Restorative Strategies: #1Restorative Statements

Restorative statements can be used on a continuum from less formal to more formal for discipline. These practices hold your child accountable for what they have done while still allowing them their sense of dignity and self worth.

 Affective statements

Affective statements or more simply put "expressing your feelings" is the least formal and one of the most useful and easiest to use strategies. The idea being we model awareness of our feelings and let  our children know what we are feeling which teaches emotional intelligence by modelling self awareness.

Understanding and being aware of your feelings and expressing your feelings appropriately can have a profound effect on your relationship with your child as they begin to see you as a human being instead of "just Mom" or just "Dad" or the rule maker, or the over protective one, the "wallet" or...well, you get the idea. 

Through research and experience with restorative practices it has been found time and time again that kids are completely unaware of the impact that their behaviour has on others. Most especially their parents. 

By expressing positive and negative feelings kids learn you truly love them and you are modelling self awareness for them.

Also, when they break a rule or behave inapropriately they realize it is more than just a broken rule they have hurt your feelings and effected your relationship negatively.

Restorative statements To reinforce good behaviour

Restorative statements can be used to acknowldege success, hard work, collaboration or any other desirable behaviours. The more specific you are about what your child did and how you feel about it, the better. 

IE: "Wow, you were really kind to your friend" is not nearly as effective as "Cindy, I really appreciate you helping your friend. It was very kind of you."

Restorative statements To Deal with bad behaviour

Similarily, if your child behaves poorly instead of a simple "I am upset" or "that was not appropriate" you can say "Evan, I'm frustrated that you keep bullying. You need to practice being more  respectful" Then discuss with your child ways to be respectful so they are aware of your expectations.

Be sure to recognize any change in behaviour immediately. "I am relieved and a little proud of you. Today, the school called and told me you were respectful and kind to a child who was bullied"

Another example. "Ellie, I  feel disappointed that you were bullying. I know you can be kind and gentle. You are capable of doing so much better. " Notice I did not go off on a tirade and call her mean and no good...It is not about her as a person it is about the action and living up to a higher expectation, knowing what that expectation is and being acknowledged for it.

I always like to give them the expected behaviour with the expression of feelings. Then they know in a positive way what needs to change to make things right. They can then choose to step up and express a better character trait.

Keep in mind these types of statements are better received in private. It is not time to call attention to whatever action or inaction in front of friends.

Practice makes perfect...

"Restorative Practices" means changing your own attitude about parenting. Using discipline that allows your child to keep their dignity and self esteem in place while still making things right and not using punishment.

It takes practice.

"I feel...(your feeling here)...When you do...(the action they were doing) I know you are capable of doing...(the new behaviour). 

You can use the above as a work in progress and as you learn more strategies and practice it will get easier. You need to believe in your child even when and especially when they are behaving poorly.

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