Stress Management Monthly Newsletter

1. Stress Management Video

"Discipline Without Stress Solves a Sibling Argument"

Parents and teachers often engage in practices that bring unnecessary stress and prompt adversarial relations—as I explain in my radio and TV interviews, blog posts, newsletters, and video channel. These practices include relying on rules (rather than procedures), promoting obedience (rather than responsibility), being reactive (rather than proactive), being inconsistent and unfair by imposing (rather than by eliciting), and by using external and coercive approaches—such as bribes to control, threats, and imposing punishments. More is on the video.

Watch the Video
Subscribe to My Channel
Watch All Stress Management Video Tips

2. Quote of the Month

3. Parenting Without Stress

Seek to understand. Hear your child. This means not interrupting to insert your opinion or anticipating what your child will say. Cultivating this practice transforms relationships. It also requires constant attention.

Also, limit your lecturing and telling to adolescents. Although your intention may be to share and save your child from a negative experience, the message is often perceived as criticism. Lectures and telling (instead of sharing) convey the message that what the young person is doing is not good enough. Your telling will often result in counterwill—the instinctive reaction of a person to resist being controlled. Remember: adolescents "know everything." You will accomplish what you want more effectively and with less stress by asking reflective questions. When you ask—instead of tell—you not only control the conversation, you also prompt the person to reflect. And it is this reflection that changes behavior without coercion.

4. Discipline Without Stress


I am the Vice Principal of a new school in Hanoi, Vietnam, which will be opening in August of this year.

I would like to use your Levels of Development that I previously used when I was a classroom teacher and I would like to implement the system (Discipline Without Stress) in my new school. However, I have come across a small hurdle that I am hoping you will be able to assist me with.

As you well know, Vietnam is a communist country.  With regards to the Levels of Development, the highest level, D – Democracy, is, for obvious reasons, quite difficult to use.

The only term that I have found appropriate thus far is "Decency." Do you think this works in your system? Would you be able to suggest any other terminology that you think would be appropriate and encapsulate that particular level?

Paul, Vice-Principal —Sunshine Maple Bear Elementary School


Assuming you are teaching in English, my suggestion is to use “Develops Responsibility.”

If you are teaching in any other language, it really doesn’t make any difference so long as the vocabulary is such that it perceives “Internal motivation” as the top level of motivation, “External motivation” below it—and unacceptable behavior below the two top levels of motivation.

5. Living Without Stress

The following excerpt is from the award-winning book, "Live Without Stress."


There is no discounting the significance that external motivation has on our lives. Humans are social beings and have an inborn desire to be liked by others and fit in with others. The easiest way to accomplish this is to be like others and do what others do.

It starts at young ages, and here is how it works. A young person likes a group, all of whose members smoke. The person wants to be like the others so the person starts to smoke. No one from the smoking group prompted or told the person to start smoking. The person started to smoke because the unspoken influence from others prompted the person to smoke.

You notice that a close friend has lost weight and you comment on it. Your friend shares with you his new eating and exercising routine. The next time you look in the mirror you decide to join your friend in his health routine; this external influence prompted you to act.

Recent advances in technology have had a profound influence on society. The violence and lightning-speed actions of many video games, movies, and television programs are undoubtedly aimed at young people. Marketing to youth as a culture of its own is obvious in the entertainment and fashion industries. A look at almost any fashion advertisement attests to the focus on the young. A parent's purchase of the "wrong brand" is ample evidence of the strong desire of youth to "fit in" with what is popular with their peer group. The same holds true for adults, the corollary being “keeping up with the Joneses.” We see other examples of external motivation when viewing television news as crowds act with a “herd mentality” in mob aggression causing personal injury and property destruction.

6. Improving Relationships

Dr. William Glasser, the originator of “Reality Therapy” and “Choice Theory,” believed that attempts to change others by using “external control psychology” (including the common discipline approaches of imposed punishments, threats, or rewards to bribe) are doomed to fail.

He refers to such “external approaches” as the “seven deadly habits.” He lists them as: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.

To prove his point, just respond to the following:

  • How do you feel when someone criticizes you?
  • How do you feel when someone blames you?
  • How do you feel when someone complains to you?
  • How do you feel when someone nags you?
  • How do you feel when someone threatens to do something to you?
  • How do you feel when someone punishes you?
  • How do you feel when someone offers you a bribe to do something?

Remember that a change is emotional as much as it is intellectual. We know we should or should not do things, but it is only when our emotions kick in that we are prompted to act.

Rarely will we want to do something when we feel bad about doing it. People of all ages do better when they feel better. In short, using any of the “seven deadly habits” destroys relationships and results in resistance, which leads to disconnection. Using any of the “seven deadly habits” is NOT a good way to improve relationships.

7. Increasing Effectiveness

Before acting on your anger, ask yourself:

  • Is my anger appropriate?
  • Did I allow something to upset me?
  • Will the situation matter tomorrow?
  • Can I do something about the situation?
  • Is the risk of displaying my anger worth it?

Express anger only if you answer “Yes” to all five questions.

Even then, cool off, so that you speak in a non-accusatory way about what you allowed to upset yourself.

8. Promoting Responsibility

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching." The same holds true for promoting responsibility. This approach was widely used in Native Americans cultures where suggestions for empowerment were commonly used. Rather than a father saying, “You have to do this,” he would often say something like, “Son, some day when you are a man you will do this.”

This is a powerful way to encourage, nurture, empower, and establish expectations.

Suggestion need not be in words. For example, see how modeling promotes integrity, as illustrated in the following:

The owner of a grocery store hired a teenager to watch the store on Saturday mornings. One Saturday, the owner returned unexpectedly and took some carrots to feed the rabbits outside of the store. Before leaving with the carrots, the owner placed money for the carrots on the cash register.

The only way we can learn to walk is to practice walking. The only way we learn to read is by reading. Similarly, the only way to assist maturation for responsible behavior is to practice responsible decision-making. Since people grow by the decisions they make, suggest they ask themselves reflective questions, such as:

  • “How can I prevent that urge from directing my behavior?”
  • “What would be the best way to handle this situation?”
  • “How can I best respond to that?”

By taking conscious control of self-talk, we can be empowered. This is a significant concept to practice and teach. As I have written in the opening to my first book, "Life is a conversation, and the most influential person you talk with all day is yourself. And what you tell yourself has a direct influence on your behavior, your performance, and your influence on others. In fact, a good case can be made that your self-talk creates your reality."

Think of fear. That's self-talk.

Think of anxiety. That's self-talk.

These are examples of assumptions—the subject of my first chapter in Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey.

9. Promoting Learning

More brain activity is not necessarily better brain activity.

The explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, it is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.

Dozens of studies by psychologists, neurobiologists, and educators point to the same conclusion: When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. Even as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain.

When schools began investing heavily in computers, there was much enthusiasm about the apparent advantages of digital documents over paper ones. Many educators were convinced that introducing hyperlinks into text would be a boon to learning. Hypertext would strengthen critical thinking by enabling students to switch easily between different viewpoints. Freed from the lockstep reading demanded by printed pages, readers would make all sorts of new intellectual connections between diverse works.

However, the enthusiasm was turning to skepticism. Research has painted a fuller, very different picture of the cognitive effects of hypertext. Navigating linked documents entails a lot of mental calisthenics that are extraneous to the process of reading. Because it disrupts concentration, such activity weakens comprehension. A study showed that readers tended just to click around aimlessly when reading something that included hypertext links to other selected pieces of information. An experiment revealed that some could not remember what they had and had not read.

Even though the World Wide Web has made hypertext ubiquitous and presumably less startling and unfamiliar, the cognitive problems remain. Research continues to show that people who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links. Comprehension declines as the number of links increase—whether or not people clicked on them. The reason is simple: Whenever a link appears, your brain has to make the choice not to click, which is itself distracting.

A review of hypertext experiments concluded that jumping between digital documents impedes understanding. Also, if links are bad for concentration and comprehension, it should not be surprising that more recent research suggests that links surrounded by images, videos, and advertisements could be even worse.

Learning hinges on our ability to transfer information from working memory into long-term memory. When facts and experiences enter our long-term memory, we are able to weave them into the complex ideas that give richness to our thought. Whereas long-term memory has an almost unlimited capacity, working memory can hold only a relatively small amount of information at a time. And that short-term storage is fragile: A break in our attention can sweep its contents from our mind. Our ability to learn suffers.

The extensive brain activity that Web searchers are seeing may be more a cause for concern than for celebration. Consider it another variation of cognitive overload—and a very insidious one.

10. Resources

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

Without Stress® Books

Live Without Stress:
How to Enjoy the Journey

Soft Cover | eBook | Audiobook

Click to Learn More / Buy ➤

Discipline Without Stress® Punishments or Rewards: How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility and Learning

Hard Cover | eBook

Click to Learn More / Buy ➤

Parenting Without Stress:
How to Raise Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your Own

Hard Cover | eBook | Audiobook

Click to Learn More / Buy ➤

Parenting Without Stress

Soft Cover

Click to Learn More / Buy ➤

Without Stress® eTraining

Discipline Online
(Video On Demand eCourse)

Click to Learn More ➤

Speaking and Presenting

If you are interested in hiring a speaker to reduce stress in living, parenting, or teaching, visit

Personal Coaching or Staff Development

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.

Visit Our Store

Questions, Thoughts, or Comments?

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to contact me directly at

Subscribe to My Mailing Lists

Stress Management
Monthly Newsletter

Stress Management
Video Tips


Not yet a subscriber to my very popular "Stress Management Monthly Newsletter" and/or my "Stress Management Video Tips"? Don't miss out! Subscribe now; it's quick, easy, and FREE!

Youtube Facebook Twitter Linkedin Instagram

Dr. Marvin Marshall

PO Box 11
Cypress, CA


Phone: 1.714.220.1882