Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – February 2011

Volume 11 Number 2


  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



“I think that love and patience are better disciplinarians than rods” –President Andrew Jackson speaking to his niece Emily about raising children – Quoted in “American Lion:
Andrew Jackson in the White House” by Jon Meacham, page 320.


“101 Tips from Parenting Without Stress” is now available as a 24 page printable e-book for only $4.97. The publication highlights points from the multiple-award winning parenting book. See http://marvinmarshall.com/shop.

(NOTE: On occasion we have had problems with international orders. If you are located outside of North America, consider using PayPal. You can still use your usual credit card through PayPal without any additional charge.)


The site for USA schools to receive free books, a resource guide, a PowerPoint presentation, and a DVD for staff development has been simplified at http://www.disciplinewithoutstress.org/


The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. So, if you want responsible behavior, don’t expect it to just happen. You must tend to it.

Nurture responsible behavior by having high expectations, promoting decision-making at early ages, not accepting victimhood thinking, and not doing things for young people that they can do for themselves.

People grow through struggle–as the following thoughts suggest.

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal.”
–Victor Frankl

“Need and struggle are what excite and inspire us.”
–William James

“We take no delight in existence except when we are struggling for something.” –Arthur Schopenhauer

“The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win it without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honor. If there were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.” –Samuel Smiles


Try this little exercise.

While sitting, let you shoulders slump, look down, and notice how you feel a little weak and lacking in energy.

Now pull your shoulders up, put your chest out, and notice how your demeanor changes. Next time you feel bad, change your posture and notice the effect it has on your feelings and effectiveness.

Here is a variation to consider. Look up at the ceiling and smile. Now try to feel bad. Challenging, isn’t it?

When we give students tests, we tell them to keep their heads down at all times. This is counterproductive.

Let me show you how this works. In your mind’s eye, count the number of windows in your residence.

If you were aware of what you were doing, chances are your eyes moved up and to the left. That is how the body works to recall information. Yet, rather than teaching with the brain in mind, we engage in counterproductive activities. We tell students not to look up when they are taking a tests, but they should. Looking up engages memory.

The eyes, the brain, and emotions–they all work together.

Other counterproductive approaches that do not consider this relationship are suggested at http://marvinmarshall.com/counterproductive_approaches.htm


Two boys were playing in a sandbox and they began fighting.

One boy said, “You’re not going to be my friend. I’m never playing with you again.”

For five minutes the boys played at opposite sides of the sandbox. Slowly they began to edge closer and closer to each other until after a few minutes, they were playing with each other again.

Observing the boys, one parent asked the other, “How do children do that? How can they be so angry at each other one minute and the best of friends the next?”

The other parent responded, “It’s easy. They choose happiness over righteousness.”


The February 2011 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN has an interesting article entitled, “How Language Shapes Thought”
on pages 63-65. The article states, “The last decade has seen a host of ingenious demonstrations establishing that language indeed plays a causal role in shaping cognition.
Studies have shown that changing how people talk changes how they think.” (page 65)

The power and importance of language and especially vocabulary was reinforced to me years ago when I read George Orwell’s “1984”–written in 1949 at the beginning of the cold war. The book is about how the world of the future could be with Big Brother watching you.

In this classic book, George Orwell demonstrated the power of words, using the example of the term “freedom.” If there were no such term, how would the concept be imagined, envisioned, and communicated? Big Brother eliminated everything regarding freedom. Orwell demonstrated that if you don’t have a word to articulate the concept, you eliminate the concept itself.

The reverse is also true. Having a term, such as “democracy,” conjures up the concept of the importance of responsibility on the part of citizens in order for people to rule themselves.

This is the prime reason that the highest level of motivation in the Hierarchy of Social Development is referred to as “democracy.”

Although the term was deliberately chosen, it is not the word alone that is essential. It is what young people become after learning the difference between INTERNAL motivation (Level D – democracy) and EXTERNAL motivation (Level C – cooperation/conformity).

Language, therefore, not only assists communication, it helps shape thought.

Give young children a cookie and say to them, “I will return in a few minutes and I will give you something else if you haven’t eaten the cookie until I return.”

If you were to watch the young ones through an observation window, you would see some youngsters talking to themselves attempting to control their impulses. Those without language skills will be seen making all kinds of contortions and movements in attempts to control themselves.

Here is another example. Saying, “I am angry” communicates a state of being. In contrast, as soon as we phrase the emotion as an action such as, “I am angering,” we immediately become aware that we are making a choice to anger–even though we may not be aware of it. Changing the adjective to a verb empowers you to choose your response to an emotion.

Control is easier with appropriate language.


A local television anchor closed his show one evening with the homily, “There is one sure way to make people worry.
Tell them not to.”

The same is true for other undesirable behaviors. What follows a negative command is what is pictured in the mind, such as “DON’T picture an elephant underneath a palm tree.”
“DON’T wet your bed tonight.” The person sees the vision, not the “DON’T.”

Starting today, use positive phrase to yourself and to others so that the brain pictures what you WANT (rather what you don’t want) as in, “Let’s see if you can keep your bed DRY tonight.”


It’s important to uncover what’s causing a troublesome situation–rather than just treating the symptom.

A teacher walked into her classroom after a rainy weekend and discovered a puddle of water in the middle of the floor.
She called the custodian and told him what was wrong. He came and mopped up the puddle. The next morning, the scenario was repeated.

When the teacher walked in the third day to find yet another puddle, she called the head custodian and explained, “This is the third day in a row this has happened. Could you please come and take care of it?”

When he showed up a few minute later, he didn’t even have a mop. The teacher asked with a puzzled look, “How are you going to mop up the puddle?” He replied, “I’m not. I’m going to fix the leak.”

Too often when someone says or does something that doesn’t meet our standards, people “mop up the puddle.” They react to what’s happening on the surface instead of seeking the source of the problem and attending to that.

With so many students having so many problems and challenges these days, it behooves us not to jump to “fix-it judgments”
–instead of taking a moment to elicit from the young person the reason behind something and then adjusting for a solution to the situation.


Dear Dr. Marshall,

We have succeeded in implementing Discipline Without Stress this year in our school.

We applied your discipline system to our preschool (250 children between 3 to 6-year-olds) in Santiago, Chile.

Although the children involved are only preschoolers, we noticed that they are now able to solve their problems without violence. The older ones (5 to 6 year-olds) talk and try to solve problems by themselves, while the younger ones have stopped accusing, and they now attempt to solve problems with the help of their teachers. Fights have almost stopped.

In short, this was a complete success.

Thank you ever so much for having had this wonderful system of how to teach discipline to children, how to respect them, and how to build a wonderful educational atmosphere.

This discipline system is something that all schools should use throughout the world if we want to make this a better place to live.

Ciola Bolton
Santiago, Chile