Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – January 2011

Volume 11 Number 1


  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


Happy New Year to all subscribers who have joined me–some for many years. I inaugurated this newsletter ten years ago and am grateful for the interest people have shown in it.


Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
–Viktor Frankl


My post on commonly used counterproductive approaches has been updated and is now available as a one-page pdf. See the upper right corner at:

Regarding this same topic, Kerry
(http://disciplineanswers.com) shared a video featuring Barry Schwartz, who shows how relying on rules and incentives have unwise results because they lack wisdom.

My efforts to transform education are articulately expressed as he concludes with keeping a profession true to its proper mission. This especially applies to the teaching profession where teachers want to be virtuous, but current practices of rules and incentives hamper such attempts.

Kerry indicates that it’s so much easier to use wisdom with Discipline Without Stress (DWS) because its structure focuses on individual students being ASKED (for future plans, for suitable consequences, etc.) about what they think should happen in any given situation.

Be prepared to invest a little time when you hear and watch the video at http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_using_our_practical_wisdom.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2011-01-04&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email


Free DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS books for U.S. Schools:

The application process for schools whose teachers who want to try DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS–the PROACTIVE and TOTALLY NONCOERCIVE (but not permissive) APPROACH–has been made easier.

Although all teachers at the school need to be informed about the approach, ONLY INTERESTED TEACHERS NEED TO PARTICIPATE.

The application process is online at


The multiple award-winning book, “PARENTING WITHOUT STRESS”
is now available in the following formats: hardbound book, e-book, unabridged 8-hour audio disc set, and in SPANISH as a paperback. See http://ParentingWithoutStress.com/

Listen to the introduction and an example from the audio at http://marvinmarshall.com/shop/pws.htm


I was comfortably seated in an airplane ready for take-off on a flight to California. I had just started reading my book when the pilot announced there would be a two-hour delay; Los Angeles International Airport was fogged in.

After a few minutes of additional reading, I gazed up from my book and discovered that I was one of the few passengers who had not deplaned. Even with a good read, adding two-hours to the three-hour flight seemed a little long to remain seated. I left my materials, already in the overhead storage compartment, and returned to the airport terminal.
After a half-hour of strolling and shopping, the thought occurred to me that, if the fog in Los Angeles lifts, the plane might take off sooner than the two-hour announced time. I quickly returned to the loading area and watched my plane depart with my coat, seminar materials, and luggage.

This was a situation I could have avoided if I had not have gone strolling but had stayed in the passenger loading area and heard the updated loading announcment. Although at that moment I could not have changed the situation of having missed my flight, I could still choose my response. Getting angry would have been useless. I checked the departure schedule, arranged for a later flight to Los Angeles, and told an official my belongings were on the plane. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, I found my coat, materials, and luggage waiting for me. I felt pleased that I had taken a rational approach to the situation.

We all experience situations that are beyond our control, either momentarily or permanently. We are confronted with weather and other natural forces, with inconveniences, unpleasant assignments, unrewarding family or work relationships, and numerous situations that we cannot change. However, WE CAN CHOOSE OUR RESPONSES TO THESE SITUATIONS.

Victor Frankl, the psychiatrist who survived Nazi death camps, experienced situations beyond his control. Yet, he taught that a person has the power to choose one’s thinking even in the most terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. Although conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food, and various mental stresses suggest that the concentration camp inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it became clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, not the result of camp influences alone.
Even under such extreme circumstances, a person still has one freedom: “the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to chose one’s own way.” (Viktor Frankl, MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING, p.

I refer to this as choice-response thinking described in an article I wrote for Education Week:


TIME MAGAZINE, November 19, 2010 p 61:
“STRIKE A POSE New data show the way you sit or stand can make you feel more powerful”

A team of researchers at Columbia and Harvard wondered if power can manifest itself in posture–that is, whether certain postures could make people feel more commanding.

It was found that cortisol and testosterone levels significantly changed for most people after they had been placed in high power postures. Conversely, testosterone levels fell significantly in participants who were placed in low power positions–those who had to either sit with shoulders slumped or stand with ankles cross and arms hugging the torso.

The paper builds on earlier research showing that if you hold a pencil in your teeth–which forces your facial muscles to approximate a smile–you will report feeling happier. The researchers have a useful phrase for how posturing the body can change the mind. It’s called “the effects of embodiment.” Their findings support the notion that “You really can fake it until you make it.”


Active listening is a term with which most are familiar. It means constructively engaging in the act of interpretation while capturing the information being presented. Stephen R.
Covey in his classic book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” points out that most often we do not listen with the intention of understanding; instead we listen with a focus on replying.

Dr. Covey says that when another person speaks, we’re usually “listening” at one of four levels.

1) We may be ignoring another person, not really listening at all.

2) We may practice pretending. “Yeah. Uh-huh. Right.”

3) We may be practicing selective listening, hearing only certain parts of the conversation. We often do this when we’re listening to the constant chatter of a preschool child.

4) We may even practice attentive listening, paying attention and focusing on the words that are being said.

But very few of us regularly practice the fifth level, the highest form of listening: “empathic listening.”

Practicing empathic listening requires silencing our own inner thought processes and absorbing the information being presented. The results of this type of listening can be profound in a number of ways–including our growth and improving relationships. The reason is that this type of listening assists our understanding of other people’s viewpoints.


Here are four (4) practices for effective instruction:

1. Students are first exposed to the learning goal.

2. Students activate prior knowledge (a scaffold) that would connect to the new information.

3. Students actively participate in the lesson.

4. Students are provided reflection time after the lesson.


My recent interview about parenting with Michael Shaughnessy of Eastern New Mexico University is online at http://marvinmarshall.com/interviews/interview4.html

You will find the interview worth reading.


I received the following e-mail:

In New Zealand, the schools I have been involved with have had trouble with the word “democracy” to imply BEST BEHAVIOUR (caps added). Attached is my take on the four letters. A = All about me, B = Bullying, C = Cooperative, and D = Dependable.


Thanks for taking the time to share the phrases/words of the levels you are using. The reason that the word “Democracy”
is used is in the Hierarchy of Social Development is that democracy and responsibility are inseparable.

The KEY SIGNIFICANCE of the hierarchy is for young people to understand the difference between INTERNAL and EXTERNAL MOTIVATION. There is no difference in BEHAVIOR between level C and level D. The difference is in the MOTIVATION.

Once young people (even kindergarten kids) articulate the difference between “EXTERNAL” motivation (coming from the
outside) and “INTERNAL” motivation” (coming from within the person), they are more able to resist bullying and be influenced by negative peer pressure and inappropriate behaviors prompted by others.

I am glad you find the hierarchy useful, and I suggest using it for its full potential, viz. the top two levels differentiate motivation, rather than behaviors. See http://marvinmarshall.com/hierarchy.htm

Reviewing the attachment will also assist:

Again, thanks for sharing.


The changes in my son have been most noticeable. He moved from a whiner/blamer to accepting responsibility and taking charge of his school work, room, house, etc. He’s working harder and doing better in school in such a short time. I keep asking myself how long this will last but then I realize that when the change is internally motivated, it’s probably a lot closer to being a permanent change.

Your book was an answer to prayer.


Camille Schuler
Medford, Oregon