Discipline and Restorative Justice

We often receive questions about our approach to discipline at Fidgets2Widgets. It can be tricky when dealing with 8-14 year olds who are in the process of maturing. After all, discipline for us is never about punishment, but always about helping children to develop their own internal code, their own selfdiscipline. Sometimes a child just needs space to decompress, feel their feelings and move on. But when damage has been done, when relationships have been compromised, it is time to focus on accountability. It is time to take responsibility and restore that relationship. When someone destroys a prized building someone spent hours and days creating on Minecraft, restorative justice means stopping and taking the time to understand the consequences of what you have done. You must be willing to listen to the grief and disappointment your friend now feels. In this space of listening, empathy begins to emerge. No longer content to say a rushed, “sorry,” we witness the natural desire to “make it right.” The children begin to negotiate around what they can “do,” not just what they can “say.” It is inspiring to watch this process.

Recently we had three boys use hacking knowledge to gain an advantage on the F2W server. Once they were faced with staff members shock and disappointment about what they had done and realized how much their actions were going to cost Fidgets2Widgets and the kids who attend, they felt the weight of their actions. They were given time and space to come up with an action that would fix the broken server, return items to other players and restore the trust of our employees. Unlike punishment, this act of restorative justice was hugely successful and left a permanent impression on all.

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