Sunday, November 07, 2010

Explanation of the Restorative Approach for Parents

I am trying to create an explanation of the Restorative Approach for parents, to be given to them at admission. This is what I have so far. Any suggestions?

Welcome to Klingberg Family Centers! We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your child. We hope the following explanation of our approach will be helpful to you in understanding how we do things at Klingberg.

We believe that all healing takes place within relationships. We will do anything we can to create a strong relationship with your child and with you.

We understand that children and adults do things to try to meet their needs in the best way they know how at the time.

Many of the children and families that we work with have experienced bad things in the past. These difficulties have changed them.

If people have been hurt by other people, they stop trusting. They do not believe that relationships can be a source of help and can be counted on. Instead they have come to see relationships as unreliable and painful. So, it is important that we try to show the children and families we treat that relationships can be trusted and that other people can help.

When bad things happen to people, they start seeing the world as a dangerous place. It feels important to always be alert and looking out for danger. This makes it hard to relax, have fun and sleep. We hope to offer our children and families as safe place where they can learn to relax and learn ways to stay calm.

Many of the youth we treat have not learned the feelings skills that we all need to get through the hard things in life. It is very important that we teach them these skills. Often, the children cannot remember that anyone loves them or is on their side. They have a hard time thinking about people who care when those people are not near them. So we hope to strengthen their relationships with people who care (especially you and your family) and teach them ways to keep those people with them in their hearts.

The children we work with have often come to believe that they are no good and that everything that has happened to them is their fault. We work with them in many ways to develop a strong and healthy sense of their strengths and abilities.

A lot of the children in our programs do not know how to deal with their feelings. They cannot notice their feelings when they are small, name them, or get through them without making things worse. We will ask you to join us in teaching the child how to understand and react to feelings, including teaching them some skills to calm down and get through bad times.

When something goes wrong for one of our youth, they do not trust that others can help them with it. They are already feeling hyped up and anxious. They do not know what to do with all the feelings they are having. So they start to feel very bad, hopeless, and scared. They do something that makes them feel better in the moment, like yell, hit someone, hurt themselves or run away. They feel better at the time but then they have made things worse.

We have to help the child learn better ways to meet their needs, ways that do not hurt them and others.

When one of our children does something that hurts others, we try to figure out why they did it. What need were they trying to meet? Then we think about what they would have to know in order to handle this situation differently next time.

We give them a restorative task that offers them a chance to learn or practice a skill that will help them next time.

Also, we believe that the children need to learn how to make up for damage that you cause. So, when a child hurts others we expect them to make amends, to do something good for the person or people they hurt. So the child will receive or create a restorative task to make life better for the people they hurt. We will help you use this approach within your family if you would like.

Sometimes it may seem that the learning and making amends tasks are not enough when the child does something hurtful. You may wonder if the child should also have a punishment or a restriction. We believe that punishments do not help the child change very much. Instead, what will help them change is to learn skills so that they can meet their needs in a better way.

We urge you to talk these ideas over with your therapist, and let them know any concerns that you have.

We look forward to being part of the healing journey for your child and you.

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