Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – September 2011

Volume 11 Number 9


  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



Since childhood on my mother’s knee, I have believed that honor, ethics, and right living are their own reward.
–Harry S Truman (TRUMAN by David McCullough p. 185)


The 2nd edition REVISED of my DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS hardcover book will go to press on September 15, so we are offering a 50% discount on the current stock–$20.00 vs.

If you are interested in having the book at your fingertips, visit http://marvinmarshall.com/shop and scroll down to this book. Click on “Add to cart” and enter coupon code “2nd-Ed”
to get your discount.

If you work with young people of any ange but do not have a copy of the book, pleaase read the current testimonial:

“One of the classes I teach in our teacher credential program is the classroom management class. One of the textbooks for the class is your book, “Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards.” It is an excellent resource that we benefit from a great deal. I point out to the candidates that while college textbooks are often not referred to five minutes after the class is over, your book is a resource that they will want to stay close to for the rest of their teaching career.”

Jim Roy, Ed.D.
Education Department
Pacific Union College


GeorgeAnn Sprague became dissatisfied with traditional discipline approaches. She checked the Internet and came upon my site. Intrigued with what she read, she purchased the book and implemented the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model. Her discipline problems were so significantly reduced that she convinced Sue Kanigsberg, Director of Instruction, to have me share the approach with other district teachers.

I received the following a few days after the staff development on August 23:

“Thank you so much for the wonderful presentation! I’ve received so much positive feedback that I wanted to pass along the congratulations to you!”

Dr. Sue Ellen Kanigsberg
Director of Instruction & Pupil Personnel Services
Dover Area School District
Dover, Pennsylvania

If you would like me to present for you, do what GeorgeaAnn and others do. Just share your successes with the administration.

As a former district director of education and member of the superintendent’s cabinet for seven years with a thorough grasp of how school and district budgets operate, I can assure you that any organization that wants to increases academic achievement and promote responsible behavior can afford a personal presentation.

Another approach is described at


The following is from a September 3 post at DisciplineWithoutStress@yahoogroups.com after a few questions were posted about dealing with so many “damaged students” (drug culture and other challenges) that are in today’s classrooms:

“What paid off was having a class management program like DWS. This was the best in service my district ever offered, and it made a world of difference in my classroom.


Dr. James Sutton, (http://docspeak.com) the psychologist who specializes in working with “oppositional defiant”
students and to whom I referred last month, wrote me the following about the difference between communicating in positive ways by lifting expectations–or in negative terms and their dire results.

“I was a school psychologist working in a couple of high schools. As a group of seniors in one school started to go on their senior trip, the principal got on the PA and read the riot act to them–explaining what all they’d better not do, or else.

“By contrast, I just happened to be in the other high school when their seniors were preparing to go on their senior trip. The principal got on the horn and said something like:
‘You are among the finest group of young people I have ever had the pleasure to know and work with. You are a credit to your families, this school, and this community. I hope you have a wonderful and safe trip.’ Click.

“I don’t have to tell you the first group acted like idiots; the second group had a great time with no trouble at all.

“Expectation Theory is alive and well! Of course, it helps to throw a little Marv Marshall and Gordon Neufeld in there, too!”


Note: Gordon Neufeld is a psychologist in British Columbia, Canada. He shares how “time-outs” have disadvantages because they cut relationships. He also focuses on “counterwill,”
the natural human tendency to resist coercion.


George Bernard Shaw’s play, “Pygmalion” (along with the musical version and movie “My Fair Lady”), captures the same point about expectations–as Eliza Doolittle states:

“You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the difference between a lady and a flower girl is how she is treated.”


William Hanrahan, my long-time vocal coach and developer of “Structural Breathing,” recently related the following story to me.

I noticed that I was dealing with a lot of self-criticism, so I decided to have a conversation with a part of myself that was being critical.

I inquired what it looked like in my mind’s eye and was presented with the image of a man in a tuxedo.

“It’s nice to meet you,” I said. “What’s your name?”

“Frank,” he replied, “and what is your purpose?” I asked.

He looked at me as if I were stupid and replied, “To make you the best that you can be.”

“That’s great,” I responded, “but how you are doing it is not working for me. I don’t appreciate being constantly criticized. So, since I created you I can either ‘dis-create’ you or give you another way to do your job. I am willing to have you hang around to participate in my life but only if you will give me positive feedback and encouragement. Is that something you are willing to do?”

He seemed to think about it for a while and responded, “Yes, of course.”

My self-talk became very quiet after this conversation, and I no longer receive self-criticism but instead receive positive nurturing and reinforcement.

A simple conversation with the inner aspect of myself produced profound results.


For those of you who have not read the opening paragraph to my education book, “Discipline Without Stress,” I share it

“Life is a conversation. Interestingly the most influential person we talk with all day is ourself, and what we tell ourself has a direct bearing on our behavior, our performance, and our influence on others. In fact a good case can be made that our self-talk creates our reality.”

A prime purpose of the book is to show teachers and parents how to teach positive self-talk to young people–and to themselves. This is the reason the book is categorized under three topics: EDUCATION / PARENTING / PERSONAL GROWTH.


Questions to ponder:

If I were a child, would I want me as a parent?

If I were a student, would I want me as a teacher?

If I were an employee, would I want me as a boss?

If I were married, would I want to be married to me?


Some of the decisions we make are based on inaccurate assumptions. We may know exactly what we are thinking and what we mean when we communicate, but a child may have a completely different perspective. In a Calvin and Hobbs comic strip, Calvin says to his mom, “I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?” His mom says, “Sure. Help yourself.”

In the next scene, Calvin is walking through the living room carrying a big cookie jar, one cookie in his hand and another cookie in his mouth. He hears his mom say, “You can have an apple or an orange from the fridge.”

Calvin stands there and thinks, “Even though we are both speaking English, we are not speaking the same language.”

Calvin’s definition of a snack is a cookie. His mother’s definition of a snack is an apple or an orange.


A father is walking through the forest with his three-year-old daughter. As they are walking, he repeatedly tells her to stay on the path. The little girl is walking all around. She looks at this tree, that bush, meandering here and there. He continually says, “Stay on the path. I told you to stay on the path.”

Eventually, he gets so angry with her that he pulls her over, shakes her a bit, and shouts, “I told you to stay on the path!”

The little girl looks up at her father with tears in her eyes and says, “Daddy, what’s a path?”


One of the most crucial errors teachers and parents make is to assume that young people know what is expected of them without first teaching, practicing, and reinforcing what adults want the young to do.


Resist using the word “should.”

This word has little or no constructive value. It usually pertains to the past–what should have been done or what should not have been done.

The past cannot be undone. It is silly to water last year’s flowers or events that no longer exist. When the focus is on the past, success will not be forthcoming.

In contrast, when you focus on the future as in, “What can you do next time?” or “Now how are you going to fix it?”
success increases.

POINT: Focus on the “now” and on the future.

It is a fact of brain-body connection that when you use this approach, you create positive images in the brain. These images drive behavior.


The following was posted at the mailring DisciplineWithoutStress, hosted by yahoo groups.com:

I just wanted to quickly relay a rewards-based disaster.

One of our seventh-graders, in fact, the daughter of a teacher, recently wanted to go to the Positive Behavioral (and Intervention) Support (PBS) reward dance. She is an A honor roll student, never a discipline problem, and a wonderful kid. In the haste of “bribing” misbehaving students to be good, we neglected to “reward” her for doing what she had motivated herself to do. Long story short, she did not have enough PBS tickets to go to the dance. How horrible!!!

Looks like rewards systems don’t quite cover the good kids as well as they should. Good thing that they are intrinsically motivated and feel good about the fact that they are great kids and their teachers love them!


A response post:

Your experience really points out what I think is a big problem with any reward-based behaviour program–the fact that the goal of the program (often not clearly stated) is simply to get kids to behave. When the goal is obedience, then the program isn’t truly too worried about the kids who are already obedient. Then things happen–just as they did in your school where a wonderful child is left feeling terrible. Of course, no one intended for that to happen but still that’s often the result.

That’s why I feel so strongly about DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS. The goal is to raise everyone, not just those who are a big problem–so the program can focus on all kids.
That’s what I love: EVERY kid gains. Some gain by bringing themselves up to Level C, while those who are already there gain, too. They learn about Level D, which is such a valuable understanding for living the rest of their lives.
No other program that I’m aware of provides this understanding.

Thanks for participating on our mailring!

Kerry in British Columbia, Canada

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



One of the classes I teach in our teacher credential program is the classroom management class. One of the textbooks for the class is your book, “Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards.” It is an excellent resource that we benefit from a great deal. I point out to the candidates that while college textbooks are often not referred to five minutes after the class is over, your book is a resource that they will want to stay close to for the rest of their teaching career.

Jim Roy, Ed.D.
Education Department
Pacific Union College


The PARENTING book: 

Your book is RICH with value and practical ways to teach responsibility. In my opinion, it’s the holy grail for parenting.

–Sherlyn Pang Luedtke
Success Coach and Founder