The Role of the Site Team Lead & the Consultant in Implementing Restorative Practices in Schools

Implementation Team

There are many ways to implement restorative practices at schools. The cost of training every person in a district can be prohibitive. When I created the restorative practices in schools program for a large school district in Modesto, I developed a site team system that includes administrators, certificated staff, classified staff. It is unusual to include classified staff in most district-wide initiatives. But if restorative practices are to be implemented school wide, the classified staff must be included because they have their own unique sphere of influence. The training model involves training 7 to 9 team members from each school site for at least 3 years.

Administrator Leadership

The site teams are under the leadership of an administrator who works alongside the trainers and consultants and the site team members. At the elementary level, this person is typically the vice principal. At the secondary level the site lead is usually an associate principal. The training and consultant’s assistance and input equips site teams towards successful implementation. Ultimately, the site team is responsible for implementation. Research says that Restorative Practices (RP) in schools takes 3 to 5 years for full implementation, but my experience over nine years is that it takes much longer.

Site Team Leads & Consultant’s Roles

The heart of what consultants do happens with the site leads by building a strong connection over time. As consultants get to know site team leads, they must be mindful of confidentiality. Consultants often serve a significant role as confidant to many administrators who are often isolated, struggling, fearful of being let go, and don’t know from supervisors if they’re doing a good job or not. There are many opportunities to offer reassurance and support. Sending cards of encouragement when appropriate and congratulations cards when promoted helps build these vital relationships.

Site Team Lead’s Responsibilities1

The site team lead is typically designated by the school principal. In turn, the site team lead is responsible to the selection of 7-9 members of the site team. It is vital that the administrator communicate contact information for each of the site team members to the consultant. Unfortunately, with turnover, the site team lead needs to add new site team members periodically.

Restorative practices were new in the district I work with as of the 2003-04 school year. We ask the site lead to serve as a visionary, risk taker, and encourager to the site team and model restorative practices in his/her daily responsibilities. Leads will also promote Restorative Practices (RP) at their school, The District, and community.

School Site Data

The first year of implementation, the site lead provides data on the school site’s previous year to use as a baseline. Particularly important are demographics, attendance records, school climate surveys, student discipline, home suspensions, and expulsions (if applicable). The site leads provides this annually as soon as the district data is compiled, usually in July.

It is ideal if the site team lead coordinates a monthly meeting with the site team members. This gives the site lead opportunities to work on the site implementation plan throughout the academic year with site team members. The lead and site team members can also collect documentation from RP strategies, i.e., photos, copies of projects and presentations, outline for Restorative Conferences, letter about a student changed by RP, or any other documentation.

On-going Training

Site leads were asked to take 10 minutes each month during a staff meeting to allow for restorative practices training, mostly led by site team members. We encouraged site team members to use Restorative Practice Kete: Book Two Restorative Essentials2 to train their site staff. It features 28 training modules that take from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. Other training suggestions included doing activities from RP trainings; ask the RP consultant to be a guest speaker; ask site team member(s) to share about how they use RP; do a Q and A session; show video clips; give updates on the site’s progress/statistics; etc.

Although the consultants tried to require the monthly training, we discovered that administrators have limited time for staff meetings and many requirements from the district that limits their ability to implement the trainings. Even though it is challenging, we still encourage it.

Also, the site lead carries a great deal of responsibility, they also experience joy as they see first-hand the differences that restorative practices can have on them, their staff, the students, and families.


  1. Information adapted from Positive Behavior for Learning: Book One Introduction, New Zealand Ministry of Education, Crown, 2014, pp. 13; 15.
  2. Crown, 2014.
  3. Image: Leader [hang_in_there]

Is Uvalde Shooter a Victim Too?

As a college child development professor, I occasionally encountered a student with a learning disability. It was rare because most learning disabilities are detected in elementary school. I was always left wondering, how did this student graduate from high school and no one ever caught this?

I wondered the same about the Uvalde shooter. Why did he get teased for his speech, but was never provided speech therapy? In third grade, he was labeled as “at-risk” due to poor test scores.1 His mother complained to his teacher about his being bullied in fourth grade. The teacher claims it was dealt with, but former classmates indicated that the bullying continued. Several weeks before the shooting, he discussed with acquaintances bad memories from 4th grade.1 Does the fact that he returned to his 4th grade classroom to start shooting tell us anything? Is it possible that the Uvalde shooter was also a victim?

How did he miss over 100 days of school for several years in high school, but was never addressed by the school attendance review board? Could it be the last time the mother went to the school for help was way back in fourth grade?

As a mom, educator, grandma, and mother-in-law to a law enforcement officer, I’ve been very engaged in this shooting as written about in two earlier posts, Class of 2030 Missing 19 and Uvalde Grandma is a Victim Too. I was too shocked to read the 81-page report it at one time – I read it in sections. The report indicated that the 18-year-old would be referred to as “the attacker,” not his real name.2 He wanted notoriety. They wouldn’t give it to him. How can they give him notoriety when he’s dead? His real notoriety should be that educators for years and years ignored this young man’s pleas for help.

This 18-year-old teenager had a name and people who loved him. Fox News is the only headline that even counted him in the death count. Uvalde, Texas school shooting leaves 19 children, 3 adults, including shooter dead.3 His name is Salvador Ramos.

“He exhibited almost every warning sign,” John Cohen, an ABC News contributor and the former acting undersecretary for intelligence and counterterrorism coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security, said in an interview. “This guy should have been on everybody’s radar.”4

He’s right. He should have been on everyone’s radar. How did he manage to stay in school as long as he did? Why did no one intervene on his behalf? We can do better. We must do better as educators and parents What child or student are you missing on your radar?


  1. Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting, Texas House of Representatives, Interim Report 2022, July 17, 2022, p. 33
  2. IIbid, p. 31.
  3. Fox News, Louis Casiano and Lawrence Richard, 2022-05-24.
  1. Uvalde shooter exhibited ‘almost every warning sign,’ expert says. The alleged shooter showed a pattern of warning signs. Nadine El-Bawab, July 20, 2022.

5.    Image:,_Texas






Uvalde Shooter’s Grandmother is a Victim Too

We see it all the time in movies, television, books, and social media. Someone points a gun at someone and shoots. Often, that is followed by a graphic image of the victim. But what if it happened to you?

You’ve invited your eighteen-year-old grandson to live in your home since he’s been having problems at home. You have high hopes that with your love and attention, you can help him. You know you can provide a safe place free of drugs. You become one of an estimated 2.7 million grandparents in the United States who are raising their grandchildren.1

May 24, 2022, starts off as an ordinary day when suddenly moments of terror occur. Your grandson, Salvador, points a shotgun at your face. You can’t imagine what he’s doing with a gun aimed at you. You remember the day he was born with pride and joy. He shoots. Directly at your face. He races away in your car. You miraculously get up off the floor and walk to a neighbors’ house to get help. You’re airlifted to San Antonio and are “still holding on” that night.

No one knows how you, Celia “Sally” Gonzales, 66, survived. All your teeth are shattered, and you can only communicate in writing. You may never be able to speak again. You have four surgeries over five weeks with more in the future. You’re transferred to a skilled nursing facility on June 28, 2022.

At some point you’re shocked to hear about the massacre at Robb Elementary. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed. Your precious grandson was killed by police. Your grandson’s funeral is held while you’re hospitalized.

Your life will never be the same. Not physically or emotionally. You will carry your grandson’s loss the rest of your life. You will grieve the rest of your life. You will wonder what signs you missed that he could murder children and teachers in cold blood. You will never know how to answer the question, “Why did this happen?”

Your daughter, Natalie Salazar, starts a GoFundMe2 page to cover your medical expenses not covered by insurance. You’ve received almost half of the 100,000 goal. I identify with this grandmother. I feel led to donate to her expenses. That helps with the financial burden, but not the weight of what happened. No amount of money will erase the pain. You, too, are one of the victims of this heartbreak.


1. Taking Care of Yourself While Raising Your Grandchildren



4. Image: Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England


Who Are You Wearing?

I’m browsing an article I like. And an ad pops up that draws my attention to a few dresses I’d viewed on-line. The ad asks a simple question. “Who are you wearing?” I chuckle. In bold font, “All your favorite designers 30% off only for friends and family.”

I certainly enjoy shopping sales but as for who I’m wearing, my answer doesn’t fit Macy’s advertising target audience. It doesn’t fit brand advertising period.

Learning To Sew

In 7th grade I joined 4-H and learned to sew. My mom became my sewing leader. Prior to that my mom made most all my clothes from my first day-of-school dresses to new Easter dresses to dresses for special religious occasions. The last dress she made me was my 8th grade graduation. The dress was in blushing pink dotted swiss fabric.

New Sewing 4-H Leader

After two years, I could make anything I wanted. “I can’t teach you anything more. You need a new 4-H sewing leader. She found me my freshman 4-H sewing leader during summer school, a Sacramento State home economist teacher. She taught a small group of teens advanced sewing skills. I learned tailoring so I could create blazers and coats and even make Vogue patterns that were more difficult than Butterick, Simplicity and McCalls patterns.

I’m not coordinated enough to play sports, but my eye-hand coordination is excellent. I discovered joy in choosing patterns for 65 cents, calico prints for $1.29 per yard and creating one-of-a-kind clothing. Sewing became my passion. I learned to sew quickly, and could create something new in a few hours.

1960s and Pants

When I started high school, the 1960’s women’s liberation movement brought pants to school. Girls were no longer confined to dresses and skirts. Though fashion changed I’ve never liked pants nearly as much as dresses and skirts. To this day, they are my go-to wardrobe, even in the summer. Skirts and dresses are way cooler than shorts.

I not only still created my own clothing, but made my daughter’s clothes too. I whipped up their Cabbage Patch dolls’ complete wardrobes that my grand-daughters now use with their dolls. I imagined I’d make my future grand-daughter’s clothing and teach them to sew.

Sewing Became Shopping

That was until I was thirty-five. What changed? I took a part-time teaching job and had more money to buy clothes and less time, so I sewed less. Now my sewing abilities are limited by my brain impairment. I managed to make Parker a quilt and Khloe’s doll a blanket and an outfit. I bought a doll pattern and made Kylie some doll clothes.

Often when I shop at clothing stores, I see something I like, such as a collar and sleeves on a dress but I don’t like the rest of it. Or I’d like it if it was a different fabric or color. Lately I’ve seen many items with peplums that I wore in high school. That’s when I wish I still sewed. I’d just mix and match pattern pieces, choose my fabric and create my own designer fashions.

I admit, there are certain designers I like better than others. But these designers have one criteria in common. Their logos and brands are not blasted on the clothing item. I don’t buy eye glasses or shoes that have brands displayed prominently either. Except once by total accident.

Granddaughter and Brands

I said to my granddaughter, “I like your top.”

She replied, “It’s from Justice.”

I then see the brand, “Justice,” across her shirt. I ask, “Does Justice pay you to advertise for them?” At seven, she didn’t understand my point, but perhaps you will.

Who am I Wearing?

Why do people pay more money to wear expensive designer labels and voluntarily advertise for them for free? If designers offered to pay me to advertise their clothing brand I might consider it momentarily, but ultimately, I’d refuse. I’d refuse for the same answer I have to the Macy’s ad.

When Macy’s asks, “Who am I wearing,” My answer is, “I’m wearing me. And I’ve been wearing me since I was twelve years old.” I buy clothing I like without labels on sale. What about you? How would you answer their advertising question, “Who do you wear?”


Image Source: Businessman w toy block Brand text []

New Workshop: Restorative Practices and Picture Books

It is summertime and I’m working on some new restorative practices workshops for this school year. The one I’m most excited about involves children’s picture books. As a former child development professor, I love children’s books.

Social Justice Books

I was inspired by a workshop during the Restorative Justice World Conference in April by Carmen Zeisler with ESSDACK, an educational organization. She provided links to children’s social justice book web sites. I’m enjoying previewing books I’m finding at my local library. My introductory workshop is titled Building Community Using Circles and Picture Books and is for K-3rd grade educators.

New Children’s Book

Today I heard about Wally & Freya, a new restorative practices book for children. This book is also by one of the presenters from the conference. Dr. Lindsey Pointer and Kathleen McGoey taught a workshop, Games and Activities for Teaching Restorative Justice. I get a monthly email highlighting new activities. Today’s activity featured the book.

Amazon describes Pointer’s Wally & Freya as follows,

“A heartwarming picture book that teaches empathy and inclusion.

Everyone knows Wally is a bully. He steals lunch every day from Bella Jo the bear, calls Oliver the owl mean names, and never shares the crayons. So when the other animals decide to write a story together and the notebook disappears, there is little doubt that Wally has taken it.

But what the animals don’t know is why Wally acts the way he does. As they unravel the mystery of the missing notebook, they also begin to understand Wally, which leads to a surprising and joyous discovery.

This sweet story teaches children empathy and the amazing power of kindness and inclusion. The first in a new series on restorative justice practices for kids, this book is sure to delight children and grownups alike.”

I can’t wait to get the book and integrate it into my new workshop.

New Workshop Description

Building Community Using Circles and Picture Books

Learn how your students can connect deeply and personally to the books they read. Using the restorative practices framework, educators can develop safe, supportive spaces in schools by creating community-building circles around picture books. This workshop for K-3rd grade educators begins with an overview of restorative practices in education, circle guidelines, community building circles basics, and connections to CASEL’s (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) standards. Do you have any suggestions, changes, or deletions? I’d love to hear from my readers.

Class of 2030 Missing 19

I called my husband. “Rick, there’s been a shooting at a Texas elementary school. Fifteen are dead.”

I called a second time. “Now it’s 18 have been killed.”

When I hear the next report, “Twenty-one killed in mass shooting,” I cried. How does this keep happening? I pray for the families and all those involved. I crave more information. I watch all the updates for days. Then it becomes a week. Now it’s two weeks. I’ve never followed a school shooting like this before. Why am I obsessed with what happened in Uvalde? I find myself identifying with various roles.

I most identify as Grams. Years ago, I was in kindergarten class; a classroom sign read, Class of 2030. That sounds so far away. I will be so old. Today it doesn’t feel so far away. I recall my grandchildren in fourth grade. What would it be like to hear that one of my grandchildren was killed in a school shooting? I can’t even begin to comprehend the pain. There will be 19 fewer children graduating in 2030. This compels me to pray for the children’s families.

I identify as a mother. I have one daughter who teaches third grade in a rural community in California and another daughter who substitutes in a small town in Missouri. When I became a teacher in the early 80s, school shootings were nonexistent. It didn’t help when my daughter said, “Mom, everyone becoming a teacher today knows the risks. I thought about it when I chose my new classroom.” I’m compelled even more to pray for the grieving mothers.

I identify as a teacher. As a high school and college teacher for many years, I recount the many students entrusted to my care. I think of the teacher who was shot twice lying-in pain while the 10 children in his class were also shot and killed. What would it be like to lie in pain in the silence for an extensive time? I agonize with the life-long consequences of witnessing your students killed? How would I live with that even as a Christian? This compels me to pray for the teachers and the families of the two teachers killed.

I identify as a mother-in-law with a son-in-law in law enforcement. Every time I see a police car I pray for his safety and the safety of others. Law enforcement officers serve others. It appears that mistakes were made Uvalde that may have caused more loss of life. What would it be like to know that my decisions and the decisions of others prevented me from saving more lives? I’m compelled to pray for all the law enforcement involved in this shooting.

I don’t have any answers to all my ponderings. This all lays so heavy on my heart. I truly can’t comprehend the pain and suffering of all those affected by the shootings. I do know that I am compelled to pray. Compelled to pray for the community of Uvalde and for realistic solutions to preventing future mass shootings. The cost of this it too high. Way too high.


Image Source: concept-retro-colorful-word-art-illustration-year-written-shapes-colors-204952191 []

Expulsions and Suspensions for Preschoolers

Last week I did an all-day training for an elementary sited called  Restorative Practices 101. It is a six-hour overview of restorative practices in schools with an emphasis on practical skills educators can use the next day. A state preschool teacher expressed interest. “I’d like to use restorative practices with my preschoolers.”

“That’s exciting. I’m reading more about restorative practices being implemented in early childhood programs. I’ll send you some ideas next week.”

It had been a while since I’ve done research on this topic, so I decided to see what’s out there before I sent her information. As a former early childhood educator professor, I was shocked at what I discovered.

In 2005, Yale researchers reported that preschoolers are being suspended at three times the rate of those in K-12 grades and that Black children were more likely to be pushed out of preschool.

In 203-2014, 6,743 preschoolers in district provided preschool programs received one or more school suspensions according to the U.S. Department of Education. The statistic didn’t include private or non-school district preschool programs who potentially also had suspensions. I’m anxious to read the book, No Longer Welcome: The Epidemic of Expulsion from Early Childhood Education by Katherine M. Zinsser coming out in August this year.

The Federal government released policy recommendations to reduce expulsions and suspensions in 2014 and updated them in November 2016. They are listed below.

Overview of Recommendations1

  1. “Establish Fair and Appropriate Policies and Implement them Without Bias
  2. Invest in a Highly Skilled Workforce
  3. Access Specialized Supports for Administrators and Educators
  4. Strengthen Family Partnerships
  5. Implement Universal Developmental and Behavioral Screening
  6. Set Goal and Track Data Towards Eliminating Expulsions and Suspensions”

Although I don’t disagree with the recommendations as far as excellence in early childhood, I’m not sure that they will truly address the issue of expulsions and suspensions.

“While there have been some encouraging signs — the rate of suspensions and expulsions fell sharply between the 2015-2016 and the 2017-2018 school years — the same stubborn, stark racial disparities remain. Black boys make up 18 percent of the male preschool enrollment, but 41 percent of male preschool suspensions, and Black girls make up 19 percent of female preschool enrollment, but account for an astounding 53 percent of female suspensions.”2

We’ve seen teacher training on positive discipline strategies, classroom management, social emotional development, and managing specific challenging behaviors. Some researchers suggest that disparities will remain until we focus on implicit bias.

I was able to send the teacher some encouraging news about restorative practices in early childhood but unfortunately no real reassurance on reducing expulsions and suspensions.

What do you think about the guidelines? How are they working for your preschool to reduce expulsions and suspensions?



  1. Spotlighting Progress in Policy and Supports. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Updated November 2016.
  2. Strauss, New federal data shows Black preschoolers still disciplined at far higher rates than Whites. November 26, 2020.
  3. Image: Pumpkins and Preschoolers []

Meeting Children’s and Teens Needs Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs After Covid 19 Pandemic

In the last blog post, we read that “Maslow before Bloom” is popular phrase in education circles. This means that our children’s basic needs must be met before they are ready to Bloom by learning. We also examined four critical challenges of children and teens created by Covid-19. Today we’ll look at the five hierarchal levels of Maslow and the dos and don’ts of meeting our children’s and teen’s needs so they can thrive in the post Covid-19 pandemic.

Physiological Needs

Needs that are biologically basic, such as the need for water, healthy food, air, shelter, sleep, clothing, and exercise.1 Free of toxic substances.2

  • Do try to meet basic needs first.
  • Do access 211 free referral resource line.
  • Do be educated about the signs of abuse and how to report.
  • Don’t engage in activities that are unhealthy for the body and the mind.


The need to feel physically and emotionally safe from harm and genuine threats.

  • Do educate yourself about the facts about the rate of infection in your area.
  • Do help your children and teens learn coping strategies and stress management.
  • Do get trained to recognize signs of more serious mental health conditions, like depression, and when to refer to counselors.
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself or others to achieve higher order needs.

Love and Belonging

The need to feel fully and unconditionally supported by someone else, and the need to provide such support and love to another. Friendship, intimacy & connecting with others.1

  • Do attempt to connect with others in your home daily through family activities.
  • Do attempt to connect with others outside of your home through virtual means such as FaceTime, group chats, and positive social media outlets.
  • Do provide opportunities for students to process their feelings to maintain their mental health.
  • Don’t ignore the attempts for connection from healthy members of your family.
  • Don’t assume that passive involvement in social media is satisfying social needs.


The need to genuinely appreciate and respect oneself. Self-esteem, status, recognition, strength.3 Two types: internal esteem (such as self-satisfaction) and external esteem (public acclaim) needs.4

  • Do encourage family members and other peers in their current efforts at thriving in this post pandemic.
  • Do consider giving back to others who are struggling to meet basic needs.
  • Do find other ways to help students tap into their talents, improving and demonstrating their skills.
  • Do shoutouts to your children and teens for doing good work, for staying connected to their peers, or helping a peer, etc. Find something good to say about each child and say it publicly.
  • Don’t meet your esteem needs through others’ achievements, especially your children.


The need to become the best version of yourself that you can be. Pursuing one’s maximum level of creativity.1

  • Do help your children and teens find confidence to persevere through difficulties.
  • Do be creative about how you can give back to and help others who are struggling.
  • Don’t assume that all others are able to focus on their creativity at this time.

Back to the Basics

Parents can utilize the hierarchy lens to navigate barriers to their children’s and teens learning and wellness after the pandemic. Ensuring your children first have access to physiological and safety needs will lead to opportunities to feel connected and loved by family and friends. Once those basic needs are established, you can work with your children and teens to develop coping skills. Now that the basics have been met, your children and teens are ready to learn and grow.6


1.     Corona Viewed From Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Why a public health crisis supersedes all else. March 19, 2020

2.     Quinn, Amy MA, MS, LMFT, COVID-19 and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: How Is Our Motivation Changing? April 20, 2020.

  1. Education Self-Care Grid During Covid-10, Westminster Public Schools, Division of Social Emotional Learning. For more information contact Melisa Sandoval
  2. Meeting the Needs of Children During Covid-19.
  3. Gross, Helen, ASCD Guest Blogger. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the Covid-19 crisis. June 9, 2020.
  4. Singh, Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” Becomes Even More Relevant in the Era of Covid-19. April 20, 2020.
  5. Image: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs []

The Case for Maslow Before Bloom

Abraham Maslow’s well-known theory of human needs fits well in the context of COVID-19. His theory is that human needs are arranged hierarchical and supersedes the others when ones are satisfied. Maslow categorized needs in a triangle format. Basic physiological needs are the foundation. The next four levels are safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization.  Children and teens must acquire the basic needs at each level before functioning successfully at the next stage.

Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy is also a hierarchical classification of the six different levels of thinking. Educators use these when creating course and lesson objectives.

“Maslow before Bloom” is popular phrase in education circles. It is typically used to communicate that before academic learning can be fully embraced, children and teens need their basic needs met.

Children’s and Teen’s Challenges Created by Covid-19

The critical challenges created by COVID-19 for child and teen well-being underscores children’s and teen’s distinctive needs, as well as the unique implications for policies. Let’s look at four challenges facing children and teens.

Higher Family Stress

The day-to-day lives of many families has sharply increased the levels of stress since the pandemic. Chronic or prolonged stress impacts children’s developing biological systems, especially in the early years. Healthy child development consequences can be both immediate and long-term.

Pre-existing educational inequalities are likely to exacerbate school closures and the change to remote learning. “The learning gains or losses made by children during school and Early Childcare and Education Centre (ECEC) closures vary significantly by access to remote learning, the quality of remote instruction, home support, the degree of engagement in schoolwork, and the overall attitude towards learning.”1

Greater Need for Mental Health Supports

Higher anxiety and depression scores of vulnerable children reported lower levels of well-being than before the pandemic. Direct surveys with children identified a deterioration in mental health, greater loneliness, and worries for themselves, their families, and their futures.

Children and Pandemic Burnout

Burnout is described as symptoms of emotional or physical exhaustion caused by long-term stress. Factors are making children vulnerable to burnout, such as unstable learning environments, prolonged isolation, housing insecurity, systemic racism, and various other factors. According to Dr. Earl, children, particularly those in “Black and brown”2 neighborhoods were left without the usual mentorship and support they would receive from their communities, families, and educators during the pandemic.

Greater Need for Support Among Already-Vulnerable Groups of Children

Certain groups of already-vulnerable children and teens are likely to have greater longer-term consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic. Vulnerable groups of children include homelessness, maltreatment, disabilities, children in out-of-home care, and children in the youth justice system. To provide needed levels of support. identifying vulnerable children will need intensified efforts.

In the next blog, we’ll look at each of Maslow’s levels and explore things we can do and not do to help our children and teens post Covid-19.



  1. Dirwan, Gráinne, Olivier Thévenon, Jennifer Davidson, and Andrew Goudie. Securing the recovery, ambition, and resilience for the well-being of children in the post-COVID-19 decade. January 28, 2021.
  2. Matthews, Dona, Ph.D. 10 Ways to Support Your Child as We Move Out of COVID-19. March 19, 2022.
  3. Flores, Alissa. Pandemic Burnout: The Toll of COVID-19 on Health Care Workers and Children. May 21, 2021.

How Parents Can Model Apologies to Children and Teens

Modeling Apologies to Children

  1. Everyone makes mistakes; that’s life. Saying “sorry” to your child is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.
  2. When you’ve acted wrongly, admit it and apologize. “I’m sorry I yelled at you. You didn’t deserve that outburst.” 1
  3. Give yourself a do-over if appropriate. “Sorry, Sweetie, I didn’t mean to snap at you. Let me try that again. Here’s what I meant to say…”1
  4. Resist the urge to blame. Adults start to apologize and then excuse themselves because the child was in the wrong. “Sure, I yelled—but you deserved it.”1


Modeling Apologies to Teens

  1. Role model humility. You can reduce teen defiance in general by instilling core values like apologizing
  2. More relatable and accessible parents. Your teen is better able to relate to you by showing your teen that you aren’t perfect
  3. Teenagers are truth detectors. They will actually respect you more when you level with them and are sincere
  4. Increase teen’s honesty. Teens feel more comfortable about admitting their own bad choices or struggles when you admit your mistakes
  5. Resist the urge to blame. A specific word to avoid is “but.” Avoid defending yourself by saying “but” after you say “sorry.”
  6. Ask your teen, “What can I do better?” or “How can we avoid this problem in the future?” after admitting any wrongdoing on your part2
  7. Your teen feels heard. When you say sorry, you respect your teen’s feelings and demonstrate that you understand them. You don’t want to be a parent who puts them down
  8. Apologies lead to forgiveness. You are not just teaching your child about the importance of accepting responsibility when you apologize, you are also teaching about forgiveness



  1. 5 Ways to Teach Children to Apologize. Ask Dr. Sears. [No date]
  2. Andy Earle. How to Apologize to Your Teen (and Why You Should). December 17 [No year].
  3. Meiser, Rebecca. The Importance of Saying Sorry for Teens (and Parents). No date.
  4. Image: teenager-1151295_1280 []