Today’s training module for new employees is about responding when youth hurt others. What can we do that will make this behavior less likely to happen again? Remember, this is the ninth in a series of ten. This training series is designed to prepare new, inexperienced staff to deliver skillful trauma-informed care. The lessons can be taught by supervisors. Each module consists of a discussion and an exercise to try to explore the topic. And each module includes a tip sheet with ideas for how to put that skill into practice immediately, using practical strategies.

Before I go on to this module, I want to remind you about my on line training course Making It Real! Implementing Trauma-Informed Care in Child Serving Agencies.

Making It Real! is For You! 

Making It Real! is what you have been waiting for. You want to make trauma-informed care real and more deeply imbedded into everything you do. You want to offer your clients the best possible help. You want your staff to be hopeful and energetic. Before now, there was no organized guide to help you accomplish this. And now there is!

The children, youth and families we serve have experienced pain that was not their fault and that they should not have had to endure. We owe it to them to give them the most powerful healing experience possible.

The staff who work with us are caring people who do the best they can to help our clients. We owe it to them to give them the tools and support which will help them remain hopeful and effective.

 here. There is a limited time introductory special with great bonuses. When you enroll in the course you can download all the materials for lifetime access. And there is a money-back guarantee, so why not try it?

Now for the ninth module in the New Employee Training Series- Responding When Youth Hurt Others


Restorative Tasks are reserved for when the child has done a major behavior that affects other people or the community. Examples are: assault, running away, major property destruction, agitation which kept everyone up all night, pulling a fire alarm, etc. The function of restorative tasks is to encourage change in the child through teaching, practice, and experiencing the possibility of effective action. The tasks are individualized and should come out of our understanding of the child, what he is working on, and the function of this behavior for him. The tasks emphasize the effect of the child’s behavior on other people, the relationship effects.  Their purpose is not to be punishment by another name. They do not derive their power to change through their unpleasantness or through the child’s wish to avoid doing them. They derive their power to change through what the child experiences while doing them: that he can learn to understand himself better and manage his emotions better and that if he has problems with others he can work them out. Every restorative task should contain two components: learning and reconnecting. Learning is anything that helps a child gain skills or knowledge necessary to prevent the behavior in the future. Reconnecting includes making amends for any harm done and repairing any damaged relationships.

When you are deciding on a restorative task consider these things:

  1. Who was affected by what the child did?
  2. How can the child make up for the harm they caused? (do nice things for staff or unit, play positively with hurt child, apologize, do chores)
  3. What led up to the child’s behavior?
  4. How can the child examine and become more aware of what triggers, signs, and incidents lead up to outbursts? (collage, writing assignments, discussion, etc.)
  5. What skills would help a child avoid this problem?
  6. How can the child learn/practice/remind themselves of these skills? (make a sign, do a role-play, explain it to someone else)
  7. What life issues are interfering with the child’s coping?
  8. Restorative tasks should reflect treatment themes and the basic issues a child is working on. General themes and guidelines for restorative tasks should be pre-determined in Treatment Team.

Restorative tasks are not punishment in disguise. They are individualized ways for the child to learn more about himself and learn how to reconnect within relationships.

Exercise to try:  Read the following work sheet and fill out the last column using a behavior you have recently observed.

Question to consider Example My Example
What was the problem behavior? Jason hit his peer Sammy
What led up to the behavior? Sammy made fun of Jason’s errors in reading aloud
What was he or she feeling? What need was the child trying to meet? Jason was feeling stupid; sure he would never learn or be able to read right. He was angry at Sammy for making fun of him. He was trying to feel strong, powerful, and to hurt Sammy.
What would we want the child to do when he or she feels this way or has these experiences? We would want Jason to tell an adult, or walk away, or do something to help himself stay in control.
What skills and/or beliefs would the child need in order to be able to do this alternative behavior? Jason would have to trust that adults would help him. He would have to notice that he was starting to get mad. He would have to feel okay enough about himself that he wasn’t as reactive to instigation.

He would have to know some skills for calming himself down.

What tasks can we create (preferably with the child) that will help him strengthen the positive beliefs and learn and/or practice the needed skills? Jason can do a project with his teacher (build connection and trust).

Jason can write a letter, draw a comic, make a collage about the first signs in his body when he is getting mad (build feelings skills).

Jason can teach a younger child a skill he is good at or read to the elementary classes or tutor someone in sports (build a sense of competence).

Jason can make a poster “What I do when I get mad” after interviewing several people to get ideas about what one can do to stay calm (develop feelings skills).


For Tips on Responding When Children Hurt Others, Click here:

Click Here for Twelve Ideas

Let me know your reactions to these modules at and be sure to check out Making It Real!

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