Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – December 2009

Volume 9 Number 12


1. Welcome

2. Promoting Responsibility

3. Increasing Effectiveness

4. Improving Relationships

5. Promoting Learning

6. Parenting

7. Discipline without Stress

8. Testimonials and Research



Some may conclude that I am against all punishments. This is
a wrong assumption. I have no problem with ADULTS using
punishments for justice, fairness, or safety.

With young people, however, the problem is not the
punishment or the consequence for inappropriate behavior
(levels A and B); rather, it is the question of WHO decides
and imposes the punishment or the consequence–

You may find the following story disturbing enough to share
it with others:

The elementary school hired a substitute during the
absence of the regular teacher.

Upon returning from lunch, a student asked if the class
had earned a star to put on the bulletin board for the
quiet way in which the class had returned.

The substitute didn’t understand the request and asked
about the procedure.

Another student explained that when students enter the
classroom quietly, the teacher puts a star on the
bulletin board. When a certain number of stars are
reached, the class is given an afternoon without any

The substitute asked, “But aren’t you supposed to walk
quietly in the hall so that you don’t disturb the other
classes? Why should you earn a star for doing what is

Students looked at each other, puzzled. Finally, one
student explained, “We always get a reward. Why else
should we do it?”
(from “Parenting without Stress,” p.208)

Parents find that this entitlement thinking applies at home,
also. It is illustrated by the parent who is always
persuading the child by offering rewards and finds out the
CHILD LEARNS TO EXPECT THEM–and then the child rebels when
the child doesn’t get them.

The book, “PARENTING without STRESS: How to Raise
Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your Own” rolls off
the press for delivery later this month. A 50%
prepublication discount is being offered through December.

Link to the site to find out about the book and read some of
the testimonials from people around the world



It is important for young
people to understand that rights
are often accompanied by responsibilities.

Here is a list created several years ago by 14-16 year old
students and their teacher of Cowichan Valley Alternative
School in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada.

1. I have a RIGHT to learn in this school.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY to listen to instructions, work
quietly, and quietly ask for help if I have a problem.

2. I have a RIGHT to hear and be heard.
It is my responsibility not to talk, shout, or make loud
noises when others are speaking.

3. I have a RIGHT to be respected in this school.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY not to tease or bug other people or
to hurt their feelings by what I might say or do.

4. I have a RIGHT to be safe in this school.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY not to speak unkindly to or about
anyone else or to threaten, kick, punch, or physically harm
anyone else.

5. I have a RIGHT to privacy and my own personal space.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY to respect the personal space and
property of others and to accept their right to privacy.


A few tips:

Saying to someone, “You will have to….” immediately
promotes counterwill, a negative reaction to coercion.

Saying, “Would you like to…?” rephrases this perceived
command into a request for cooperation.

Similarly, “No, you can’t…!” is not nearly so effective
as, “Sure you can as soon as….”

If it is a complaint, saying, “I can’t do anything about it;
I WISH I COULD,” moves the other person’s feeling from one
of apathy to one of empathy.


People who display moodiness, anger, or negativity
consider themselves as being authentic about their feelings.

However, such feelings are perceived by others as being
narcissistic–Level A, being concerned only with themselves
without regard of how their feelings and behaviors affect

Obviously, if you have bad or negative feelings, you are
concerned about them and may even want to share them with
others (and perhaps with your therapist). But most people
are less interested in your feelings and more interested in
your behavior–especially if your feelings lead to prompting
discomfort in others.

Who indeed wants to be around an angry, negative, or moody
person (aside from oneself)?


The more you have young people sit quietly and attend, the
more opportunities you should give them to stand, stretch,
and converse. Movement brings more oxygen to the brain;
therefore, learning becomes more efficient.

If you are a teacher who fears allowing students to engage
in kinesthetic activities because it would be like letting a
dog off a leash for the first time without knowing obedience
come-back calls, then your mental image can be changed by
practicing procedures.

You will meet with success if you have used an attention
management procedure such as the one at
http://marvinmarshall.com/pdf/Attention_Mgnt.pdf and
have taken a few minutes to practice for “quiet” and

When learning a procedure, the steps to keep in mind are;
First silently
Then in pairs
Then in small groups
Then in large groups/whole class.

6. Parenting

Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of human needs are:

1. Survival
2. Security, the need to feel safe
3. Social, the need to be liked by others
4. Self-esteem, the need to be respected by others
5. Self-actualization, the need to be fulfilled

Albert Ellis, the late founder of Rational Emotive Behavior
Therapy refers to “NEEDS” as really “DESIRES.” I agree with
Ellis in that what most parents, educators, and
psychologists refer to as needs are really desires.

Stated this way, a pyramid of human desires would read:

1. Survival
2. The desire to feel safe
3. The desire to belong and be liked by others
4. The desire to be respected and treated with dignity
5. the desire to live a satisfying and fulfilling life

Perhaps number 5 is the most challenging to have children
achieve. The RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM points the way when
it describes Level D. This is described in great detail in
the new parenting book.

Click on http://parentingwithoutstress.org/ to find out more
and receive a 50% prepublication discount.

7. Discipline without Stress (DWS)

Consistency in discipline is important. However, IMPOSING
the same consequence on all young people is the least fair
approach. For example, if one sibling or student is
continually bullying another, is imposing the same
consequence on both fair?

Also, when a consequence is IMPOSED–be it called “logical”
or “natural”–young people are deprived of ownership in
deciding the specific consequence. A more effective and
fairer approach is to ELICIT a consequence or a procedure
that will help redirect impulses. This is easily
accomplished by ELICITING the consequence from the

This approach satisfies the consistency requirement; it is
in each person’s best interest and is fairer than imposing
the same consequence on all parties involved in unacceptable

8. Testimonials/Research

Shared on the Internet at:

Teachers are usually among the first to recognize a change
in a child’s behavior. In the classroom, teachers must act
promptly so that problematic behaviors do not interrupt the
classroom learning environment. Traditional methods of
sending the student to the principal’s office or taking
recess away just aren’t effective anymore. Too often,
students are unclear as to why their behavior was
unacceptable and how their actions affect others around
them. However, these traditional disciplinary methods
continue to be used in the classroom despite their
questionable effectiveness.

Two teachers at Michael D’Arcy Elementary School in Fontana,
California are using methods that encourage students to
become personally responsible for their actions and to take
ownership of their behavior. Stephanie Beruman and Heather
Morris, 3rd grade teachers, have been using a program called
“the A,B,C & D’s of Learning Behavior.”


The concept, based on a book by Dr. Marvin Marshall, teaches
students different levels of behavior and uses picture books
to assist in describing those behaviors at a level the
students can understand. When a student is corrected in the
classroom, the students are asked to explain in writing what
they did wrong, identify the level of behavior, and describe
what they can do in the future to prevent it from happening
again. Beruman and Morris believe this makes the students
responsible for their actions and teaches ownership of their

“We have been using the program at the fifth and sixth grade
levels for six years now. For proper implementation of the
program, it’s important that we have all teachers at a grade
level on board so that we all discipline students in the
same manner,” says Beruman. “Upper grades can be more
difficult to deal with because the students eventually tend
not to care about the traditional methods of discipline.
But, with this program, they understand their discipline.
They understand how their actions affect those around them,”
says Mrs. Morris. “It’s always nice when we’re on the same
page so that when a teacher is absent, we know their
discipline plan.”

The program starts with a two-day session of introducing
students to the hierarchy at the start of the school year.
Students learn that unfavorable behavior will fall into one
of the four following levels:

Level D: Democracy
-Deciding to be responsible on their own
-Show kindness to others.
-Does good because it is the right thing to do.
-The motivation to responsible is INTERNAL. They decide to
be responsible without being asked or told.

Level C: Conformity/Cooperation
-The motivation to be responsible is EXTERNAL. A Person of
authority is present.

Level B: Bossing, Bulling or Bothering
-Not an appropriate or acceptable level
-Bosses others
-Breaks classroom rules/standards and/or makes his/her own
-Bothers others

Level A: Anarchy
-Out of control
-No one is safe OR happy

Once these levels are explained, the teachers use picture
books containing stories that reinforce the different levels
of behavior. The behavior list is also sent home with the
student to share with their families.

“We understand the program may be more lax (read: DIFFERENT)
than the traditional methods of discipline, but we don’t
reward them with candy, either. We just don’t believe in
taking a student’s recess away as discipline. At this age,
children need time to release built up energy which
translates into increased learning while in the classroom.”
says Mrs. Morris. Beruman and Morris are the only third
grade teachers using the program at their school. They have
already experienced less behavioral problems with their
students as compared to teachers not using the program.

Mrs. Morris and Beruman believe teaching students that their
actions have consequences and those actions affect the
students around them is the best way to discipline students

For more information on Dr. Marvin Marshall’s principles of
promoting positive learning environments, you may visit his
website at www.MarvinMarshall.com.


1) In updated versions of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM, and
in the more recent publication of the book,
no emphasis is placed on using forms with primary students.
Instead, the focus is on impulse management:

2) Any school in the USA can receive the books free from the
public charity, “Discipline Without Stress, Inc.” by
completing the application procedure at