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Restorative Practices at home

Restorative practices focus on having positive relationships. When we make a mistake, they ask us to take responsibility for our behavior and make amends. At the heart of restorative practices is the belief that we are all in this together. At home, this can include taking responsibility for keeping spaces clean or for the choices we make, having positive relationships with family and friends, and being respectful of those around us. Restorative practices support children in learning how to create healthy relationships and how to resolve conflicts.

Circles to Connect as a Family

What’s a circle?

Circles are a great tool for having meaningful conversations as a family. After someone decides a topic, every member of the family gets their turn to share their response without interruption. Everyone’s voice matters, and we all get to know one another a little better.

When could I do a circle?

  • During meals or while preparing meals
  • During car rides
  • During bedtime or morning routines
  • Preparing for something stressful
  • Through texting

Helping Your Child When They are Upset

When a family member is upset or overwhelmed, it is usually very hard for them to listen. This is especially true when they feel like they are being lectured at. To help them calm down and get ready to figure out how to move forward, use the questions below.
1.
AFFECTIVE QUESTIONS
Affective questions elicit expressions of attitude, values, or feelings. These kinds of questions prompt the individual to think about how their behavior impacted others, what can be done to repair harm, and what are the needs of both parties.

Starting points to consider:
  • "How do you feel about that?"
  • "Is that important to you?
  • "Would you like to....?"
2.
VALIDATE FEELINGS
Make statements and ask questions that validate feelings. Try to stay objective and allow the individual to speak from the heart.

Starting points to consider:
  • "Are you alright?"
  • "How are you feeling right now?"
  • "What do you need now?"
  • "What will make it better?"
  • "How can I help?"
3.
PERSPECTIVE BUILDING
Ask questions that rewind the event and give clues to perspectives of all individuals involved.

Starting points to consider:
  • "What happened?"
  • "What led up to this?"
  • "I'm curious - what were you thinking at the time?"
  • "How did you feel when that happened?"
4.
REPAIR
Moving forward

Starting points to consider:
  • "How can we make sure this doesn't happen again?"
  • "What do you need to see happen now?"
  • "What can you do in a similar situation?"

Talking About Behavior at Home

Restorative Conversations

If you need to talk with your child about their behavior, you can use a restorative conversation to help them:
  • See the behavior from both perspectives
  • Understand how it impacts others
  • Take responsibility for their part
  • Figure out a plan to fix it.
This tool works best if everyone is calm and open to talking. So take a break if you need to until everyone is ready to speak kindly.

Both the adult and the child will answer each question.

How to Have a Restorative Conversation

Question Why Am I Asking This? Who Should Answer First Another Way To Ask (backup for "I don't know" answer)
What happened? To hear the story from both perspectives Child What was happening before I asked you to stop playing?
What do you think I saw before I took the ____ away?
Who was impacted? To understand impact of behavior Child How do you think ____ might have felt when you did that?
Who saw you do that? How do you think they might have felt?
What part can you take responsiblity for? To take accountability *Adult What is a choice that you made?

What would you do differently next time?
How will we make things right? To make a plan to repair harm Child, with adult support if they struggle to identify next steps **How will we move foward?

How will we fix it?

What do you think your consequence should be?
*Adults taking responsibility for their part first is a great way to teach a child to take responsibility for their part. Taking responsibility does not mean you are sorry. It just means you know you might have done something that made things more difficult for the other person. Here are some examples:
  • I could have been more clear in my expectations.
  • I should have waited to ask you to do that until I had your full attention.
  • I wish I hadn’t raised my voice. This situation is stressful for me, too.
**Apologies and promises “to never do it again” often don’t make anyone feel like things have been fixed. We want to see our children have an actual next step after these conversations. Lots of ideas are listed below! If someone apologizes during the conversation, you can say:
  • Thank you. How can you show that you’re sorry?
  • I accept your apology, and how do we make things right?
You can also use a restorative conversation if two family members are arguing. Have each of them answer each question.

Meaningful Repair - More Than A Consequence

Repair should:
  • Help a child feel reconnected to the family and/or community
  • Be directly connected to the harm caused (logical consequences)
  • Support learning and skill building

Examples of Meaningful Repair

Issue To Address Tasks To Consider
Increased Responsibility
  • Set the table each night for a week and help with dishes
  • Make the grocery list with a budget and help with the shopping
Mending/building a Relationship
  • Spend an hour after school playing with their sibling a game of thier choosing
  • “Interview” their family member to learn more about them
Committment to closing a knowledge gap, and possibly sharing with others
  • Research the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain and possible replacement outlets
  • Research screen time and the recommendations for youth
Committment to Closing A Skill Gap
  • How to use the stove (or other appliances) properly by helping to prepare a meal
  • Make a list of three self-calming techniques they can use when feeling angry or frustrated
Developing My Own Action and Accountability Plan
  • Create a schedule that lays out when they will do schoolwork, chores, band practice, etc., followed by three strategies to help them follow that schedule.
Affirmations and Appreciation
  • Write notes listing things they appreciate about their different family members
  • List five strengths their sibling has and deliver it in a creative way
An action that helps "redefine" the child's reputation/role in the family
  • For the one who frequently causes the family to be late- get up early to make lunches for everyone to help them get out the door
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