You’ve probably heard about restorative justice, criminal justice that focuses on rehab through reconciliation with victims and the community. But what about restorative parenting? This proactive approach to parenting focuses on incorporating empathy, accountability, and making things right for everyone in the family.
Like all parenting approaches, the restorative parenting ethos isn’t everyone’s fit. It’s only effective within families that have an intention to communicate responsibly and have everyone take responsibility when they make mistakes.
How does restorative parenting work?
Here are the basics of restorative parenting:
1. Empower with enforceable statements
Restorative parents explain their needs with clarity, love and assertiveness. They teach their kids how to make their own decisions and set firm limits. There are clear boundaries in place that are maintained with care and compassion.
2. Diffuse with redirection
In the restorative parenting ethos, parents focus on cooperation, collaboration and responsibility to deal with challenges instead of using punishment and reward.
3. Teach with natural and logical consequences
Impersonal logical consequences are the objectives when children misbehave. It also includes an element of choice and focuses on the present and future, instead of on the past.
4. Repair with restorative circles
When you use punitive discipline, you seek to answer three questions: Which rule was broken? Who broke the rule? And how should that person be punished? Restorative discipline focuses on what happened and what harm was caused. It asks who is responsible and what needs to be done to restore the harm.
In essence, restorative discipline is a better approach than strict punishment. Youth are much less likely to re-offend when they’re given an opportunity to learn from their mistakes rather than being shamed and punished. Punishment blames one person and makes them feel bad and wrong. Restorative approaches consider the cost to relationships of the harmful act and seek to make everyone whole again.