halie ellis [ Coast Mountain Mama ]

Justice Without Blame

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop led by Kim John Payne. Kim regularly gives lectures at international conferences for educators, parents, and therapists and runs workshops and training’s around the world. He has worked with many schools using a Social Inclusion Approach that teaches a “justice without blame” method to conflict resolution. Here is a simple example below.


Express clear disapproval of the behavior. “ It is not ok that you pushed your friend, we don’t push to get our way.” Speak calmly but with conviction.


In an attempt not to have the child feel shame, disapproval needs to be followed by an affirmation. “You hardly ever do that, I always see you being kind to your friends.”


Find out what the issue is? “What happened?”


“I know that you are a really nice friend, you’ll need to make it up to your friend for making him feel that way.” Help the child do it over.

If you think about it, to punish (blame, yell, give a time out) simply replicates a power imbalance and begets poor behavior. In this day and age, where conflict is the new right of passage, we need to find ways to elder it, not shut it down. The very simple example above is an easy guideline to calmly and consistently label the child as kind and caring while still holding them accountable. I really believe this approach can create a positive social fabric for children, by allowing them to step forward for an opportunity to make things right, without a fear of punishment.

For other posts on my site related to Kim John Payne see, “Simplicity Parenting” and “The Soul of Discipline”.

November 5, 2012 | Filed under Behavior, Blog, Inspirational Talks, Wolfgang.

2 Responses to Justice Without Blame

  1. Pingback: halie ellis » Archive » Subtle Non Inclusion

  2. Pingback: halie ellis » Archive » Perspective Taking

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I am an incredibly fortunate stay-at-home mommy, who has decided to share her passion for children’s learning online. (read more)