Friendships aren’t always easy for kids. Almost every child struggles socially at some time, in some way. Having an argument with a friend, getting teased, or even trying to find a buddy in a new classroom...although these are typical problems, they can be tough. Children want to fit in, but sometimes getting along with friends is complicated. Psychologist and children’s friendship expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore and parenting and health writer Christine McLaughlin give kids the answers they need to make and keep friends using five essential skills:
-Reaching Out to Make Friends
-Stepping Back to Keep Friends
-Blending In to Join Friends
-Speaking Up to Share With Friends
-Letting Go to Accept Friends
With research-based, practical solutions and plenty of true-to-life-examples of social skills in practice—presented in lighthearted humorous cartoons—Growing Friendships is a toolkit for both boys and girls as they make sense of the social environment around them. They will learn how to be open to friendship, choose kind friends, and most important, be a good friend.
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
|Age Range:||6 - 9 Years|
About the Author
Christine McLaughlin is a mom to three boys, as well as a prolific writer, editor, and author. With several hundred nonfiction articles to her credit—published in popular magazines and websites—her written work focuses mainly on parenting and health topics. She is the author of eight books including Growing Friendships and Growing Feelings (both written with Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore), The Dog Lover’s Companion to Philadelphia, and American Red Cross: Dog First Aid and American Red Cross: Cat First Aid. Learn more at ChristineMcLaughlin.net.
Read an Excerpt
Brandon wishes he had someone to play with at recess, but he doesn’t know how to connect with others. His body language—looking away, standing apart, even tuning everyone out by reading his book—tells them, “I don’t like you, and I don’t want to hang out with you!” That’s not what he’s feeling, but that’s the message he’s sending.
What can Brandon do to Reach Out to other kids and show them he’s interested in being friends?
Have you ever noticed what happens when you arrive at school? Kids say, “Hi!” And they don’t just announce “Hi!” to the air. They greet specific people. They look them in the eye, they smile, and they often say the other person’s name. Try this experiment: The next day you go to school, count how many greetings you hear. You may be surprised by how often kids greet each other.
Greeting people tells them you’re happy to see them. It’s also important to smile and say hi back when someone greets you. If you look away and say nothing or just mumble something, the other person might think you don’t want to be friends.
You may want to practice friendly greetings. They won’t instantly get you friends, but they open the door to friendship. The more you practice greetings, the more comfortable you’ll feel doing them.
Start by greeting family members. Then think of kids at school you can greet. Use your face and your body language to show that you’re happy to see them. Use their names to make the greeting personal. And be ready to respond in a friendly way when someone greets you.
Sometimes kids don’t want to greet others because they worry that they won’t get a response. They’re afraid of feeling foolish or getting rejected and being embarrassed. But you’ll stand out more if you don’t greet people.
You don’t have to be best friends with people to greet them. You just have to know them a little bit and think they’re nice. A friendly greeting takes only a few seconds but it goes a long way toward setting a positive tone and showing other kids that you’re interested in being friends.
What happens after “Hi!”? Keep doing friendly things to show that you like them. You can do these right after the greeting or later. Here are some ideas you can try:
1. Ask interested questions.
Asking questions shows someone you want to know more about them. The best questions to ask begin with what or how because they tend to get longer answers that can lead to a conversation. One or two questions is usually enough at one time. More than that gets annoying. You don’t want to turn the conversation into an interview!
Avoid asking why questions because they can sound mean. It can seem like you’re asking, “Why did you do such a dumb thing?!” even when you’re not.
2. Give an honest compliment.
It feels good to get a compliment, and we tend to like people who notice and appreciate our good qualities. Keep your eyes open for ways that you can compliment other kids. Compliments don’t have to be long or complicated, but they must be honest. If someone gives you a compliment, be sure to smile and say, “Thanks!”
3. Do a small act of kindness.
Being kind is a great way to start a friendship. An act of small kindness tells kids that you like them and it makes you feel good. Be careful not to give away money or favorite things of yours. If the act of kindness is too big, the other kids might feel pressured, and you might feel bad if they don’t return the favor.
Table of Contents
Note to Grown-Ups x
Part I Reaching Out to Make Friends 1
1 Take First Steps 2
Brandon's Challenge: Feeling Alone 2
2 Find Common Ground 11
Raven's Challenge: Trying to Impress 11
3 Take It Slow 17
Angela's Challenge: Holding On Too Tight 17
Now You Try It! 27
Part II Stepping Back to Keep Friends 29
4 Notice Stop Signals 30
Aidan's Challenge: Trying to Be Funny 30
5 Give the Benefit of the Doubt 42
Susan's Challenge: Assuming Meanness 42
6 Handle Stressful Situations 47
Kyle's Challenge: Crying Easily 47
Now You Try It! 55
Part III Blending in to Join Friends 57
7 Join the Fun 58
Mackenzie's Challenge: Standing on the Sidelines 58
8 Match the Tone 74
Jason's Challenge: Criticizing Others 74
9 Contribute to the Team 82
Carlos's Challenge: Afraid of NOT Being the Best 82
Now You Try It! 88
Part IV Speaking Up to Share with Friends 91
10 Be True to Yourself 92
Christopher's Challenge: Not Sharing What He Thinks 92
11 Say No When Needed 104
Maria's Challenge: Giving In Too Much 104
12 Handle Teasing and Bullying 112
Paul's Challenge: Overreacting to Silliness 112
Now You Try It! 129
Part V Letting Go to Accept Friends 131
13 Be a Good Sport 132
Samir's Challenge: Acting Like a Sore Loser 132
14 Respect Others' Choices 140
Natasha's Challenge: Trying to Control Too Much 140
15 Move Past Conflict 146
Jorge's Challenge: Holding Grudges 146
Now You Try It! 166
Final Thoughts 169
Additional Resources from Dr. Kennedy-Moore 173
About the Authors 181