Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – September 2003

Volume 3 Number 9


1. Welcome

2. Promoting Responsibility

3. Increasing Effectiveness

4. Improving Relationships

5. Your Questions Answered

6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

Free Mailring

Your Questions Answered

Impulse Management Posters and Cards

7. Promoting Learning


The server for this e-zine

crashed but, as you see, is now

up and running. Unfortunatly, THE LIST OF NEW SUBSCRIBERS


know anyone who subscribed this week, please forward this

issue to them.

Since I am no longer giving

public seminars, I removed my calendar from my website at the end of the last

academic year.

My recent presentations were to elementary schools, middle/junior high schools,

high schools, entire school districts, religious schools, parent groups, and

vocational schools. Since I have had a number of requests inquiring about my

speaking engagements, I have updated and posted my calendar at


Also, in an attempt to answer questions about the Raise Responsibilty System

(RRS), a new link has been added to the site. At this time, there is only one

posting detailing the differnece between RRS and other approaches. Frequently

asked questions (FAQ’s) will soon be added.

As this newsletter continues

to grow (now over 5,000 subscribers), I discover that the e-zine is used for

purposes I had not imagined. Here’s a comment I recently received from the


“Thanks for the wonderful ideas of helping at-risk/drop-

out students. May you continue to give more insights and

inspirations to teachers like me.”


The Golden Rules for Living

(author unknown) were shared with me. I share them with you.

1. If you open it, close it.

2. If you break it, admit it.

3. If you borrow it, return it.

4. If you move it, put it back.

5. If you unlock it, lock it up.

6. If you turn it on, turn it off.

7. If you make a mess, clean it up.

8. If you value it, take care of it.

9. If you cannot fix it, call someone who can.

10. If it is not yours, get permission to use it.

11. If you do not know how to use it, leave it alone–or ask.

12. If it is none of your business, do not ask.

SUGGESTION: Use the first part of each sentence with your students and/or

children. Then have them complete the rest of each statement.


One of the advantages of

sharing your ideas with others is that others share their ideas with you. Kerry

is a significant contributor to the Raise Responsibility System mailring:


With a little editorializing, I share one of her posts with you.

Cognition can not be separated from emotion. What we think precedes what we

feel, and often what we think triggers our emotions. Thinking in terms of

“right” or “wrong” is especially dangerous because people become emotionally

involved with these concepts.

Kerry finds it more helpful to think in terms of “more effective” or “less

effective.” She thinks about where she wants to go and then asks herself, “Is

this going to get me there?”


At the root of so many

relationship problems is that people stop giving to each other–or they give the

wrong things.

This is very common in parent-child relationships. Parents are more likely to

give children “things” rather than experiences. Because young people WANT

“things,” parents mistakenly believe that is what their children NEED.

Years ago, Charles Frances Adams (son of President John Quincy Adams, grandson

of President John Adams, and President Abraham Lincoln’s minister to England)

wrote in his diary one day, “Took my boy fishing today. A wasted day.” His son,

Brook Adams, wrote in his diary the same day, “Went fishing today with my

father. Greatest day of my life.”

Any good relationship, whether it be at home or at work, is built on giving of

yourself. It can be referred to by different terms–such as caring, service, or

recognition –but it all boils down to giving.

Here are some considerations to improve relationships with anyone with whom you

live or work.





Follow these simple ideas of giving, and notice how people respond. Then notice

how YOU feel. There will be some wonderful outcomes.



The school I work in is very entrenched in the idea that discipline =

punishment. The students buy into this idea in that they seem to depend on

punitive reactions from their teachers/parents. How does one help the child to

move from being punishment-minded to being self-motivated.


Punishment–which is very often confused with discipline– operates on the

theory that young peoople must be hurt to learn, that they must be harmed to


Can you recall the last time you felt bad and did something good? People do not

think positively with negative feelings.

Punishments kill the very thing we are attempting to do– change behavior into

something that is positive and socially approprate.

If your school believes that YOUNG people ARE NOT YET ADULTS, then their use of

IMPOSED PUNISHMENTS (a concept applied to adult behavior) should be re-examined.

Share with the faculty the National Parent Teachers Association’s definition of


“To many people, discipline

means punishment. But, actually, to discipline means to teach.

Rather than punishment, discipline should be

a positive way of helping and guiding children

to achieve self-control.”

“Discipline: A Parent’s Guide” Copyright 1993

The National PTA

To help the child move from

being punishment-minded to being self-motivated, teach your students the four

levels of social development described at


Share the website http://www.AboutDiscipline.com

We have an obligation to help the teaching profession understand that–although

imposed punishments are necessary for adults who act in socially unacceptable

ways–IMPOSING THE SAME APPROACHES ON YOUNG PEOPLE is not only counterproductive

but also feeds the common misconception that schools are like prisons in that

use of external authoritarianism is the only way to promote leaning.


Performance Learning Systems

(PLS) is again offering their interactive, distance learning course with

“DISCIPLINE without STRESS, PUNISHMENTS, or REWARDS” as a primary text.

The course–with interaction between the instructor and participants through an

online discussion list–gives 3 graduate credits granted through The College of

New Jersey, a North Central Accredited institution.

The course runs from September 15 – November 17 for the fall session and again

from November 24 – January 26 for the winter session. More information and

registration is available at http://www.plsregistration.com or call toll-free



You can share and learn more about the





I am a kindergarten teacher who highly recommends your book whenever the subject

of discipline arises. Today I told one of my students who hit another child, “I

want you to stay in our classroom, but if you act on Level B again, you are

telling me that you want to keep on making your own rules for the class. We

can’t accept that, so you may stay in the classroom only if your behavior is at

Level C or D.” When he began to harass another child, I made it a point to

remain matter-of-fact, and said to him, “You have again decided to make your own

rules for the class, so you have chosen to spend time in another room.” As I was

getting ready to take him, he began to throw a LOUD tantrum. I didn’t want to

make a scene, so I left him at his seat. I feel this was a big mistake. What do

you suggest I should have done?


Here are a few ideas to consider.

Next time, ASK (rather than TELL) the student if he wants to stay in the

classroom. Then ASK him on what level he would need to behave to remain in the


If he again lets his impulses direct his behavior, say to him that he allowed to

again let his impulses control him. Then ASK him, “What do you suggest we do

about it?” Be ready to ask “What else?” “What else?” “What else?” until he comes

up with something that will help him not repeat the offense. If he says, “I

don’t know,” challenge and empower him with a statement like, “As capable as you

are, I don’t believe you can’t figure something out. Let’s give it another try.

What do you suggest we do?”

Come up with a procedure. Anything–as long as it is simple for him to do, e.g.,

stand up and sit down, stand and turn around, take a deep gasp of breath through

his mouth and hold it as long as he can–something that will distract his


If the student pulls a tantrum again, say, “Don’t worry about what will happen

when you act this way. I’ll get back to you later.” The youngster will

immediately stop the tantrum and start worrying about what will happen.

Regarding the rest of the class, don’t be concerned about them. They understand

the situation. Have a class meeting later with the child present. Put the

problem to the class, since it is a class problem. Have a discussion on “What do

you suggest we do to help ….(name of student).”


Learning a procedure to

respond appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at




article for this month is about business’s being a poor model for learning.

is changing their schedule so the article posted is the same as

last month’s. The article has been picked up by national e-zines and has been

distributed to thousands. The following are some points I hope to make in the


Competition improves performance in athletics, music competitions, and other

activities where people are motivated to improve and/or win against others.

However, competition is devastating for improving learning. Collaboration is

much more effective in this arena.

Read why government, business, and educational leaders have based their

decisions about learning on faulty reasoning –which already is having

disastrous results. This is exemplified by third graders, especially

conscientious ones, having anxiety attacks and the surge of high school students

giving up and just dropping out of school. This latter point is evidenced by

recent stories about the Secretary of Education’s former district vastly under

reporting the number of dropouts in the Houston Independent School District

where Rod Page was so proud of his district’s improvement.

People will look back twenty years from now (if not sooner) and ask, “How could

we have been so foolish as to allow this to occur?” How could we justify using

standardized tests (where half the test takers automatically fall below 50%) as

an accountability instrument? How did we justify determining people’s successes

or failures solely on taking “pencil and paper” tests? How did we support a

system where success is based on checking facts–most of which inevitably are

forgotten–rather than on factors which assess responsible citizenship and

elements which are essential in living successful lives after formal schooling?

The article is at: