Stress Management Monthly Newsletter

1. Quote of the Month

Said to a bully...

2. Stress Management Video

"Stress and a Counseling Session"

Want to change a young person's attitude and behavior?

Here is an example of how to have a student change both attitude and behavior. What I will be describing is NOT a mock school counseling session but an actual individual counseling session when I took the role of a school counselor in a counseling session to demonstrate essential counseling skills.

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3. Parenting Without Stress

Notice how empowering is John McCain's quote: "You're better than that."

Here are some procedures and empowering questions you can use.

  • Focus on the present or future—as opposed to the past.
  • Frame questions to fit the situation and clarify. Start with "What?” or “How?”
  • Focus on open-ended questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer unless they prompt self-inquiry or self-evaluation, such as:

        "Is what you are doing working?"

        "Is what you are choosing to do helping you get what you want?"

        "Are you willing to do something different than what you have been doing?"

        "Are you taking the responsible course?"

        "If you could do better, should you?"

4. Discipline Without Stress

School discounts are now available at Discipline Online, the eLearning course of 54 modules that, once you have subscribed, never expire for your revisiting.

5. Living Without Stress Tip

There is one sure way to improve your mental fitness and reduce stress: move! The human body was not developed to be static.

Exercise stimulates the release of growth hormones, which stimulate the production of a protein that targets muscles for growth. This increased production of the protein supports neuron development and helps to sharpen memory and make the brain more efficient.

The consequences of a sedentary life style are well documented and are dire. People with low levels of physical activity are at higher risk for many different types of cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Long before the end of life, inactivity can worsen arthritis symptoms, increase lower back pain, and lead to depression and anxiety. Aerobic exercise in particular has been shown to be one of the most effective approaches to reducing stress—in addition to reducing the risk of vascular dementia.

Since so many of us live a sedentary life style, the following tale is shared in an attempt to prompt us to exercise and move more.

A farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The animal brayed piteously for some time as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, the farmer decided that since the animal was very old and that the well needed to be covered up anyway, he grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

The donkey’s “eeyoure” continued—then quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked into the well and was astonished at what he saw.

With every shovel of dirt that landed on the donkey’s back, the animal shook off the dirt and took a step up higher to the farmer. As the farmer continued to shovel dirt, the donkey shook it off and took another step higher. Soon, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off.

Moral of the story: Life sometimes shovels some dirt on you. The trick is to shake it off and keep moving.

6. Improving Relationships

Too many people criticize their spouses more often than they compliment them. That is the road to an unhappy marriage.

7. Increasing Effectiveness

President Lincoln often used a leadership technique referred to as “playing the devil’s advocate” to make difficult decisions.

The term—devil’s advocate—derives from an old practice the Roman Catholic Church used during the canonization process. The church would appoint a canon lawyer, who was designated the "advocatus diaboli," or devil’s advocate, to argue against canonizing the candidate.

Lincoln used this approach when he inched toward announcing the Emancipation Proclamation, which was a politically risky decision at the time. He also used it when he considered appointing Salmon Chase Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, which was an unpopular decision in many quarters because Chase had treacherously tried to thwart Lincoln’s aspirations for a second term while he still was a member of Lincoln’s cabinet. How Did Lincoln Do It? Noah Brooks describes the method that Lincoln used: “It is a peculiar trait of his mind that when doubts and objections arise concerning the expediency of certain contemplated acts, he (Lincoln) states to those with whom he comes in contact those doubts and objections, not as his, but with the express purpose of having them refuted, controverted and removed, if possible. A careless or unobservant listener goes away confounded and discouraged, but the crafty statesman has enjoyed seeing a false position demolished and his own convictions made stronger.” (“LINCOLN OBSERVED: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks” edited by Michael Burlingame. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, p. 153) Thanks to Gene Griessman)

8. Promoting Responsibility

I received the following:

I am writing to you because I have read your book and need your help and advice concerning my son.

He is a first grader and really needs discipline. In his teacher's words, he is very smart and tenderhearted. It's just little things that get him into trouble because he is not thinking about the choices he is making—whether they are good or bad. (Lots of times he is on "Level B" because he is talking too much or doing something silly. His behavior is not affecting his academics. He is one of the top students in his class He has a hard time identifying and then making the correct choices. When we ask him what his choices are depending on a situation, he usually will say, 'to be good.'

His teacher asked me to think of a program she could use in the class for him.  (She suggested a "sticker or chart" program and my stomach went into knots because I want him to focus in on his behavioral choices and not the sticker.  I couldn't agree more with your book about rewards and punishments!)

Should I make a "visual" to place on his desk to remind him of his behavioral choice?

I think he is not going to understand about 'self-evaluating' or 'reflecting.' How should the teacher do this discretely and in a 'time-wise' manner considering she has 20 other kids to worry about?

Share the pictures in the inexpensive purchase, "Children of the Rainbow School."


At the lowest level of behavior, Level A (Anarchy), a young person might kick the trash aroud the room. Naturally, this level is unacceptable. A person operating at Level A can expect an adult to stop the behavior and take control.


Moving up the ladder, someone on Level B behavior (Bossing, Bullying, Bothering) might pick up the trash but then throw it at someone. This level is also unacceptable. A person operating at Level B can also expect an adult to take control.


Level C motivation (Cooperation/Conformity) is the first of two acceptable levels. A student would do what the teacher asks. A student would pick up the trash at the request of the teacher (external motivation).

Notice the heart on the young person. This represents the nice inner feeling that follows whenever a person cooperates with another.


Level D motivation (Democracy) is the highest level. At this level, a student would take the initiative to pick up the trash and deposit it in the trash can - whether or not anyone asked or if anyone was watching.

Look at the size of the heart. Notice how big it is. This is because when a person takes the initiative to do what is right, there is a really big inside reward - a really good feeling of satisfaction. Level D is necessary in a democracy where people govern themselves, instead of a dictator or king telling  them what to do.

9. Promoting Learning

"I seem to remember your site used to have a list of children’s books for read-aloud illustrating the four levels. Is that still available?"

First, here are the books I used when I developed the Hierarchy of Social Development:

Level A Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall

Level B The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall

Level C Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Weber

Level D The Hole in the Dike by Norma Green or The Boy Who Held Back the Sea by Thomas Locker

Following is the list you asked about:

Also check out: The Little Red Hen at

These may also help:

How a caterpillar becomes a butterfly at

Hierarchy of Social Development Poem:

Finally, if you can afford a few dollars, Children of the Rainbow School has a story for each level as well as a picture for kids to compare the differences between the levels. Check it out at

10. Resources

Learn how to ALWAYS stay in authority WITHOUT using bribes to control, threats, imposing punishments, or any other coercive or EXTERNAL motivational approach at

11. What People Say

"Teachers and staff of the Bronx Guild High School participated in a seminar presented by Dr. Marvin Marshall, the author of Discipline without Stress. We have tried to follow his advice, suggestions, and strategies in dealing with our students (and each other) in all areas of school life. The four levels of the hierarchy of social development are now part of our framework of each classroom. In addition, we have had the smoothest opening of the school year to date; our work with Dr. Marshall is the key factor in helping that happen."

—Sam Dekker, Principal, the Bronx Guild High School - Bronx, New York

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For personal COACHING or STAFF DEVELOPMENT, send email to with "Info" in the subject line. If you want a group Internet session at no charge, just let me know your date and time preference using Pacific time zone.

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Dr. Marvin Marshall

PO Box 11
Cypress, CA


Phone: 1.714.220.1882