• Within schools, educators are focusing on relationships, accountability, and the power of their words. "Its practices replace fear, uncertainty, and punishment as motivators with belonging, connectedness, and the willingness to change because people matter to each other." It's about changing school climates and building positive words and outlooks towards misbehavior.

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  • Traditional approaches are usually punitive; the restorative approach is about repairing what is broken. ASCD.org explains that in traditional approaches, the rules are violated, and accountability is defined as punishment; whereas in restorative approaches, people and relationships are violated, and accountability is defined as understanding the effects of the offense and repairing any harm.

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  • How we hold our children accountable is incredibly important. This approach is not about letting anyone off the hook, but really looking at the relationship between the mistake and the consequence or outcome. Punishments look like detentions or suspensions. In restorative practices, accountability looks like fixing what is broken in the child so that he/she doesn't make the mistake again.

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  • Words have power. The vocabulary which we teach our children to use is powerful. Children often blame the parent or teacher for being punished, but if they’re taught the words "choice" and "outcome," they will learn to understand that their choices are what leads to specific outcomes. Do "things with them, rather than to them or for them."

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  • Restorative discipline emphasizes the need to build and maintain positive relationships. When you change anything to a positive, you can see the relationship. For example, "This child is not giving me a hard time. This child is having a hard time." What do you need to do to make it easier for him? When you change the way in which you view a situation, you can change the lives of children.

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  • Have you ever heard a child say, "This isn't fair"? Fairness is a hot topic with children, and they have a keen sense of fairness that is enviable. Restorative discipline builds on this and "students respond to it because they see its fair structure and they become more cooperative"—because they play the major role in creating a community and being held accountable.

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  • Just because this approach is being used in schools, doesn’t mean you can’t also adapt it for your home. It actually means that you should. Children need consistency. If you employ restorative practices at home, you will be helping teach your children soft skills to be successful in every aspect of their lives, from building relationships to holding themselves accountable and repairing any harm.

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