mark correctly, (2) are aimed at spreading out scores in order to develop a bell-shaped curve–in contrast to a “J”-shaped curve that shows how learning is increased, (3) include many items that have nothing to do with what is taught, (4) include items that are based on students’
socio-economic backgrounds, and (5) are rarely aligned to the local curriculum.

In recent years, education in the United States has been predominantly directed by the federal government. Under the current federal policy of “No Child Left Behind”–that is, in reality, mandated to the states–82 per cent of USA school districts will soon be classified as “failing.”

Another faulty premise here is that the law classifies schools as either “passing” or “failing”–meeting an unrealistic standard or not. Progress is not even considered.

To avert this stigma of so many schools being classified as “failing,” the U.S. Secretary of Education will be issuing wavers across the country.

If federal, school leaders, and administrators expect professional behavior on the part of teachers, they should start with their own use of justifiable, reliable, and valid measures of progress.


Dr. James Sutton is a child and adolescent psychologist and an expert in dealing with ODD–“oppositional defiant disorder” (formerly referred to as “passive-aggressive”
behavior). Jim, a long-time friend and mentor, addresses the fears and worries that young people often express in their behaviors when things do not go well in their world.

To put it another way, frightened and troubled youngsters often act out.

In one of his newest videos, Dr. Sutton offers seven (7) specific actions parents can take to help these young
people: http://youtu.be/2uTa61bxBsM.

You can subscribe to Dr. Sutton’s articles on managing difficult and defiant youngsters and upcoming videos in his free monthly publication, the “ODD Management Digest”:


Kerry Weisner was invited to speak to the staff of the middle school where she had previously worked with emergent-level readers in the afternoons.

When she agreed to do the workshop, she understood it would be for the teachers of the seventh grade team. They had ordered the DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS (DWS) book and were seeing success in their beginning DWS direction. Due to the encouragement of one teacher (who had been using DWS for many years,) they had begun to FORMULATE COMMON PROCEDURES for their grade seven students. Even before they had read the book they were seeing some positive results.

A week before the workshop, Kerry was told that many other people were interested and that 30-40 people might be attending–including teaching assistants, student teachers, and administrators. This threw Kerry’s workshop plans into the air since she had tailored her presentation to TEACHERS ALREADY COMMITTED TO LEARNING AN APPROACH BASED ON INTERNAL MOTIVATION. She decided to change her focus and start from the beginning–the MINDSET ONE WOULD DEVELOP in order to be successful with DWS or even want to try it in the first place.

Since most of the audience would be hearing of DWS for the first time, Kerry decided to have them compare a DWS mindset with one more familiar to them–their own school’s approach to discipline.

The terminology of the middle school pamphlet sounded similar to a penal code. Each part of the conduct plan listed examples of possible offenses–ranging from from those labeled minor, to those considered serious, more serious, major, or more major.

Kerry asked the participants to work in pairs or small groups to share any overall impressions that developed when comparing their own school’s code of conduct (sent home every September) with “COMMONLY USED COUNTERPRODUCTIVE APPROACHES” downloaded from http://marvinmarshall.com/counterproductive_approaches.htm

They needed only a few minutes to see a difference. One teacher pointed out that everything in their school plan described negatives. Another said that their plan seemed to be more of what one would do when “true discipline” (using the term as it was originally meant: to convey the idea of “teaching” or “guiding”) had FAILED. He said that the staff had considered this discipline plan a “work-in-progress,”
but now he thought it should go in the trash and they should start over again.

Kerry’s purpose in posting her experience was to share this 10-minute activity with others who give DWS workshops. It could be helpful in ESTABLISHING THE DWS MINDSET that is quite different from the more typical thinking associated with traditional school discipline approaches that are coercive and negative.

More of Kerry’s posts are at http://disciplineanswers.com/


This book is a treasure trove for any parent. I know that for me, I struggle with staying calm and keeping my head at times when things get crazy or hectic. This book was so easy to read and full of amazingly practical examples and resources that any reader can follow and learn from. I have already tried to use a few of the examples and tips within the book and I am liking the results that I am seeing.

What I liked most about the book is that it empowers parents to empower their own children to make the right decisions as they get older. I know for me this is something that I am hoping that my daughters are learning from me. As a parent, one of the most important things I can think of is raising a responsible child. This book leads you in the right direction! If you are currently a parent or if you plan to be in the future, you should check out this book today!

–Dad of Divas

You can read more and see a video he posted at http://dadofdivas.com/book-review/book-review-parenting-without-stress