Online Interactions Are Cultivating Anti-Social Boys

Published by — How do we help a kid whose social life is mainly with his screens? The boy shrugs off a question for maybe the 10th time that afternoon.  He seems incapable of simple human interaction.  Mom tries to talk for him as he wriggles and writhes at the table in her impeccable kitchen.  No, she’sContinue reading “Online Interactions Are Cultivating Anti-Social Boys”

Drugs, Drop-outs and Restorative Justice Conferencing

Published by — When a student knows what she wants, it’s a lot easier to help her get through trouble. The lovely Roxanna, as we’ll call her, sighed heavily as she joined a circle that included a school administrator, two conference facilitators and her very pissed-off dad.  The teacher who had promised to make it couldContinue reading “Drugs, Drop-outs and Restorative Justice Conferencing”

When Parents Separate, Family Courts Make Bad Situations Worse

Published by — The legal system is about winning and losing, not about helping a broken family heal. A Chicago firefighter and the mother of their 10-year old daughter Alyssa agreed to live close to each other so Dad could see his child every day.  The extended family, especially two doting grandpas, wrapped themselves around theContinue reading “When Parents Separate, Family Courts Make Bad Situations Worse”

Ask Kids Good Questions, Then Let Them Answer

Published by — In conference, we understand why many parents want to speak for their kids.  But it’s very enabling. Today we’re in a conference with school staff, Mom, and her middle-school son who we’ll call Ryan.  Kids and their families come to conference when the youth’s behavior negatively affects the school community.  Conferences are structured meetings designedContinue reading “Ask Kids Good Questions, Then Let Them Answer”

A Fabulous Question Rescues a Teen’s Life

Published by — Restoration needs a caring community to help offenders see the hurt and wretchedness they’ve inflicted on others. At the ripe old age of 13, the girl had already spent a couple of years being prostituted by her mother and taking all manner of drugs, thanks to Mom and the johns.  Nice, huh? Continue reading “A Fabulous Question Rescues a Teen’s Life”

Create More Disciplinary Options Than just Suspensions and Cops

Published by — “You’re outta here” gets the problem off the school’s plate — and postpones any real solution. If you look into school-suspension data — state or local — you’ll find a bunch of numbers that tell you nothing about the severity of the offenses.  You’ll find high rates clustered in vague categories likeContinue reading “Create More Disciplinary Options Than just Suspensions and Cops”

Rebuilding Broken Trust in a College Community

Published by — Nothing is more convenient than the kick-out solution.  But avoiding unpacking the conflict weakens the community. Professor David Karp runs a Restorative Justice initiative at Skidmore College and researches college-student discipline practices.  He tells this story:  Two students at a Colorado college got the brilliant idea that a prank could liven upContinue reading “Rebuilding Broken Trust in a College Community”

Juvenile Justice Is Not Only Blind, But Deaf

Published by — Increasingly, the formal legal system has taken responsibility for conflict management out of the hands of ordinary people. Sometimes achieving Justice is as simple as listening until the victim feels heard. Increasingly, the formal legal system has taken responsibility for conflict management out of the hands of ordinary people.  The restorative justice movement isContinue reading “Juvenile Justice Is Not Only Blind, But Deaf”

Restorative Conferencing Changes Rotten Behavior

Published by — No one wants kids to be arrested.  But equally horrible is just letting the matter go.  Conferencing offers a third option. The mom and her 15-year-old son are so palpably nervous you can almost see anxiety ions in the air.  He’s committed a seriously foolish act.  He and Mom want toContinue reading “Restorative Conferencing Changes Rotten Behavior”

Bringing Kids In Trouble Back From The Brink

Published by — “I believe everyone deserves second chances, and not just college students with clean records.” Eight years ago, Elissa Bellinger was a happy freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She’d never been in trouble, and never expected she would be. But one night she and her roommates hit the bars andContinue reading “Bringing Kids In Trouble Back From The Brink”