Behavior Management in Teens: Coping Mechanisms and Restorative Practices: a Webinar
with Samantha Johnson
School Leader, Collegiate Baton Rouge
Ms. Johnson is the School Leader at Collegiate Baton Rouge, where she has focused on implementing school-wide restorative approaches. She has also founded individualized tutoring programs, and taught English and Composition. Sam is passionate about using restorative approaches to disrupt racist and oppressive systems so that all students can achieve their unlimited potential.
“Behavior problems” in teens are often the result of stress, low self-esteem, or not fitting in. We will discuss ways to respond effectively to behaviors that may seem unmanageable. We’ll learn about restorative practices in a high school setting and how parents can work with their children to recognize behavior triggers, understand what’s behind the behaviors and employ coping mechanisms.
Watch Webinar Video:
Julie McKinney, I’m from Exceptional Lives. As you notice, the webinar will be recorded and that’s so we can put it on our website to share with others who weren’t able to be here tonight. So we’re Exceptional Lives. We are really excited. We have Samantha Johnson talking to us about behavior management in teens, coping mechanisms and restorative justice practices. Please feel free to introduce yourself in the chat, answer our fun poll, and then we will put up the results and put up a real poll, and get started with everything else. So I’m excited everyone is here. We’re very excited to have Sam here and I’m just gonna go through quickly, some housekeeping things, and then we will let her get started. I am sure you all know how to connect to audio. We like to make sure that everything is accessible in this webinar to people who might have, you know, different disabilities obviously, and so for people with visual impairments, we have a live transcript at the bottom of your screen. You can click on that and you can either get closed captions that come on your screen, sort of sentence by sentence, or you can have the live transcript constantly going on the side, so you can choose that. Also for accessibility, for people who might have visual impairments, we describe ourselves what’s on the screen, just so you know, and just, I’ll take a moment to say that. Yeah, so people were a little confused by this question, the, “what” seem to have the most answers, so people aren’t quite sure which they prefer as far as babies and animals dressing like each other. So there will be another poll that pops up soon, so please answer that, and I’m just gonna describe myself. I am a white woman with short brown hair and glasses, blue shirt, blue nail polish, with a plant in the background, so that is me, and please answer the poll. Tell us who you are, just going through the housekeeping still. Please use the chat to introduce yourself, comment, share any thoughts you like. If you have questions, Sam’s gonna answer them at the end of the webinar and please put them in the Q and A box that’s at the bottom of your screen, and that will be for questions. For other things, use the chat and the default is set on hosts and panelists, so if you want to have a comment to everyone or introduce yourself, just change it to everyone down there at the bottom. If you do have a technical problem, or have a question specifically just for the host and panelists, obviously toggle it back. And so we can go on to the next slide. I talked about the Q and A function. You can also click on this box to send a question anonymously, if you don’t want your name to be connected with it, so we just want people to feel comfortable asking whatever questions you like. Okay, so I’m just gonna tell you really quickly just a little bit about Exceptional Lives. Again, reminding you to do the poll, if you haven’t done it. So Exceptional Lives, we are a nonprofit and our goal is to help give support and information to families, caregivers, and providers who work with children with disabilities, children through young adults. Obviously today’s webinar is more focused on teens and young adults, but we have resources and support for everyone from birth up through adulthood. We have resources specifically for Louisiana, which, you know, if you click on the Louisiana section, you will get straight to those resources. We can go on to the next one. So how do we support families? We do it in a few different ways. We know that, well, first of all, let me just say that most of the staff at Exceptional Lives, we have our own children who have disabilities. We’ve been through a lot of the processes, the questions, you know, being the squeaky wheel, the looking for information late at night, the trying to figure out how to best support our children. We’ve been through that, and we create our resources from that perspective. You know, we have been there and we want people to know that they’re not alone. So what we do is we help you learn more about services for your child, how to get them. We help guide you through processes like special education, early intervention, transition to adulthood after high school, getting benefits like Medicaid waivers or SSI, so we try to help you through those processes. We also have a resource directory to help you find local services for your child, disability related services, things like speech therapy, occupational therapy, parents support groups, social and recreational groups for children with disabilities or teens. We have vocational programs and lots of other disability related services that you can search by zip code. You can also, if it’s a medical service that might take Medicaid, you can filter and just get the listings of those that accept Medicaid, so we’re trying to make things easy for you to find. We also have perspectives from parents. We have blogs and podcasts from parent perspectives that talk about tips and give emotional support for different things that you may be going through with your children and your families. We have a big social media presence. We have a Louisiana Facebook group and a national Facebook page, just a place to share questions, answers, tips, events, anything that might support you around your child with a disability, so we can go on to the next one. This is our podcast. It’s called “Just Needs, Parenting With Children With Disabilities”, and so take a look at that. That’s a new service that we offer and just the poll results have come up, so just taking a quick look. Yeah, so it seems like we have some administrators and providers. We have some adults with disabilities. That’s great. We love to have you here and most people are parents and of those, most caring for a young adult with a disability, so thank you for filling that out. That helps us to know sort of how to adjust the information. So I think one more slide about Exceptional Lives and then we’ll get on to Samantha. We have a family feedback team that we are recruiting for right now, and if you are interested in that, please put your email in the chat. Let us know. The point of that is just to get some families who are dealing with issues around their children with disabilities to help give us feedback on the resources that we’re creating, answer surveys, join discussion groups, recruiting other families. We try to get as much feedback from families as we can to make sure that what we’re doing is useful to you all. You’ll be paid for your time, and so, if you’re interested, please do that. We’re also looking for families who are willing to be interviewed for like a 20 to 30 minute interview with your child, if that works, and then we just sort of take clips from that video and share it on social media or on our site, just to help other parents hear from you about what worked for you and some ideas that might help them. Okay, so that is Exceptional Lives, and next is Samantha. Samantha Johnson is a School Leader at Collegiate Baton Rouge. She began her journey in Baton Rouge as the founding Dean of Students and she focuses on implementing school wide restorative approaches, which you’ll hear all about in just a minute. Before that, she came to Baton Rouge five years ago. She spent time as a Vice Principal at a high school in the Northeast where she started tutoring intervention program to ensure that all students get their individual academic needs met. Since moving to Baton Rouge, in addition to being the Dean of Students, Sam has taught ninth and 10th grade English, along with AP English Language and Composition. She’s passionate about restorative approaches, as you will hear, and disrupting racist and oppressive systems so that all students can achieve their unlimited potential, so Samantha welcome. We are excited to hear from you and I will turn it over to you now. All right, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this evening to learn about restorative approaches. For accessibility reasons, I will describe myself. I am a black woman in her thirties wearing a blue shirt, long brown hair, and I’m also also wearing some really cool dolphin earrings, because that is my school’s mascot. All right, we’re gonna jump in, and I wanna start with some shared language. I’m gonna be talking a lot tonight about punitive discipline and restorative discipline. All right, and when I say punitive discipline, I’m talking about discipline that’s focused on punishment, make an example of a student, or teaching the student a lesson, although that lesson is often unclear, and restorative discipline, which is focused on repairing harm that occurred, reflection, and learning new behaviors. Before I jump to the content, I wanna do a quick mindset check in and just say, that if you have tension with some aspects of restorative approaches, that makes sense. We were all socialized and experienced very punitive systems, so naturally we may harbor some deep seated punitive beliefs and feel a little push back about some of the things I’ll talk about tonight. My ask is that you investigate that feeling and compare it against some of the research around restorative approaches. So I’m gonna get started by answering this question, What are restorative approaches? I always like to start with what they’re not, so they’re not focused on blame. They’re not focused on punishment. They’re not focused on rules necessarily, and they’re not actually focused on right and wrong. They are focused on problem solving in a way that works for everyone. They’re focused on fixing relationships and strengthening communities, and they’re focused on expressing feelings and needs and really focused on teaching, in my context high school students, to take responsibility. Before we can get into anything around restorative approaches or changing behavior or coping, it is really essential that kids, humans understand feelings and emotions. Our feelings and emotions impact their actions, and if we don’t know that, if we’re not aware of that, it is really hard and almost impossible to change behavior. In service of that, I have a brief video, about two minutes, that I want us to watch and keep in mind as we go into tonight’s session. I’m gonna play it. Hopefully I’m gonna be here. [Video Narrator] When we hear the word emotion, most of us think of love, hate, happiness, or fear, those strong feelings we experience throughout life. Our emotions are the driving force behind many of our behaviors, helpful and unhelpful, Just where do our emotions come from? Our brain is wired to look for threats or rewards. If one is detected, the feeling region of the brain alerts us through the release of chemical messages. Emotions are the effect of these chemical messages traveling from our brain through the body. When our brain detects a potential threat, our brain releases the stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol, which prepare us for a fight or flight response. When we detect or experience something rewarding, such as someone doing something nice for you, our brain releases dopamine, oxytocin, or serotonin. These are the chemicals that make us feel good and motivate us to continue on the task or behavior. In these instances, the feeling region of the brain kicks in before the thinking part. Sometimes the reactions of the feeling brain are so strong that it dominates our behaviors and we’re unable to think rationally in the moment. Our emotions hijack our brain. While many of our emotional responses happen subconsciously, our thinking can influence our emotions, and sometimes this can be unhelpful. Just thinking about something threatening can trigger an emotional response. This is where we can manage our emotions with conscious thinking. Our emotions play a powerful role in the way we experience the world. Understanding and regulating our emotions through our thoughts and behaviors can help us take greater control of our brain and achieve our goals. All right, thanks for sitting through that brief video. Like I said, emotions have a huge impact on our behaviors, right? When working with kids, teenagers, you’ll often notice that after a big blow up or something disruptive happens, kids can often say exactly what they should have done or like the appropriate reaction, but because they’re not yet in a place where they can recognize their feelings and how their emotions impact them, the emotional part of the brain will overcome the thinking part of the brain, which leads me to the next part around listening and identifying triggers. The first one is, I just wanna name that many kids, especially teenagers, are not used to being genuinely listened to. By the time a lot of kids get to me in high school, they’re used to being told, “Do it because I said so,” or not having rationale explained to them, and because of that, they don’t have an opportunity to explain their reaction to things and how they’re thinking. And because of that, in supporting teens, it’s really imperative that we listen and help them navigate and name feelings, because if they can’t name the feeling, they can’t sustainably change the behavior, which leads to triggers, right? And to be clear, a trigger’s a thought usually brought about by an action that leads to a challenging response, to a situation. Teens that struggle to name their emotions can find it really difficult to identify their trigger, so they’ll often find themselves in a cycle of like big blow ups or disruptive behaviors or behaviors that like cause things they are not excited about and they don’t know why it’s happening because they can’t name the emotion, so they can’t figure out the trigger. Helping students identify what triggers them is essential to changing their behavior, and that only happens through conversation, observation, and really building those relationships. So I’m gonna spend a little bit of time talking about my context in my school. So my school’s high school in Baton Rouge that uses restorative approaches and it shows up for us in five big ways. The first is return to community meetings. So for us, after a student engages in a disruptive incident or a pattern of behaviors, think like fights or something as low level as continued skipping, we bring the whole team together, and that includes the student, the family, our director of discipline, and any other key stakeholders, and we come up with a return to community plan. I’m gonna preview one of those later, so I’m not gonna go into to too many details there. Another big tool for us is mediations. With teenagers, especially with the advent of social media, it is a huge area for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and that often leads to a lot of conflict with teens. Mediations allow for kids to come together before a conflict ideally, sometimes after a conflict already has occurred and sit down and name what’s going on for them, what was happening, what’s perception, what’s reality, and solve conflict in that way, and it really shows them that there are multiple ways to resolve conflict. We have restorative circles. This might happen, for example, if a kid is struggling with behavior in a lot of their classes. Teachers have tried some level one interventions and it’s not working, so we might bring all the teachers together, the student, their family sit in a circle and talk about the impact that the behavior is having on the community and together work to come up with an action plan. We also have a restorative center in our school and that’s for kind of lower level behaviors and it gives students a chance throughout the day to be referred. They complete your reflection and kind of come up with an action plan from there to repair the harm and reenter class. Again, I wanna bring us back to what restorative approaches are. They’re focusing on strengthening relationships and building social-emotional skill, not punishment or coercion. They’re different from our society’s normative way of thinking about justice. They’re modeled on the reality that behavior is learned, okay, so a replacement behavior can be taught. We often get stuck in thinking that kids are just this way and that’s all it is, but it’s not, behavior’s learned, so it can be taught, and restorative approaches do not work unless they are really set in a belief system that the student can make positive behavioral change. So you might be wondering right now, what does that look like? Like, what does this look like? I’m gonna do a brief case study about what that looks like at my school. So we are a school that works with all kids. We are an authentically open enrollment school. If we have a seat for a kid, they can come, doesn’t matter maybe what else they struggled with up to this point, and I wanna talk about Johnny, hypothetical name, for a real kid. So Johnny is an energetic, African American, sophomore with a 504 for ADHD and ODD, and this is his first year with us. Before he came to us, he had been expelled from or removed from every school he had been at since about third grade, and this is when these disabilities started manifesting in a disruptive manner. As a result, the longest he had been in a physical school setting since then had been about three months before being like removed for one of those reasons. Since Johnny came to us, he had a really rough first semester, right? Quarter one and two, lots of disrespect and disturbing the school, incidents around 10, so happened pretty frequently around twice a month. He had to engage in some restorative practice cycles with a fair amount of resistance. I do wanna name up front that often, when kids are introduced to restorative practices, they push back, right? They’re used to a system, a punitive system where they do something wrong, they’re sent home, maybe three, four, five days later, they come back. The same thing usually happens shortly after, and then eventually they can’t come back anymore. So when we ask them to engage in a different way, it’s tough. They’re just like, “Just send me home.” And we’re like, “No, we’re not gonna do that.” So Johnny ended quarter three with us with about a 50% reduction in incidents. Again, restorative practices are not a magic bullet. They’re not gonna totally change a kid overnight or even in six months, and he also ended on the honor roll for the first time in his academic career, celebrated him a ton. He claimed he didn’t like it, but you know he loved it and he also reported feeling the most connected to a school community that he ever felt as he’s wrapping up his sophomore year. Right now, you might be wondering, but what do these cycles look like? For that, I’m gonna walk through a scenario and a response. So a scenario that we sometimes run into for example, is a major disruption breaks out between four girls during lunch. They attempt to fight before adults intervene. The whole school’s disrupted, kids and teachers are shaken and frustrated. With restorative approaches in mind, this is how we would respond. I do wanna name that there are some punitive aspects here. We are not yet at a place as a school where we are a hundred percent restorative, but the red parts are the restorative aspects, so due to the disruption, the students were suspended for three days. The parents were scheduled for return to community meetings, where they made commitments about what it meant to return to the school. When they came back, they completed reflections on their choices during the incident. All girls were or prepped and completed mediations. Two out of four girls were successful this first round. Two out of four were not able to resolve their issues in a way that we felt was meaningful and had to sign stay away agreements where students agree to not interact while we work towards resolution. They were tasked with writing apologies to the entire school and got to choose if they wanted to deliver them to the whole school during lunchtime or to individual classrooms. They then wrote apologies to all adults who were involved in the incidents and delivered them. They practiced their reentry into the classroom, and they did some really intentional role playing and answering questions, really specific questions like, “What happened”, or “Who won”, or “Is it over”, to really set them up proactively to reenter school, focusing on school. And then, for the remainder of the week, to show that the issue was resolved, and in this situation, they came back on a Monday, they were assigned to sit with one another, during lunch with the supervision of a teacher to show the whole community that it was over and it was safe to be in school again. Our restorative approaches really focus on building new skills and like building new pathways for kids about how conflict can be resolved, and also around coping techniques. Coping techniques are a collection of behavior, thoughts, and actions that help you manage changes in your life. We all use coping techniques, some healthy, some not so much. Popular coping techniques and strategies for high school students in my experience include journaling, mindful breathing, like tearing paper, right? If they’re feeling like really escalated and they’re not sure what to do next, tearing something really helps, drawing, listening to relaxing music, and I put relaxing in quotes here, because what’s relaxing for you or for me might not be relaxing to your teen, right? So really allowing the space for the person listening to the music to define what is relaxing. And again, I wanna say, restorative practices are not a silver bullet. It is a process and it takes a lot of time, but it is an investment in your student, your child, and in teaching them a kind of different way to view the world. Four big takeaways before I hand it back over and am hopefully able to answer some questions. One, I think really importantly, is helping teens understand and be able to name their emotions, especially when escalated is key to changing behavior. If you work with students or you have a teen of your own, you might notice that when a kid gets like escalated or overwhelmed or frustrated, they really struggle in that moment to name what’s going on for them, right? They know something’s not right, but they don’t know what it is, because their brain is in that fight or flight kind of situation. If you can help them through listening, through questioning, to figure out what was going on for them in the time, walk them back through that moment, help them figure out when, what was it about what happened that caused this reaction, that is when you start setting them up to change behavior. The other thing to just remember, and like keep at the front of mind is behavior is learned and can be taught, right? I often run into situations with staff and even some families where you’re just like, “This is a bad kid, right?” No, no kids are bad kids, maybe they’re making a series of bad decisions and bad choices, but this behavior’s learned. They learned this behavior somewhere. It’s serving them in some way and you can teach them a replacement behavior if you’re able to clearly name and identify when the behavior comes up. And again, this will not happen overnight. The next is identifying triggers and healthy coping mechanisms is key to success in high school and beyond, right? Really knowing yourself, what gets you escalated, what helps you cope, what deescalates you is gonna be so important, and restorative approaches really sets kids up to be able to do that. And then the last one that I wanna name, that really guides me and why I do this work is restorative practices have the ability to change how students feel about themselves, feel themselves and their future. One reason I love doing work with high school students, I love doing work like specifically with restorative approaches is you get to see folks transform their belief about what’s possible for themselves and their future. And that is one of the powers of repairing harm through restorative approaches. On that note, I am done with my part of the presentation and will happily hand it over to answer any questions. [Julie McKinney] Okay, thank you so much. This is awesome. So, we have a few questions here and I’m encouraging people to send more. We’re getting questions from a few different places, so please put them in the Q and A if you have them, but one question is, it sounds like what your school is doing is so great, but also sort of novel, and I would imagine that many schools don’t do this or don’t do this well, so I guess if our kid is in a school that does not use this approach, how can we encourage our school to use this kind of approach? Yeah, when I think about how to use it in systems that are a lot more punitive, I think it’s all about communication and relationship building, really figuring out, in most schools, hopefully in all the schools that are present here, there is at least one person that is in a kid’s corner, someone who’s like got their back in really figuring out how to leverage that relationship, to get the student to start explaining kind of what’s going on to them. And then widening that discussion, opening up that discussion for more folks, and then really advocating for the use of more restorative approaches. School systems in general are getting a lot of pushback around the number of suspensions, like suspensions don’t work. There’s a lot of research that says suspensions don’t work and schools, for the most part, are trying their best to kind of keep schools safe and keep everyone in the loop and learning, but really advocating for more restorative approaches and less suspensions because we know that our students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended, and it’s because a lot of these systems are in place to really help folks understand them and break through that boundary. Right, great, and are there training programs for school staff to take, to help them learn how to do this? I imagine that it’s not that easy to learn these techniques and this approach. Yeah, I mean, there definitely are some organizations out there. I’ve done a couple of trainings with like restorative, I’m trying to remember the name. It’s been a while since pre-COVID, those pre-COVID days, the last restorative approaches training I went through, but there definitely are organizations that do them and I can share those out afterwards when I’m able to kind of look at my email and pull them up, but there are organizations that do this work with schools and are willing to help schools kind of fight that battle. And there also are some like really amazing books that explain the challenge of doing it. “The Restorative Approaches Handbook” is one I kinda read every summer to ground myself before starting a new school year, and it explains, has a lot of case studies of how to approach students, different ways to ask questions to get students to engage in a different way, so “Restorative Approaches Handbook”, great, great investment if that’s something you’re interested in and I can definitely share back with resources I know about trainings. Okay, great, great, thanks. Yeah, we have just one comment here from Celeste. She says, “As the counselor at our school, we see great success with a restorative approach. Allowing the students to name their feelings is so important. Our principal advocates on reflection, and we find out so much from them and how they’re feeling through incidents.” That’s great. Thank you, Celeste. It seems like such a simple thing, doesn’t it? Name your feelings, but it’s something that we don’t do automatically, and especially with teens, as things escalate. So, clearly this is an approach that’s used for everyone across the board, but you mentioned something Samantha about how it happens disproportionally for students of color and students with disabilities, and we know what a big problem this is. And so I guess, do you think this approach can help schools be less racist and discriminatory in their policies? I mean, can it help sort of move them in that direction as well? Yeah, I definitely think it can. I think one of the powers of restorative practices, especially at the high school level and my experience is that it humanizes everyone involved, right? Like for restorative approaches to really work, it requires vulnerability, not only on the part of the kid, but on the part of the adult, right, like you have to name how you were harmed. I remember really clearly, like my second year at my school, I was still teaching and there was this girl in my class who just like, ha, she gave me a run for my money every day. I would leave class sometimes near tears, so I was just so frustrated. I just didn’t know what to do and we had like a close the loop conversation in the summer actually and I told her, I was like, “I feel like I’m working really hard. I feel like I’m bringing my best, and I feel like you like hate me, and sometimes, when I leave class, I just feel like crying, because I don’t know what else to do, because I feel like I’m working really hard.” And she was just shocked. She was just like, “Wait, what do you, you have feelings? Like you have emotions?” And I was like, “Yeah, like I’m a human too and I have like human feelings,” and our relationship totally changed after that. And I think that it just allows for kids to feel listened to and feel a part of it, and I also think, especially for black and brown kids, and especially our boys, right, there’s often these moments where, teachers say they feel unsafe because high schoolers are kids, but they’re really big kids, right. Sometimes they’re really big. Sometimes they’re bigger than you, and after they have a pretty explosive moment or something happens or their disability manifests in a way that feels really dangerous, being able to have that conversation after just like creates a sense of safety and connection because the feeling of not being safe, which I think leads to a lot of the suspensions, sort of like disrespect or like defiance or whatever you call it comes from like not feeling that connection, not feeling like, “Oh, I have the power to stop you from doing this thing.” And when you feel like that power is lost, as that authority figure, it is really hard for you to wanna engage with that student. And I think, when it’s done well, and students are able to come back and reflect and be like, “Okay, so Ms. Johnson doesn’t see me as this horrible kid,” right? Like, “I can come back. I’m not in this cycle where I made this one choice. Now I’m on this path where I have to keep doing this because this person doesn’t even want me in the space.” It just allows kids to grow and show how multifaceted they really are, which cuts down on a lot of the discipline referrals. When I talked about Johnny, he had gotten into this pretty bad incident earlier this year where a teacher had been pretty triggered by his behavior and they kind of went back and forth and it got a little bit outta hand and the teacher was able to come back and like apologize for his part in it. And he was like, “Hey, what you did really triggered me, and that’s why I responded this way, and I’m sorry that I responded that way.” And this kid said an adult had never apologized to him before. He’d never had an adult apologized to him in his life before. And now they’re pretty good, right, when there’s a lot of times where something like that happens, and the kid holds onto a lot of resentment, the adults holds onto a lot of resentment, it’s just a space where nobody can be successful, so I do think opening it up and really allowing for that vulnerability allows for just a lot more space for kids and adults to grow. Yeah, no, that’s really interesting. A couple things that you said just sort of struck me. One is just sort of reminding people I’m a human too, and I think adults sometimes get so caught up in the incident and what happened that sometimes they have to be reminded that these are human people with feelings that are involved in this, and sometimes that can change a little bit. The other thing you said that struck me, and is something that I know we can all relate to is that you said when someone’s disability manifests in a way that ends up in this behavior, and I think that’s another thing that we as parents, or we as staff have to remember, or remind people who are working with our kids, that the disability, the nature of their disabilities, often lead to these triggers being much bigger than they otherwise would be. And so for people who have trouble communicating their needs or sort of feel put upon and treated differently, so I like that you named that because that seems like something that we all have to remind people around our kids sometimes. So we have another question, which is, so this process that you’re talking about, this approach, like I said before, it seems like people have to learn how to do it, so we, as parents of teens at home, how can we sort of encourage some of these coping mechanisms and use this restorative approach with our own kids at home, not having been trained in it and stuff, so what does that look like and what can we as parents do at home? Yeah, I think what I’ve often advised parents on is restorative approach is all about repairing harm, right? So it’s one, being able to name to yourself, what harm was done, and I think some folks struggle with that for emotional harm, right? So for example, couple years ago we had a kid, he got really frustrated and kicked the wall, right? And then there was a hole on the wall, so the harm was on the wall, so then one part of his returning community plan was he worked with someone to repair the wall, right. But often the harm is emotional, so it’s like, “Hey, my trust was broken. I feel like I can’t trust you anymore.” Right? So really, not being afraid to communicate that explicitly about what harm was done. So it’s like, “Hey, when you miss curfew, or when you did this thing, it broke my trust, and I wanna be able to trust you, so we need to do something so that we can repair that relationship, so I feel like I can trust you again.” And that could look like, some of my parents have kids do reflections, right. They get really into the reflections we have them do at school, and then they have them reflect at home like, “Hey, what did you learn from this?” Like really sit down, think about this, “What did you learn? Why did you do it?” Right? “Talk to me. Why did you do it? Why did you feel like you had to make this choice? What could you do next time, in this situation happen again? What are some options?” Even if you’re not confident, they’re not even confident they’ll make those choices. Do they know like what other choices they could make if they were in a situation like this? It feels really silly and kids hate it at first, but it worked so well, like not being afraid to role play. So it’s like, “All right, let’s pretend we’re there again. I’m this person. You’re yourself. Let’s talk about, let’s like get in the moment and figure out what happened there.” And then, it’s less said in the chat, getting kids to talk about their feelings, really giving kids a vocabulary, cause often kids, when you ask how they’re feeling, will be like, “mad, sad, angry.” No, like, “Are you angry or are you frustrated? Why? How does it feel? How does it feel in your body right now? What caused you that? What were you doing right before that happened?” Like really getting kids to investigate themselves that deeply, because when they can recognize what it feels like in their bodies when they’re like getting angry, when they’re getting to a point of almost no return, that starts to build the opportunity for them to intervene or to maybe try one of the coping things. So for kids who, like teachers speaking really loudly is really triggering for them, we often give them coping mechanism where it’s like, “All right, if you feel like you’re about to explode or you feel yourself at the edge,” then we come up with, maybe there’s a card system where they show like a green or a red card, just, and also I would say, cause we do this all the time, not being afraid to try something and fail, right? So maybe you tried this system, it just doesn’t work. And just be like, “All right, we tried, it didn’t work. We’re gonna try again because like, we’re not gonna give up on you and we believe that this can change.” And just not ever giving up on expressing the belief that it can get better because it can, kids can change. It just takes work. That is one thing about restorative approaches, restorative practices, it is work. Yeah, no that’s great. So we have only a couple minutes and I do wanna just do a few things at the end. We do have a poll that we’re gonna put up in a minute. I just have one really quick question if you can answer it, cause I know we have some parents of younger kids here and I know you might have answered part of this with talking about giving people the vocabulary, but any other tips for parents of younger kids who don’t have the skills to talk about things, role play and what you’re saying, just quickly? . Yeah, I will name up front the younger kids are not my specialty. Yeah, I don’t wanna put you on the spot, but just. But, the things I’ve seen work is on the feeling side, where kids, your five, six, seven-year-old doesn’t have the vocabulary to maybe name it. It’s like they have these really cool feelings charts that you can like print out, right, and you can have a kid point to, like, “All right, like where are you? Where are you right now?” So kids can start to be like, “Okay, I’m here,” with the faces and stuff, I’ve seen that work pretty well for some younger kids. And I’ve also seen a different level of role play that feels a little more like play work with younger kids. I have like a lot less expertise on what that looks like, but I do think there are opportunities. No, that really helps, just those couple things really do help. I can see how that might work. So, there’s an evaluation on the screen, just one more reminder to fill that out and submit it, please. That really helps us to make sure that our webinars are working for you all and being helpful. Sam, if you could just go to the next slide, I just have a couple other things. Actually, if you go are the next one. These are our webinars. Yeah, these are the ones, this is 11 out of 12 that we’re doing. So we have one more webinar next week about skills for employment and independent living for teens and young adults with disabilities, so please feel free to come to that, tell people about this. All of our recordings, including the one today, will be put on our website along with transcripts, so please come back to our site, take a look at Exceptional Lives to see if there are any other resources we have that could be helpful for you, and Samantha, I just wanna thank you so much for sharing this with us. It’s so useful and so important and I think it’s a sticking point that so many parents and schools feel stuck with, and you made it sound like there’s a path for us all to do this in a really positive, effective way, so thank you so much. And I also wanna thank everyone for being here on the webinar. If you have any questions, you can email us through our website, through Exceptional Lives, but again, thank you everyone for being here and thank you, Samantha. That was an excellent session. We appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you all for spending time with me on this late Thursday evening, but I really appreciate it. Okay, thank you so much. Bye bye. End of video presentation
Real Talk About Disabilities:
Issues faced by families of color
These free webinars are for parents and providers caring for children with disabilities. Hear from professionals in the Greater Baton Rouge Area addressing topics that concern their community, such as mental health, racial disparities, life skills, and youth services.