Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – May 2012

Volume 12 Number 5


  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



If you ride a horse, sit close and tight.
If you ride a man, sit easy and light.

–Benjamin Franklin


In my seminars, I demonstrate how to control both our emotions and our behavior so that we never need to be victims.

The May-June, 2012 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND has a few interesting articles on the subjects of the brain, the mind, and emotions. For example, the article states, “We are doing things we wouldn’t otherwise do because we feel an emotional connection to our team” (page 13).

This is a primary reason that gangs are so powerful. People operate on emotions more than on cognition. Just because people know that they should not do something doesn’t mean that they won’t do it.

Another interesting insight: “The brain acts before the mind decides. Electrical signals in the brain precede the conscious decision to move by at least half a second and often by much longer.” (page 27)

In fact, a signal from the brain goes directly first to the emotional system even before it goes to the decision-making areas of the brain, referred to as the “mind.” This is the reason that the “Impulse Management” described in my books and seminars is so successful in our ability to control our behaviors and emotions.


The explanation of the Raise Responsibility System has been revised for easier understanding. The following link explains the three parts of the system:

“CHILDREN OF RAINBOW SCHOOL” (2nd Edition) is a new e-book that will be of great interest to anyone working with young people. You can read about it at http://piperpress.com/children-of-rainbow-school.php.

If you want to promote responsible behavior, you will find this inexpensive printable e-book to be a wonderful return on your investment.


It is easy for some people to discover and use their gifts.
Unfortunately, many people fail to see their own assets.

You need to know them. It is one of the best things you can do to validate yourself. This is equaly true for young people.

Everyone has talents and gifts, and it is our responsibility to recognize and build on them.


Many people, especially teachers, confuse discipline with management. Although related, they are distinctly different subjects.


Discipline is about impulse management and self-control.
Management has to do with procedures and routines.

Discipline, or self-discipline, is one’s personal responsibility. Management is the teacher’s, parent’s, or leader’s responsibility.

Too often, people rely on rules as management tools. The problem with rules is that they place the leader in the role of a cop, rather than a role model, facilitator of learning, or an inspirer.

In education and in parenting, rather than relying on rules, decide what you want youngsters to do. Show them how to do it. Practice it. You may need to reinforce the activity with additional practice. Encourage and challenge them as they learn.

Another consideration is to use empowering vocabulary. Use terminology which conveys your message. In the case of the term “rules,” which automatically puts you in an enforcement role, use “responsibilities”–which is really what you want to promote.

Holding high expectations, encouraging people, and showing them how to do what you would like is far more effective –and less stressful–than telling them what to do and then labeling them a discipline problem if they don’t meet your expectations.


Will Rogers, a cowboy who came to fame with his rope tricks and aphorisms, was one of the great sages of the U.S.A. You may enjoy some of his quips:

–Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

–Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

–If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.

–Never miss a good chance to shut up.

–If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

–Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

A few more favorites:

–When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.

–The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.


It still amazes me how educators in leadership positions continue to subscribe to the strategy of using standardized tests for measuring learning–let alone the newest trend of evaluating teachers using standardized test scores. By definition, 50 per cent of the test takers will fall below average–and, thereby, 50 percent need improvement.

I know a few people who rarely demonstrate their competence, wisdom, or skill on a measurement instrument. In contrast to the natural sciences, every measurement instrument in the social sciences is SUBJECTIVE. We succumb to the illusion that only that which can be quantified can be true or valid.

I am not against accountability, but I am against those instruments that are not valid or reliable.

As W. Edwards Deming (the international expert who brought both improved quality and lower costs to the workplace) said, “THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION CANNOT BE MEASURED.

We should listen to the cowboy who said, “When the horse is dead, dismount.” Educators should take this wisdom as it applies to using standardized tests for learning accountability and for teacher evaluation.


“Into the Woods” Finale by Stephen Sondheim

Careful of the things you say.
Children will listen.
Careful of the things you do.
Children will see.
And learn.

Children may not obey,
But children will listen.
Children will look to you
For which way to learn
To learn what to be.

Careful before you say,
“Listen to me.”
Children will listen.


The following is from a post at

I was substituting in a music class. One of the students began whistling. He ignored my request to stop whistling.
Then other students said he will not stop. We did sing the song, but the disruption took its toll on the lesson and my patience. How would you have done it differently?


My response:

I would have walked into the room with a poster of the

I would then quickly say to the class, “It is a pleasure to work with you. I know you will be on Level C (cooperating) or on Level D (taking the initiative to do the right thing).”

I would then continue to share my expectations by saying, “Since I am a guest in your classroom, I know you will help me by helping anyone who is not mature enough to be at these levels.

“I have worked with many students and found that no one at your age wants to be thought of as being immature.

“Today I have a wonderful song that you will really enjoy singing, so let’s begin.”


Here is another response:

I spent a number of years substitute teaching, and I can really empathize with you! There have been times when I have become so frustrated that it was difficult maintaining control. My daughter was substituting in a high school class last year and came home crying before lunch. The students were calling her names and were out of control.

When I substituted, I took a poster with the smiley faces with the different levels of Discipline Without Stress.

I spent five minutes demonstrating the different levels using the trash scenario described at http://disciplineanswers.com/introduce-hierarchy-levels/
(A newer version is illustrated in

I didn’t use posters for the trash scenario–just demonstrated the levels using a balled-up piece of paper and the trash can and asked students which level I was demonstrating. I did this in a very light-hearted manner and put a devilish look on my face and actually pretended to throw the wadded paper at one of the students for level A.

The students were very good at distinguishing the levels. As the day went on, if I saw a student not following rules, I got their attention and pointed to the chart. That was usually enough for them to conform. When a student refused to cooperate, I would quietly ask them which level they were on. Usually, that would extinguish the misbehavior.

If I had a student such as you described who continued the misbehavior, that would be the time to enlist outside help from another teacher or the office. There were a couple of times when another teacher knew of an offending student and agreed to have him or her go to her classroom if they were out of control. I don’t remember sending a student to the office, but there were a couple of times when I did take another teacher up on their offer to have a student come to their classroom.

Jean in Arizona, USA


The EDUCATION book: 

Thank you so much for all the monthly letters. I read them and thoroughly appreciate your stories and suggestions.
Since I took your workshop and read your book, I have been using your system and it has made a world of difference.

Thank you,

Mary M., Fort Lauderdale, Florida


The PARENTING book: 

Dear Dr. Marshall,

Thank you for your great discipline book. I am trying to implement your approach in our home. As I was talking to my 6-1/2 year old daughter about the levels, I thought to myself, “I wish there were a children’s book that would help teach the principles of this system.” I especially thought it would be helpful to explain it to my four-year-old. I know that you mentioned books that model each level, but have you thought of writing a single book that teaches them together?


Stefani Mons

(The book has finally been published and is at the above


The following is from a recent SEMINAR evaluation:

I can hardly wait to start this program. I have been so stressed, angry, and ready to quite teaching. After your seminar, I can see myself continuing in high school then possibly on to the university level helping, encouraging, teaching, and making more successful teachers to teach future generations.

There are no words that express how much I learned and was encouraged.

Esperanza B.
Clyde Hill, Washington