I had the joy of being with my
daughter’s family this last week. They
are an “entwined family”….2 children
from Dad, 1 from mom, and now the new addition …who is all of theirs. Erinn is the only one in the family
genetically related to everyone else. The little “missing link.”
creative. I enjoy watching them invent
activities and scenerios during their play.
Eventually, though a “meltdown” occurs.
Someone gets frustrated. There may be
tears, a teddy bear may be thrown in frustration, and then the dreaded
“timeout” (1 minute per year of age).
Birds (my first experience with the board game version) a meltdown occurred due to one
of the “pigs” not having a hat. As one
child grabbed the hat off the other child’s pig, a punch was thrown.
And sadly, as awful as the punch was
of itself, it grazed Dad as well as the intended sibling. This of course led to the dreaded “time
out.” The older granddaughter was
devastated to be placed on “time out,” and reluctantly headed to the bedroom
for a chat. It was time to explain the
concept of restorative justice. I
explain this day after day to the juveniles at the facility I work at. If you harm someone or steal their
belongings, you are responsible to make it right.
If you don’t manage your anger and
monitor your impulses, eventually someone else will.
You are responsible for your
I explained to her that she chose to
punch her sibling. This is wrong. She must complete the timeout. She appeared to understand the concept and
completed the timeout with no further “drama.”
I wish it was that easy with the
boys at our facility. Many have never
been given an example of appropriate behavior per society’s rules. (Don’t harm,
don’t steal, don’t lie, go to school, pay your bills, care for your children.)
in prison. Some have never met their fathers,
and others are glad theirs weren’t involved in their lives. Many of them have seen their moms struggle to
care for them and provide food for them.
Eventually the boys adapt their
behavior enough to leave our facility.
They make good choices; they complete their GED and/or the required high
school courses; they say the right things.
And they return to the same homes
they came from. I see them change while with us. I probably see them at their best ever — 3
meals a day, going to school, getting a full night’s rest.
They walk out the front gate, and I
cross my fingers and hope.
children doing the right things with their children. They teach, they guide, they listen, they set
limits, they love, they care….they do their job.
They aren’t afraid or too busy to
re-direct, explain and enforce rules.
It can be frustrating and
overwhelming at times…but they are building character and moral integrity with their children and it should never be taken for granted that this is the way of all families.
You can contact Sally by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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