Restorative Practice is a conscious way of parenting, teaching and managing situations that allow for resolutions that work for everyone involved, says a specialist.

Visiting writer and educator Shelley Davidow held two workshops to outline the practice at Skip Whanganui yesterday (Monday).

"Be true and loving, but don't excuse them - the questions you ask should encourage children and teenagers to think about what has happened and take responsibility," she told her audience.

"Blaming and shaming tends to make kids switch off and stop listening - especially teenagers because they have faulty risk-assessment hardware and do dangerous things."


Ms Davidow has been using the practice for some years as a parent and as a teacher at Steiner schools.

"My son was a child with high needs - he would often have tantrums and his behaviour seemed inexplicable sometimes so it wasn't easy to stay calm and stick to the practice.

"He is now a balanced and reasonable adult who is sitting his pilot's licence and doing very well at flying calmly through the skies."

The workshop audience of about 50 were asked to form into groups and explore different scenarios they had encountered with their own children or students and use restorative questioning to respond to them.

The aim is to have the person responsible confront the impacts of their actions and more actively restore, and strengthen damaged relationships and/or property.

Ms Davidow's latest book Raising Stress-Proof Kids has a section on restorative parenting and offers anecdotes and advice on minimising stress in the lives of children and parents.

It is about "keeping things light", but Ms Davidow stresses in the book that keeping things light is not the same as being permissive.

"When we're permissive and let them get away with everything or have everything they want, our kids become bossy, insecure as they push us to find where the boundaries are."


On her first visit to to New Zealand, the writer said she was delighted to be visiting Wanganui which is "on track to become a restorative city".

The Restorative Practices Whanganui Trust was established in 2012 and facilitator Shelly Harkness said it was well supported by the district council, schools, the Ministry of Justice and community agencies and the practice was being introduced into work places.

"The aim is to make it part of the very fabric of the community and the more people in positions of authority who embrace it, the more likely it is that people within our community will thrive and succeed."

Paige's Book Gallery has copies of Raising Stress-Proof Kids for sale and bookshop owner Lesley Stead said she had asked the library to have copies available for borrowers.