Restitution - is “accomplished by correcting negative effects of misbehavior." In other words, what can you do to make up for what you did wrong that hurt, upset, or inconvenienced someone else. This does not mean you broke a rule. It could have been an accident or a misunderstanding… you still need to fix it.
Restitution can mean paying for, repairing, or replacing a broken or stolen object in order to restore thing to how they were prior to the misdeed, and possibly one step beyond:Examples –
You borrow your sister’s CD and it gets broken. You might buy her a new one, a nicer version, or maybe even 2 CDs.
In a rage, you throw something and it knocks over a favorite picture of Dad’s. You might pay Dad back out of allowance for the broken frame. You also need to replace the damaged artwork – either by making something new for Dad or buying something out of allowance. (If Mom takes you shopping, you need to think about ways to pay her back too, for going to the extra effort.)
Actions taken to repair a broken relationship or trust are also restitutions. Apologies, when freely offered in way that shows you truly regret and feel sorry about what happened, can be a form of restitution. Sincere requests for forgiveness show that you recognize how your own actions affect others' feelings toward you.
The teacher (T) matter-of-factly handles the situation when George (G) slaps Kevin's hand and causes him to drop his wet clay object on T’s sweater. After attending to the hitting issues, T says:
T: Do you know what happened? You knocked his artwork down which might have broken it, and it got it all over my sweater. I didn't like that when you got it all over my sweater. So, could you please do something to get this off of my sweater?
T: Okay, what can you do?
G: Wipe it off.
T: Okay, thank you very much.
G: Can you get that game off the shelf for me?
T: Remember, G, you’re getting something to wipe off my sweater 'cause it's really yucky.
G: (Gets paper towel and wipes sweater. It comes off easily.)
T: Thank you.This example uses young children. As an older child you are expected to do more than just clean up the mess. You are expected to apologize, and try to restore things to how they were before the incident. If something is broken, an older child is expected to pay back twice as much as the original item was worth. For a situation involving something priceless (like tearing someone’s artwork or hurting someone’s feelings) – the “more” is definitely expected.
After you make restitution, you may want to take an additional step, sometimes called "overcorrection" or "positive practice." This is practicing the positive behavior that you should use instead of the misbehavior in the future. Your parents may require you to practice the positive behavior in an exaggerated fashion, to make the point more strongly about what is expected in the future.
Ex: an older child calls his younger brother names - to make restitution, the older child might apologize to his younger brother both verbally and in writing.
Ex of “more”: For positive practice, the older brother could SINCERELY add praise, compliment, mention something likeable or add a positive adjective with the younger brother's correct first name for the next 3 weeks whenever he speaks to or refers to his younger brother in conversation (It’s time for dinner, Helpful Ponito. Did I ever tell you how much I like your table manners?”
Restitution can take the form of making both you and the hurt person feel better. – The other person may be feeling pain as a result of your actions, but you both need relationship healing. You now have the opportunity to say, “I was wrong, please forgive me,” and then feel forgiven. You need to pick up the books that were thrown in anger or comfort a sibling that was offended and then feel the relationship restored.
Even if it was an accident, you should be involved with cleanup, repair and restitution, especially if carelessness was involved.
So how do you figure out what to offer for restitution?The easiest way to figure out what someone might want is to know their love language. People feel loved in different ways, and if you’re not speaking their love language they may not “understand” and believe you. Think about your love language. Do you know what it is? Sometimes it’s easier to figure out what it isn’t. If someone speaks to you in another “language” does it mean as much to you?
Five Love Languages
- Words of Affirmation – this is about words both verbal and written! Saying “I love you,” praising and complimenting the person you love (specifically and with details). It can be spoken or with letters or little notes. Warning: Words really hurt a person for whom this is their love language. Criticism, yelling, being mean or rude really affect them. (Hint: This is Mom and Grandma’s love language).
- Quality Time – spending time with the person! Hanging out and doing stuff together, especially things that person likes to do and you don’t. Warning: Isolating and always wanting to do your own thing can really hurt your relationship. (Hint: This is Dad’s love language).
- Physical Touch – hugs, back rubs, holding hands, tickle fights, wrestling… for this person it’s all about loving touches. Warning: Withholding touch, or touching in ways that hurt. Also, be aware of the other person’s “bubble.” Touch requires a level of trust or even the gentlest of touches can feel threatening.
- Acts of Service – Doing thoughtful things for someone else. Maybe making them a special treat, doing a chore for them… things that you weren’t required or asked to do. Warning: It doesn’t mean as much if the person has to tell you to do it, or you do a poor job. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!
- Gifts – Everyone loves gifts, especially if the giver obviously put a lot of thought into what you want, but the person who speaks this love language really values the gift because it reminds them of the giver. They usually take really good care of the item and it symbolizes their relationship. Warning: A gift card or something you just grabbed because it was in your price range just isn’t going to say the same thing. Even socks can be a good gift if they’re something the person really needs; they’re in their favorite colors; or they show in some way that the giver really bothered to get to know what the receiver likes and wants.
Examples of restitution (see if you can guess which love language each of these are!)
- Doing the chores of, helping out, or offer to organize something for someone who you’ve taken time from.
- Looking into the eyes of the person you’ve upset or distanced and rubbing lotion into their hands, feet or shoulders.
- Giving them hugs or holding them if they’re upset or crying.
- Making them something special or cooking for them.
- Helping them find or replace something lost (especially if you lost it).
- Doing things with them that they like to do – spend time together.
- Helping someone get things done so they won’t be late in the future if your behavior made them late.
- Write little notes to a person you’ve upset about why you like them or hide small gifts where they can find them.
- Give them something special like a drawing or a toy.
- Loan them things they like of yours.
- Ask them how you can make this up to them! Put yourself in their shoes and try to figure out what they might want!
Things I’ve Learned...By Donna Gavin
Being kind is more important than being right.
To ignore the facts doesn’t change the facts.
Life is tough, but I’m tougher.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage the change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”– KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!
Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.
One should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
We don’t learn by the things we do right. We learn from our mistakes.