Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – January 2005

Volume 5 Number 1


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Promoting Learning

 6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

    Your Questions Answered

    Free Mailring

    Impulse Management Posters and Cards



I received the following

e-mail this past Monday, January 3, and am sharing it with you in hopes that

your 2005 may be as successful as this teacher and parent reported.

When my elementary school

first implemented the Raise Responsibility System, I was somewhat apprehensive

about how

such a program would work in my classroom. I have always felt that I created a

positive learning environment in my

class and, frankly, this system seemed like just one more passing fad to add to

our classroom management file.

However, after reading Dr.

Marshall’s book, “Discipline Without Stress, Punishments or Rewards,” I realized

that if

I was going to use this in my classroom, I should try it at home first.

As a mother of two

teenagers, creating an environment that was stress-free really appealed to me. I

talked to my

children about how stressful things had been at home and shared with them a

little bit about the program that I was

“trying out” on them. Later that day, I heard my daughter slamming doors and

screaming at the top of her lungs at her


Before, I would have stormed

in to intervene and quickly reacted to the situation without even thinking.

Instead, I

calmly began using such questions as: “Is what you are doing something that is

beneficial?” My daughter stopped and

looked at me and said, “Oh, this is that discipline thing you are using at

school, right? Okay, so, no! No, it is

not.” I asked, “Is what you are doing something that falls in line with the

standards of our family?” She sighed, “No.”

I said, “Would you tell me what our family rule is regarding yelling.” She

relayed to me that yelling was not allowed and

that if we had anything to say we could say it in a calm manner. Finally, I

said, “Well, what do you think we should

do about this?”

I told her to go to her room

and reflect on what we should do about what had happened between her and her

brother. A little while later, she came back in and asked to talk to her

brother. She apologized for yelling at him and proceeded

to give us a list of consequences that she had decided on. “I guess I should not

use the computer for three weeks, or

talk on the phone, or go to the movies with my friends,” she began the list. We

were stunned!

Honestly, this was the first

time that she had really accepted responsibility for something so calmly. The


three weeks were very interesting. She answered the phone and we could hear her

explain, “I can’t talk on the phone right now because my parents . . . I mean, I

have restricted myself.”

Since using this in our

home, life seems so much more enjoyable. The truth is that our children do know

what is

expected of them. Holding them to a higher level of responsibility has made all

of our lives more peaceful.

Thank you. –Wendi Hall, Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Wendi’s story is in my

parenting book–now in its 4th chapter of writing. If you have a story to share,


don’t be shy. Your experiences can be helpful to others.



People know when they act

irresponsibly. But their knowing does not stop that type of behavior.

Knowing the cause for

behavior may be interesting, but has nothing to do with changing that behavior.


responsibility is accepted, the person will not act differently–even when the

person knows the reason.

Therefore, rarely ask a

person why the behavior occurred. “Why?” implies that the reason for the

behavior makes a

difference–but it does not. Knowing or knowledge does not lead to behavior


Rather than asking “Why?” a

more effective approach would be to ask, “What are we going to do about it?”



start the morning as a “downer” when you can start your day in a positive,

pleasant way!

Here is a little

procedure you can use. Get up 20 minutes earlier than you need to do. Before

turning on the TV or

reading the newspaper–both of which can be full of discouraging news–read

something uplifting.

The positive energy

engendered will carry you through the day so that any situation you encounter

can be handled more easily.

Simply by being uplifted

in the morning, you will find it easier to enjoy your entire day.


A mistake is an honest

acknowledgment of an error of judgment, devoid of any self-incrimination or

self-diminution. We all commit them. If we used the option of allowing a simple

acknowledgment of a mistake, how much

clearer and more joyful life would be.

A woman was standing in a

grocery line in front of an elderly man. He hollered at her continually, telling

her to

move her merchandise closer to the cashier–even though there were other

customers in front of her also patiently

waiting in line.

The lady finally turned and

stated, “Your behavior is rude. Is that your intention or a mistake?”

What an easy way to prevent

hard feelings!


When you present

something, follow this formula:

WHAT it is you will


WHY it is important to know about it.

HOW the listener can use it.

Give an EXAMPLE of how it works.

The more you use this

simple approach, the more people will be motivated to put forth the effort to

learn what you are


6. Implementing the RAISE



I have a student who cut up

confetti and placed it inside a folded, stapled paper. I warned him that not one

piece had

better be found on school property. Otherwise, I would have him him write an

essay. I want to do what you would do at this point.


I would have a personal conversation letting him know that when he acts on level

B he is making his own standards and

acting in a way that is not acceptable.

I would then say, “You have

my full confidence that none of the confetti will leave the room, that it will

be disposed

of, and that you know how to do it.”

Then let him know that you

think the wisest thing that could be done would be to come up with some

procedure–so that if he has an impulse to do something that he knows he should

not do he will be able to re-direct the impulse.

After a procedure is created

to help him, have him practice it–at least THREE times. Have him imagine


situations when an impulse could take over, but now he can redirect that

mischievous impulse. Then have him write a

letter to you (rather than an Essay Form) explaining one of the situations and

how he would handle it now.

Keep in mind the three

principles: Be positive in your communications, imply that he has a choice but

knows your

expectations, and prompt the student to reflect. [POSITIVITY, CHOICE

(empowerment and expectations), and

REFLECTION (noncoercion)]


You can share and learn more about the




Learning a procedure for

responding appropriately to

impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at



“I am so impressed with Dr.

Marshall’s strategies and the

simplicity of the program.”

–Sarah Crippen, Education specialist

Education Service Center Region XV, San Angelo, TX