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It was unanimous.  We all agreed that every kid should read this book on friendship.  Go grab it now because you will love what and how it teaches your child about being a friend.

The book is Growing Friendships:  A Kids’ Guide to Making and Keeping Friends.  It is an empowering book that will help your child make new friends, learn how to handle various friendship challenges and much more.  Whether you have a social butterfly or a kid who is struggling in the social arena, this book will help them through friendship situations that every child faces as they grow up.  I wish we would have read this book a year ago when we were switching schools.

Here is What I Loved:

So many times, we as parents try to explain things to our kids but not always in a way they grasp quickly.  This book presented the information well and in a style easily understood by children.  The pages are filled with concrete examples and scenarios that help kids follow a course of thought or action.  I can tell my kids to look up and make eye contact when meeting someone,  but the book takes it a step further by explaining the reason for a friendly greeting and what the other person may feel without it.  That latter point has already helped my kids improve their how they greet others.

Growing Friendships assigned names to things.  For example, a person who holds too tightly to a friend and doesn’t want them to play with anyone else is called an Octopus Friend.  The authors shared why this isn’t good and how it can hurt a friendship.  Picture an octopus wrapping its arms around a person.  What a clever way to explain the lesson.

We learned many practical and helpful strategies for dealing with conflict and handling stressful situations.  One of my kids was concerned about crying in public during a stressful moment, so we remembered back to one of the calming strategies and thought of distractions (counting things in view like ceiling tiles or making a mental list of something else . . . )

The book normalized the feelings that kids may experience when it comes to friendship ups and downs.  There were times when my kids were a little uncomfortable with a section, mainly because it pushed a button of something they did or a way they felt when something happened to them.  It was good to talk it out, identify the issue and work towards healing and healthy responses.

When the authors presented a negative action to avoid, they always gave a positive replacement.  One of my favorites was in the Reaching Out To Make Friends section.  Instead of trying to impress other kids with knowledge or experience, the authors encouraged the goal of connecting with them.

The book used humor.  Throughout the book, there is a comic with a dog and a cat giving their take on the material presented.  At first, I was concerned my son would find it juvenile.  But the humor is not childish in any way.  In fact, we all laughed and found it quite entertaining.

Here are some of the other topics discussed in the book.  

  • Taking first steps to make friends
  • Tips for fun and successful play dates
  • Joining a group of kids already having fun
  • Recognizing stop signals and times when you might be annoying someone
  • Giving a friend the benefit of the doubt
  • Standing up for yourself
  • Identifying a friendship that needs to end vs. a “Friendship Rough Spot”
  • How to answer teasing and what to do with bullying
  • Contributing to a conversation and matching the tone
  • Working as a member of a team
  • How “I” statements can help solve problems
  • Moving past conflict
  • Being a good sport

This is a great book, one I’m so glad we read.  I would suggest reading it with your child so you have the opportunity to discuss the ideas and concepts together.  We read it as a family and now each of my kids is re-reading it on his or her own.

Do you think this could help your child?  Which topic would be most beneficial to your child?

Disclaimer:  I received this book at no cost to facilitate an honest review.  All opinions are my own and after reading the book, I am thrilled to share this resource for your family.