Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends

Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends

Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends

Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends


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From psychologist and children’s friendships expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore and parenting and health writer Christine McLaughlin comes a social development primer that gives kids the answers they need to make and keep friends.

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 Details

ISBN-13: 9781582705880
Publisher: Aladdin/Beyond Words
Publication date: 07/18/2017
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 132,776
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 6 - 9 Years

About the Author

Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is an internationally published author, psychologist, and mother of four. She is a trusted expert on parenting and children’s feelings and friendships who is frequently quoted in major magazines and newspapers and has been a featured guest on national radio and television shows. Her books have been translated into seven languages. She is a professor for the Great Courses, serves on the advisory board for Parents magazine, and writes the popular Growing Friendships blog for Psychology Today. Dr. Kennedy-Moore has a private practice in Princeton, New Jersey, where she works with adults, children, and families. Visit her online at

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

Read an Excerpt

Growing Friendships

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

Acknowledgments 171

Additional Resources from Dr. Kennedy-Moore 173

Glossary 175

About the Authors 181

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