Category Archives: Conduct Disorder

Unlocking Parental Intelligence (Dr. Laurie Hollman)

BTRadioInt

Dr. Laurie Hollman explains the principles and benefits of implementing Parental Intelligence in this excellent interview from our archives.

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The behavior of a child or teen sometimes can stump adults completely, leaving many more questions than answers:

Why do youngsters do what they do?

What are they thinking?

How can we better know their inner world?

Unlocking Parental Intelligence, Dr. Laurie HollmanThere’s little doubt that, on occasion, a child or teen’s behavior can frustrate and even infuriate a parent (or teacher). But, without insight, a parent’s response to the behavior often will be less than ideal. In fact, as many of us know from experience, some responses can make things even worse.

Bottom line: Behavior contains meanings, often multiple meanings. Reading these meanings effectively not only helps solve behavioral problems, it can lead to deeper, more fulfilling relationships with those we love most.

Our guest on this program, psychoanalyst and author Dr. Laurie Hollman, suggests that, when parents learn to extract the meaning from their child’s behavior and resolve problems using that insight and sensitivity, they are exercising a perspective and process she calls “Parental Intelligence.” In this program, Dr. Hollman will take us through the five steps of Parental Intelligence, sharing plenty of examples along the way.

Unlocking Parental Intelligence, Dr. Laurie Hollman

Laurie Hollman is an experienced psychoanalyst who has written extensively for many publications. She writes a popular column on Parental Intelligence for Mom’s Magazine and is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post. Dr. Hollman’s faculty positions have included New York University and The Society for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. She is the author of the book we are featuring on this program, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior. (28:45)

http://www.lauriehollmanphd.com

 

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Will a Juvenile Record Ruin My Child’s Life? (Judge Tom Jacobs)

If a youngster breaks the law, does that mistake have to follow them forever? Not necessarily, says author and former juvenile judge, Tom Jacobs, as he offers insights into options for saving that youngster’s future. We present, “Will a Juvenile Record Ruin My Child’s Life?”

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Will a Juvenile Record Ruin My Child's LIfe, Judge Tom JacobsIn February, 2017, two fifth grade students at a California elementary school hacked into a classmate’s tablet. They posted graphic images and offensive language. The boys involved were both ten years old. There was an investigation by school officials.

Should this act affect their future college applications, employment opportunities, or military enlistment? No. Should it become a teachable moment? Of course.

A Serious Situation

This was the boys’ first offense, but one that could result in a criminal record. Hacking into someone’s computer and posting objectionable content may constitute a crime, depending on existing state laws. The act could be considered harassment, intimidation, cyberbullying, or threatening. Whatever category it fits into, the boys could be charged with a felony, misdemeanor or petty offense.

Diversion As An Option

The school district may have a policy of handling first-time offenses internally. The boys could face suspension or expulsion. Or the school could have a diversion program designed to educate students about the importance of being good “netizens” who practice netiquette every time they use social media. Considering their age, diversion is preferable to sending them to juvenile court for formal prosecution. The purpose of diversion is to “divert” the offense away from the criminal justice system. That way, a minor charge does not become a “record” that could follow the juvenile into adulthood.

Diversion is common across the country for first-time offenders charged with minor crimes. The majority of participants in a diversion program do not re-offend. Their brief brush with the law has a lasting impact.

Ask The Judge, Judge Tom Jacobs

Diversion generally involves community service, counseling, or a class about laws and one’s rights and responsibilities. Once the program is successfully completed, the case is closed and there’s no official record of the incident. There is no guarantee, but usually it would not appear in a background check done years or decades later.

Expunging a Juvenile’s Record

When a case is handled in juvenile court, and the court finds the juvenile guilty of an offense and imposes consequences, a record is created. All states have laws regarding expunging (destroying) a juvenile’s record. It’s a simple process and does not require hiring a lawyer. That’s a decision for the applicant and/or the parents to make. The application is a short form that, once filled out, is filed with the court the juvenile was in. A copy of the application is sent to the prosecutor’s office for review. The prosecutor notifies the court whether they agree with the expungment or oppose it. A judge ultimately decides to grant or deny the request.

If you are a teenager or pre-teen and you find yourself in court charged with a minor offense, it’s a serious event in your life. But, it’s not necessarily life-changing or the end of the world. Once you face the music, make amends, and comply with all court orders, the incident will become history and not affect your future. The U.S. Supreme Court commented in the famous Gault case in 1967 that “the policy of the juvenile law is to hide youthful errors from the full gaze of the public and bury them in the graveyard of the forgotten past.” When a juvenile court expunges a minor’s record, he or she can move out of the shadows of this cloud in their life.

 NOTE: Many courts have Self-Help Centers where the public has access to legal booklets and forms to assist them navigate the system without an attorney. Such may also be available on the court’s website. In addition, some family and juvenile law attorneys offer free initial consultations. If you contact one for advice, ask about this. A brief consult may be all you need to file for an expungment of a juvenile’s record. ###

 

Judge Tom Jacobs spent 23 years as a juvenile judge in Arizona. From his heartfelt concern for young people, Judge Tom, with assistance from his daughter, Natalie Jacobs, founded and moderates AsktheJudge.info, a teen-law website for and about teenagers and the laws that affect them. It stands as a valuable site for parents and educators who want to stay current with issues that affect the safety and welfare of our young people. Judge Tom has written a number of books for lawyers and judges, as well as for teens and parents, including “What Are My Rights?” Teen Cyberbullying Investigated, and a recent book he co-authored with Natalie, Every Vote Matters: The Power of Your Voice.

 

 

Bullycide: When Cyberbullying Turns Fatal (Guest: Judge Tom Jacobs)

The Changing Behavior NetworkIn this radio-style podcast taken from our archives, Dr. James Sutton interviews Judge Tom Jacobs, a former Arizona juvenile court judge, on the topic of bullycide, youth suicide as a result of cyberbullying.

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Cyber Bullycide

As effective tools of communication and commerce, the internet and cyberspace have changed the way we live. For all the good and benefits they bring, there is a downside. This program addresses loss of life as a result of cyber abuse: Bullycide.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe suicide of young people as a result of cyberbullying is a serious issue that is growing in its impact. Our guest on this program, Judge Tom Jacobs, studies cyber bullycide and the circumstances and events that affect the lives and welfare of our young people. Judge Tom will guide us through the issues of bullycide and how it happens, and he will share his research on legal implications and what we can all do to best protect our children and grandchildren from such a grave threat.

Ask the Judge

Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info, a teen-law website for and about teen, tweens and the laws that affect them. His daughter, Natalie, assists him in making AsktheJudge.info a go-to resource. It’s also a valuable website for parents and educators who want to stay current with issues that affect the safety and welfare of our young people.

AskTheJudge.info, bullycide, judge tom jacobs

Judge Tom Jacobs

Judge Tom is a retired juvenile judge from Arizona, having spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges, as well as for teens and parents, including the book that covers our topic in this program: Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. (28:04)

http://www.AsktheJudge.info

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Teaching Young People to Use “Courageous Dialogue” (Guest: Charmaine Hammond)

BTRadioInt-300x75-300x75As The Changing Behavior Network and its sister site, “It’s About Them,” have grown and developed as resources, so have the missions and the careers of former guest authors and experts on the show. Charmaine Hammond is an excellent example. In this interview taken from our February, 2012 archives, she speaks of her early experiences with young offenders while working in corrections and dispute dispute resolution. The topic is about a vital skill: communicating effectively with others. Indeed, there is value in teaching young people to use courageous dialogue. Today, Charmaine still speaks on this topic (and others) as she addresses organizations and corporate audiences in presentations and keynotes across the US and Canada.

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Charmaine Hammond, teaching young people to use courageous dialogueHave you ever needed to speak up to someone, to pose a concern or problem, but didn’t do it because you were afraid of what might happen if you did? Or perhaps you really didn’t know how to do it. Confrontation is tough enough for adults with some experience in the matter, but it can be a huge obstacle for young people. The consequences of an unpleasant outcome can affect them for a long, long time.

Listen in as Charmaine Hammond offers insights into what she calls “Courageous Dialogue.” She’ll show us how we can use it, and how we can teachbounce forward, charmaine Hammond, courageous dialog, the ask and share the skills with children and teens. She’ll also tell us about something she calls “The ASK.”

Charmaine is a registered social worker with a background in corrections and dispute resolution, and plenty of experience with young offenders. She is also the author of Bounce Forward, an information-packed book on the subject of communication. Her website is www.charmainehammond.com. (21:38)

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Conduct Disorder: Controlling the Uncontrollable, Part 2 (Guest: Ruth Herman Wells)

BTRadioInt-300x75The youngster diagnosed as Conduct Disorder is, without question, the most difficult child or teen to raise, teach, understand and manage.

RuthWellsphotoThese kids don’t think like we do, and therein lies our biggest challenge. Appealing to a sense of right or wrong with this youngster, or attempting to address remorse for harm done to others, doesn’t work. They don’t relate to the pain and suffering of others. In fact, they don’t relate at all.

Unfortunately, these youngsters can steal, hit, manipulate, bully, defy, torment and hurt others, resist rules and laws, and torture and kill animals … and it doesn’t bother them, at all.

This is the MOST unmanageable youngster you could possibly encounter. Effective interventions matter a great deal.

RWellsCDbookRuth Herman Wells, our guest on this program, has spent her career perfecting techniques to use with CD kids. On this program, she will share some of the best answers that exist for successfuly managing unmanageable children and teens. Ruth perfected these interventions in the trenches where the problems were. So, when we use what she shares, the ideas work.

Ruth is the Director of Youth Change Workshops, out of Oregon. She has managed programs for deliquent, troubled and problem youth. She’s the author of dozens of books, including All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Anti-social Youth and Conduct Disorders. (22:35)

(NOTE: Click on “Free Materials From Our Experts” tab above to access a two-part article by Ruth entitled, “What Every Youth Professional MUST know about Violent Students.”)

 

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Conduct Disorder: Controlling the Uncontrollable, Part 1 (Guest: Ruth Herman Wells)

BTRadioInt-300x75The youngster diagnosed as Conduct Disorder is, without question, the most difficult child or teen to raise, teach, understand and manage.

RuthWellsphotoThese kids don’t think like we do, and therein lies our biggest challenge. Appealing to a sense of right or wrong with this youngster, or attempting to address remorse for harm done to others, doesn’t work. They don’t relate to the pain and suffering of others. In fact, they don’t relate at all.

Unfortunately, these youngsters can steal, hit, manipulate, bully, defy, torment and hurt others, resist rules and laws, and torture and kill animals … and it doesn’t bother them, at all.

This is the MOST unmanageable youngster you could possibly encounter. Effective interventions matter a great deal.

RWellsCDbookRuth Herman Wells, our guest on this program, has spent her career perfecting techniques to use with CD kids. On this program, she will share some of the best answers that exist for successfuly managing unmanageable children and teens. Ruth perfected these interventions in the trenches where the problems were. So, when we use what she shares, the ideas work.

Ruth is the Director of Youth Change Workshops, out of Oregon. She has managed programs for deliquent, troubled and problem youth. She’s the author of dozens of books, including All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Anti-social Youth and Conduct Disorders. (22:35)

(NOTE: Click on “Free Materials From Our Experts” tab above to access a two-part article by Ruth entitled, “What Every Youth Professional MUST know about Violent Students.”)

 

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


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Spotlight Feature: Unlocking Parental Intelligence (Guest: Dr. Laurie Hollman)

BTSpotlightDr. Laurie Hollman’s book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence, is very new. It reveals many insights into how parents can realize better discipline and improved relationships with their children by becoming “meaning makers.” We caught up with Laurie to visit with her on the writing of the book and the impact she would like to see it create.

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Laurie, what was the inspiration, the driving force, behind the writing of Unlocking Parental Intelligence?

It’s hard to write in the past tense about my “inspiration” for writing about Parental Intelligence even though the book is finished and published because I continue to write about the concept. My inspiration has had and continues to have many sources for which I am grateful—the children and parents I treat in my clinical practice and my own children. I’m fortunate to be able to keep on writing about Parental Intelligence for Huffington Post, so I can reach more and more parents and receive their feedback and questions. I’m still inspired!

As my three decades of psychoanalytic practice and research progressed, I incorporated the voices of so many mothers and fathers who came at different stages in parenting. Feeling thankful to those parents for telling me how unlocking their Parental Intelligence benefited their families, I was compelled to narrow Parental Intelligence into five accessible steps for others to grow from.

My children were raised with Parental Intelligence. It was natural for me to want to understand their minds—their thoughts, feelings, intentions, and imaginings. It’s wonderful to share trust and love with your children. I hadn’t coined the term, Parental Intelligence, when I was a young mother, but I was practicing it nonetheless and wanted others to have the same good fortune to have empathetic, industrious kids with great senses of humor who enjoy learning, creating, and relating well with others. They have been and surely are an inspiration for my writing.

What were your biggest challenges in writing the book?

I love words! I revel in finding the right word to express what I’m feeling and thinking. I remember working hard on Part I: Developing Your Parental Intelligence to develop five accessible steps for parents to gain Parental Intelligence: Stepping Back, Self-Reflecting, Understanding Your Child’s Mind, Understanding Your Child’s Development and Problem Solving. With each step, I wanted to be talking with my readers through my writing.

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Once the five steps were in place, one of the favorite but difficult parts of writing this book became writing Part II: Stories of Parental Intelligence in Practice. Writing short stories was new for me. I wrote about eight youngsters, their families and the challenges they faced, with examples like a two-year-old’s temper tantrums, a jealous identical twin who would hit his brother, and a lonely, though brilliant, seventeen year old.

I began to live with these characters. I remember finishing a chapter about a little boy who drew a picture that led his father to finally understand what he was going through. I was drained—I felt so much for this boy who felt he was a “bad, bad” child when he was so sensitive and wonderful.

I wanted my readers to really get to know the parents and children I was writing about and to care about them. I wanted to bring my readers into the lives of these people, to identify with them, and then naturally learn Parental Intelligence rather than feel like it was an intellectual exercise.

I hope my readers find themselves interrupting their reading to rest the book on their laps just to muse about the characters and let their minds wander into their own lives with their children. In that way, I hope they get to know themselves and their children better—loving them even more.

Writing became relaxing for me. I guess I would “get into the zone.” This experience led me to write to parents through Moms Magazine and Huffington Post. It was a shift from writing scholarly works for psychoanalytic journals and books to writing for the popular press, but I find it challenging and exciting. The book gave me the opportunity to write about what I knew very well and felt very deeply and now I can continue to do that.

You make an interesting turn on the word “unlocking” in the book’s title. What was your purpose there?

I think parents should never be underestimated even when they have self-doubts. When I first have a consultation with distressed parents and ask them questions, they are surprised how much they know about their child. As a psychoanalyst and writer I want to help parents organize what they know and harness this knowledge with the use of Parental Intelligence. In this way, I “unlock” what they know and help them use it in ways they haven’t before.

The five steps take the parents on a journey where they unlock their Parental Intelligence and get to know the underlying problems behind their child’s behavior. The behavior is really sending messages. The key is to understand and decipher those messages.

By unlocking Parental Intelligence parents learn how to understand why children do what they do, what is on their minds, and how they can comprehend their child’s inner world. The behavior is the catalyst to change as words rather than behavior become the vehicle for improved communication and connections between parent and child.

What distinguishes your approach from other approaches to parent-child conflict resolution?

My approach is distinguished by my intent to help parents become “meaning makers” by understanding and applying the three basic, interrelated tenets of Parental Intelligence. First, behaviors have underlying meanings. Second, once parents understand how their own minds are working, they are liberated to understand their child—how their child’s mind is working. And third, once meanings are clear, options surface by which to change puzzling behaviors.

When these three core concepts come into play and parents are faced with misbehavior, first they ask, “What does it mean?” not “What do I do?” With this in mind, the ambiance of family life fundamentally changes.

When parents get to know themselves—their reactions to their child and the many influences on their parenting—they find that they gain a better understanding of their child who wants to be known as he or she actually is. This means that parents no longer focus on the child’s specific misbehavior as the overarching troubles and problems emerge. When those problems are addressed, the original misbehavior loses importance and usually stops. Parents learn how to understand the underlying determinants to their child’s behavior, how to ‘read’ nonverbal as well as verbal communication, and how to create an open dialogue.

You write about politics and parenting. That’s interesting; tell us about that.

My epithet for the last chapter is: “When children’s voices are heard, leaders are born.” My younger son contributed to Part III: The Future with Parental Intelligence with his millennial voice. I’ll let him speak for himself:

“America seems to be in a period of political dogma, a place where certitude is more important than nuance and understanding.” This certainty “is masqueraded as strength, but it really comes out of ignorance and fear. I think you can argue that parents fighting with a child, letting their ego get involved, are doing so out of fear of the unknown, unconsciously using a survival reflex, defending themselves unnecessarily. The only thing that can combat fear is knowledge: knowing there’s a technique to deal with understanding what’s happening in someone else’s mind. And that technique is Parental Intelligence. If Parental Intelligence were taught, if people were encouraged to understand one another before reflexively trying to defend themselves, if trying to empathize and know others’ minds was seen as a strength, we’d live in a more compassionate, if not more efficient, society.”

When a parent reads Unlocking Parental Intelligence, what do you hope is their single most important take-away?

I want parents to think of themselves as “meaning makers,” of course. By the end of the book, if not before, I’d like parents to take away the set of tools needed to help understand their children’s behavior and in turn become more effective parents. Parenting will feel more pleasurable, inspiring, and gratifying. Their children will be grateful, thinking, capable, and loving. ###

 

Dr. Laurie Hollman is an experienced psychoanalyst and author who has written extensively for many publications. Her faculty positions have included New York University and The Society for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. [website]

 

 

Teens, Drugs and Alcohol (Guest: Judge Tom Jacobs)

BTRadioIntThis is a re-post of a popular interview with Judge Tom Jacobs.

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It has been said that our young people are our greatest natural resource. Whatever affects their welfare and safety ultimately affects us all.

In a previous interview with retired juvenile specialist, Judge Tom Jacobs, we discussed issues and concerns regarding teens and their use and abuse of technology and the internet. Judge Tom is back with us, and the topic is a serious one, indeed: our teens and tweens, and problems and heartache associated with drugs and alcohol. These concerns deepen when that drug or alcohol-impaired young person is behind the wheel of a vehicle, or when judgement is affected to the point that poor decisions and resulting behavior create devasting and irreversible consequences.

The progression of substance abuse has reached an alarming state. Syntetic marijuana, synthetic stimulants, and other substances are difficult the control as they skirt the law. These substances are dangerous; leaving in their wake permanent brain damage, physical disabilities, and even death. Judge Tom will tell us how we can step up and address this serious problem that so affects our young people.

Tom Jacobs is a retired juvenile judge, having spent 23 years on the bench. He is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info, a teen-law website and go-to source for and about young people and the laws that affect them. He’s also the author of the books, What Are My Rights? and Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. (26:31)

www.AsktheJudge.info

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How You Can Learn to Create Structure for Your Teen with Behavioral Disorder

BTAboutThemTeens that have behavioral disorders need structure from parents in order to reduce bad behavior and maximize positive behavior. However, many parents don’t know how to create structure that really has an effect. Frustrated parents that feel they are just punishing their teenagers all the time, with no real results, need to learn successful methods on creating structures for teens with behavioral disorders.

Behavioral disorders in teens are common, with conditions like oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, reactive attachment disorder and conduct disorder topping the list. While more boys than girls seem to develop behavioral disorders, parents of all troubled teens should learn the signs and symptoms of behavioral disorders in order to create an appropriate plan to deal with them.

How You Can Learn To Create Structure For Your Teen With Behavioral Disorder

What follows are five steps that you can follow to successfully create a structured environment. (For a detailed and very informative infographic, CLICK HERE)

1. Recognize and reward good behavior. Rather than become a parent who is constantly critical and always punishing, make sure you recognize when your teen does something right or contributes positively in some way. Rather than tangible rewards, use praise, recognition and increased responsibilities to highlight the good behavior.

2. Set up a routine. Children and teens thrive on stability and predictability, so setting up a home routine that is consistent, calm and reliable will help a lot. Getting up and going to bed at a set time is a good start, starting homework at a certain time, and assigning chores to be completed on certain days, are all good examples. Children and teens with chaotic lives are less likely to be able to control themselves and their behaviors, so you can help a lot by setting up the household schedule to keep everyone on track.

3. Create a list of consequences. Together with your teen, create a list of consequences for bad behavior. Do this in a calm moment when both of you are not emotional. Allow your teen to help create the list and come up with some of the consequences. For example, missing the designated curfew without calling will result in the loss of the teen’s cell phone for a week. Setting up the house rules and the consequences of breaking them will get both parent and teen on the same page and everyone will know what to expect.

4. Find stress relievers. Teens deal with a lot of stress. When they don’t have a healthy outlet, sometimes that stress results in bad behavior. Whether its hobbies, recreation, entertainment, sports or exercise, you can encourage your teen to participate in activities that relieve stress and boost self-esteem.

5. Provide unconditional love. Rebellious teens frequently test the boundaries of parental approval and constantly wonder what it would take for their parents to stop loving them. Extreme bad behavior can cause a lot of tension between parents and teens, but expressing love in all circumstances can help teens feel the security and support they need in their daily lives.

Successful implementation of structure in the home can really reduce stress for parents and help teens gain better control over their behaviors and impulses. When there are set guidelines for both parents and teens, home life will be a lot smoother and teens will be better able to transition successfully through adolescence.###

This article is provided courtesy of the Liahona Academy.

 

 

Recycling Lives: Feather Paintings to Restorative Justice (Guest: Kenneth Johnson)

BTSpotlightKen offered the link to this article on the Support Forum and allowed us to reprint it here. It appeared in SYPReflections.com, the blogsite for Ken’s publisher, Southern Yellow Pine Publishing. –JDS

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KJohnsonphotoLife is all about change. It is said that the human body replaces itself every seven to ten years. Therefore, one could contend life, in many ways, is about discarding the unusable and dysfunctional to make way for the new and capable. Although this works well for cellular reproduction, it is a horrible construct for human society.

It’s no secret I have Native American heritage. While I am extremely proud of my linage, I don’t let it define my work. So, like many Americans, I have a segregated life where there is a Ken Johnson who is known to the world as a culturalist, a conflict specialist, and also an author. While this side of me is known to crack a joke or two, I make it a point to portray myself as a professional who’s very factual and driven.

On the other hand, my family knows the quirky and sometimes eclectic side of me, the man who is a husband, son, uncle or cousin. They know my overpowering love of pork, the outdoors, and all things fun, strange, weird and new. But there’s also a group, one I consider to be my extended family, that knows me simply as Awohali Galvlati Ugu –Principal Chief Soaring Eagle. This is the “young man with an old soul” who holds the passed-down knowledge and ways of the Florida Tribe of Cherokee Indians (knowledge concerning healing plants, history, hunting and fishing tactics, legends and mythology, etc.). It is also this side of me that’s known by some for my love of feather painting, a Native American art form.

American Indian culture embraces recycling and transformation. It should come as no shock that this philosophy is seen in many aspects of our life, including our artwork as well as our old system of justice. In fact, the American version of Restorative Justice is partly based on this philosophy and lifestyle.

Ken Johnson Feather3Giving Flight to the Outcasts
I mention all this to note how a discarded feather is, in many ways, no different than a wrongful offense that has taken place. Birds molt (discard) feathers when there is a change in the seasons, a change in life, or even stress or injury. In many ways, human society and American culture do this as well. When a wrongful offense is committed, governmental structure often steps in to “heal the wound” by first punishing and casting aside the offender while, in turn, ostracizing the victim. Evidence of this is seen in court cases where the offense is styled as “State of Florida vs John Smith” rather than “Jane Doe vs John Smith.” In essence, the state acts as the surrogate victim, taking the victimization rights from the true victim, while re-victimizing the person through an onerous process in which they have no say and often receive no justice.

Before I begin to paint on a feather, I first contemplate it. I look at characteristics like its shape, how it bends, the coloration, its original intended purpose, and any outward signs of damage. With my heart, I begin to speak to the feather to learn its story and “ask” what it wishes to become. (True, this might sound strange, but it is something artists often do.) Two feathers from the same location may end up being two very different paintings. For instance, one might be a colorful pelican perched atop a pole along the water, while another is a free-flowing, bioluminescent jellyfish lighting up the dark depths of the sea below.

KJohnsonbookIn Restorative Justice, facilitators like myself are presented with three different user groups, each with their own stories, issues, values and opinions. Naturally, there is a victim and an offender, but what people never think about is the third party to all this: the community.

Like with the feathers, heartfelt questioning needs to take place with each party. For instance, a victim might simply want to have a say in the matter and the harms repaired so he or she can have closure. Meanwhile, the offender could have unmet needs which preclude him or her from atoning for the misdeed and making amends. The community may have suffered due to a loss of productivity from the victim and the wrongful action of the offender, something that could result in and spur further misdeeds by troubled youths wanting to act out.

Like layers of paint on feathers, a careful Restorative Justice practitioner can use circles, mediation, conferences, panels and even justice circles to help bring everything back into balance. Victims are made whole so they can cast aside that awful title, and offenders do the same once they have atoned for their offenses. While having no official title of “victim” or “offender,” the community is made stronger by being made whole, and also by reassimilating two parties back into the fold.

Studies consistently have shown that Restorative Justice practices have a meaningful and transformative impact on the communities that use them. Rather than leaving behind the broken and discarded, it lifts up and makes whole those that were broken.

Like feather painting, Restorative Justice gives flight to the outcasts.

Ken Johnson is a private researcher, writer, lecturer, and consultant on issues of culture and conflict. Organizational architecture and anabolic (positive) conflict are just some of the key issues he investigates. Though written for the school system, his book, Unbroken Circles for Schools, has core concepts which can be applied to various life applications. (Click on the photo of the book above for more information.) To learn more about Ken and his work, CLICK HERE to visit his website.