The Review

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The Review is a reflection on an incident that didn’t go as expected. It is an essential tool for helping kids learn from challenging events. The focus is on asking the child questions that expand self-awareness, increase accountability, and help develop new coping strategies—all of which lead to emotional and behavioral maturity. You can review specific incidents, or patterns of behavior i.e. “every morning at breakfast _____ seems to happen.”

Spend a few minutes asking as many of these questions as are relevant to the specific event. Feel free to add additional questions to help your child look at various aspects of the situation. Reassure your child that this is not a lecture and they are not in trouble. Instead, this a way to show they’re learning from events, and that’s a good thing. Make sure all parties have calmed down first. Also, use a motivator (incentive or consequence) if you get resistance or low effort.

  1. Remember when…? Help your child recall the situation.
  2. What were you feeling? Explore feelings related to the behavior you saw, including what triggered the feelings. Make sure to validate, or let them know you understand their feelings.
  3. What did you do with that feeling? (Highlight both positive & negative choices made)
  4. Was that the best way to handle the situation?
  5. How could you handle that feeling/situation in a better way? (Help them find a strategy that works better)
  6. Role-play. Have your child show you how they will use the new strategy next time.
  7. Recap their plan for next time. Have your child tell you their plan for using the new strategy the next time they are in this kind of situation.
  8. Repair (Have your child apologize, make amends etc., if necessary). Also, discuss consequences if necessary. (Make sure to reduce consequences if your child has put good effort into participating in the Review).
  9. If your child feels bad about the incident, help him or her practice self-forgiveness and move on. If they’ve done the Review, they’ve taken responsibility for the event and done the necessary learning.

For much more information on The Review, see Chapter 7 in Noah’s book, Better Behavior: Helping Kids Create Change and Improve Relationships.