Growing Feelings: A Kids' Guide to Dealing with Emotions about Friends and Other Kids

Eileen Kennedy-Moore Christine McLaughlin

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  • Ages: 6 - 12
  • Pages: 208
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781582708782
  • Published: 2023


Children’s biggest emotions often come up about friends and other kids. In this funny and useful book, authors Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Christine McLaughlin help kids understand and cope with feelings in ways that build strong friendships.

Everyone likes the idea of “best friends forever,” but friendships can be complicated, and they often involve dealing with difficult feelings. Almost all children have experienced feeling shy at a party where they don’t know anyone, furious during an argument with a friend, or sad when a friend moves away. Because kids care a lot about friends, they often have big emotional responses about them.

This entertaining and empowering book addresses a wide range of feelings children have about friends and other kids, including worry, guilt, jealousy, compassion, and gratitude. Through relatable cartoon stories, practical, research-based coping strategies, plus silly commentary from a cat and dog who have their own (questionable) ideas about what might help, kids get a hands-on approach that they can put into practice.

Child psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore and parenting and health writer Christine McLaughlin show kids how to recognize the Feelings Story behind common friendship rough spots, demonstrating the links between events, thoughts, emotions, actions, and social reactions through the situational cartoons, so children can clearly see how their reactions fuel or resolve relationship problems. And going far beyond a simplistic and unrealistic “don’t worry, be happy, think positive only” approach, Growing Feelings offers a nuanced perspective on feelings about friends. It emphasizes that all emotions are useful and guides children in how to empathize with others’ reactions, as well as how to understand, manage, and communicate in healthy ways about their own feelings.

Caring friendships are a protective factor for children’s mental health. Giving kids the tools they need to deal with the feelings about friends is a powerful step toward protecting and improving their well-being.

Michelle Garcia Winner, CEO of Social Thinking, says:

“At a time when so many kids are overwhelmed by understanding their feelings, this charming book provides the perfect combination of humor, strategies, and practical explanations. The authors systematically tackle three big buckets of feelings (anxiety, anger, and sadness) and how they relate to making and keeping friends. Chapters provide relevant examples of real-life experiences and questions through the lens of kids’ perspectives. An essential tool for parents, therapists, and educators and an informative and fun guide for students!"

About the Authors

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, that has over 4 million views ( She also has a website for kids called Dr. Kennedy-Moore has a private practice in Princeton, New Jersey, where she works with adults, children, and families.

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

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