Addressing Conflict And Harm In A Very Positive Way

By February 6, 2020 No Comments

T he concept of how to discipline and how to deal with conflict in this century is far away from physical punishment and humiliation. It has shifted into a more proactive way in which ranges of real-world experiences are used to model their ways of how to face conflict and harm in a much very positive way.

What the best or worse theory is, does not really concern us in this moment. What really is interesting is to look for tools that help us be better parents, teachers and community members.

If I have to choose one, I will definitely go for Restorative Practices. In doing these practices, you look for “restoring the harm that the behavior caused to others, as well as separating the deed from the doer”, and finally by “acknowledging their strengths” the person does feel that is not him/her what is being rejected, but his/her actions. The following are examples of how you can turned a comment from a personal harm into a behavior that needs to be addressed. I copied from the book Restorative Practices Handbook (Costello et all;2019.p13) the following examples:

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Nice job on your project!

I am so impressed with the result of your final project: is the action, not the person.

He is not always mad!

I am so excited you could realized that people have good days and bad days: the sense of empathy is highlighted in here, not the person.

Lucy, Thank you for getting straight to work.

I am thrilled to see tables 1,3 and 4 ready for class

Stop teasing Sandy

I am uncomfortable when I hear you tease Sandy

You should not do that

When I saw you shove past people in the hall, I was worried that someone was going to get hurt.

The following group of questions comes from restorative practices.  These types of practices create opportunities for learning about feelings and behaviors, and how those impact others.  To finish” they must also help repair the harm and face up to the true consequences of their actions”.

(Restorative Practices Handbook;Costello et all,2019). 


  • What happened?
  • What were you thinking of at the time?
  • What have you though about since?
  • Who has been affected by what you have done?
  • In what way have they been affected?
  • What do you think you need to do to make things right?
  • What did you think when you realized what had happened?
  • What impact has this incident had on you and others?
  • What has been the hardest thing for you?
  • What do you think needs to happen to make things right?


  • What was your part in the problem?
  • What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
  • How do you feel when you get teased/yelled/pushed/…. ?


  • What can you do to make things right?
  • Is there anything you want to say to her/him?
  • What do you think would help her/him feel better?
  • If this had happened to you , what you want to have happen now?


  • What can you do to fix this?
  • How do you think you could demonstrate that you are sorry?
  • Obviously (name of the friend) is pretty upset.  Do you have any ideas about how you could make it up to her/him?
  • Your misbehavior was very public. What can you do to show everyone that you feel badly about what you did?
  • What you did affected the whole (family/group/school). I feel like you owe something to everyone.  What can you do to settle that debt?


  • How might you be tempted to act out on this trip?
  • What kind of impression do you want to make on people where we are going?
  • What do you think is the appropriate way to act in (an art museum/friends’ house/long car ride….?
  • List some “dos and don’ts” for this(an art museum/friends’ house/long car ride/….
  • How will you deal with any disagreements or problems you face with other friends/family members/….if something does happen?

Also remember as Newton wisely wrote “Men build many walls, but few bridges”.  Lets dedicate ourselves to build as many bridges as we can.

If you are interested in further information, as well as study more in depth about this topic, The International Institute for Restorative Practices, also visit www.iirp.edu to find more resources and online courses.

Alicia Donovan