Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Hierarchy of Social Development

Learning the four (4) concepts of the hierarchy is essential and the only required learning because they are the foundation of the discipline and learning system.

Introduction: When I first came upon the Raise Responsibility System, it was the concept of motivation in the hierarchy that grabbed my attention. It was the first time that I had ever seen anyone explain that  behaviour is actually all about motivation. The contrast between the two higher levels points this out perfectly. To me, the hierarchy is absolutely brilliant, especially because of its simplicity. When something is simple enough that even children can understand it and yet so striking that many adults are stopped in their tracks by it, it’s got to be something worthwhile! —Kerry Weisner, British Columbia, Canada

The foundational step is teaching before problems occur. Keep in mind that it is the effect of the hierarchy—how people grow—that makes learning the levels (concepts)  so valuable. Think of the hierarchy as rubric or reference for making decisions in life.

The hierarchy has four levels (concepts). As with any hierarchy, the most advanced or highest level is placed at the top. NOTE: After the concepts have been taught, reference is made only to the LETTER. For example, the highest level is referred to as Level D.

LEVEL D – Democracy (highest level) 
Develops self-discipline
Demonstrates initiative
Displays responsibility
Does good because it is the right thing to do
The motivation is INTERNAL.

The term  “Democracy” is used because democracy and responsibility are inseparable.
Motivation at this level brings the most satisfaction and is the major contributor to healthy self-esteem.

LEVEL C – Cooperation/Conformity 
The motivation is EXTERNAL.

Action at this level is often prompted by motivation to please others, receive a reward, or to avoid a negative consequence. Most of us live our lives at this level. A danger exists at this level, however, when the young conform and comply to peer influence that may not be in society’s or in the person’s best interests.

The difference between the two is in the motivationrather than in the behavior. For example, a youngster is asked (Level C – external motivation) to pick up trash. However, if the person sees the trash and takes the initiative to pick it up WITHOUT BEING ASKED, the motivation would be Level D. The action of disposing the trash is identical in both C and D; the difference is in the motivation. NOTE: Level C is expected. Level D is voluntary. The objective is for young people to reflect on their motivation: EXternal vs. INternal.

These two higher levels of MOTIVATION are BOTH acceptable and describe how most of us live our lives most of the time.

The two lower levels of BEHAVIOR are NOT acceptable
and intentionally prompt negative feelings because they are undesirable and not permitted.

LEVEL B – Bullying/Bossing
Bosses others
Bothers others
Bullies others
Breaks laws and makes own standards
Must be bossed to behave

This level is characterized by a lack of impulse control, a lack of consideration for others, and by displaying inappropriate behaviors. When behaving at this level the young are sending the message, “Control us because we are not capable of controlling ourselves.”

LEVEL A – Anarchy (lowest level)
Absence of order
Aimless and chaotic
Absence of government
This level is characterized by chaos, being out of control, or unsafe.
Anarchy is the fundamental enemy of civilization.

The stories and illustrations in Children of Rainbow School will give you greater understanding of these four concepts and the reason that Level D (internal motivation) is the most satisfying of all rewards—doing what is right simply because it is the right thing to do.

You have just read an EXPLANATION of the concepts.
download and print  significant points

Significant Points about the Hierarchy of Social Development are on page 17 of the Resource Guide.

Dr. Marvin Marshall
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 714.220.1882
Piper Press
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 559.805.1389