Restorative Strategies: #2
Restorative questions

Restorative Questions is a great strategy to deal with conflict and help the bully and the bullied child understand and learn from the bullying.

One of the basic understandings of restorative practices is that there will always be conflict. We will always have misunderstandings, competing needs, interests and differences of opinion. 

As parents we know our children don't always behave as we would like them to. 

Dealing with conflict is part of the parenting job whether we like it or not.

We need to change our thinking so we can see conflict as an opportunity for learning and building better relationships. 

Restorative Questions for the bully

What happened?

What were you thinking at the time of the bullying?

What have you thought about since the bullying?

Who has been affected by the bullying? 

In what way have they been affected?

What do you think you need to do to make things right?

(Questions are adapted from the Restorative Practices Handbook By Bob Costello, Joshua Wachtel and Ted Wachtel)

Keep in mind you are doing this with the child whenever possible the child must be allowed to answer the questions without prompting or interference of an adult. You are there to support and guide them. They may request assistance at any time in which you can provide information or assistance with problem solving. 

This line of questioning seperates the child from the behaviour of bullying. It allows the child to tell their story and start to understand the impact their actions have on others (including teachers, the bystanders and the victim). It also gives them the opportunity to problem solve and fix what  harm they have caused and start building empathy.

Restorative questions for the bullied child

What did you think when you realized you were being bullied?

What impact do you think the bullying has had on you and others?

What has been the hardest part for you?

What do you think needs to happen to makes things right?

(Questions are adapted from the Restorative Practices Handbook By Bob Costello, Joshua Wachtel and Ted Wachtel)

This allows the bullied child to express their side of the story to be heard and understood. It allows them to be a part of the solution which starts to rebuild their confidence and self esteem. 

Allowing the healing to begin

This process can be done seperately depending on the circumstances. Sometimes this is best as the bullied child may not feel comfortable with the bully.  

It can also be done as part of a healing circle where the children, involved parents and a mediator or school authority come together and allow the children to hear each other and find a way to make things right thus promoting healing.

Parents can use this method with their children by slightly adapting the questions to fit the situation.

This process allows everyone the opportunity to be heard and understood. Everyone walks away with their dignity. It creates learning opportunities for building character, resolving conflict, problem solving and building healthy relationships.

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More suggested reading:

More about restorative justice

More bullying solutions

Problem solving


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