Making friends

Saying No to Friends: Helping Kids Be True to Themselves

Friends are important to kids. Sometimes the need to make their friends happy or to fit in gets in the way of their own happiness. They might be afraid that their friends won’t like them anymore if they disappoint them in some way. They might try so hard to be liked that they forget to take care of themselves.  You Can’t Please Everyone! by Ellen Flanagan Burns explores this challenging situation by following a character named Ellie, who struggles with this aspect of friendship. It’s a hopeful, helpful story for kids who need reassurance that they can be nice to others and be true to themselves. Here are some tips from an adapted excerpt of the introduction, entitled Dear Reader.  It’s not your job to:  Please People  When you try to please people, it feels good at first because it makes them happy, but that good feeling doesn’t last very long. Always worrying about what people think is exhausting! It’s much better to just be yourself and trust that’s enough for your friends.  Be Liked  The truth is, the way somebody feels about you isn’t really your concern. The way YOU feel about you is. So, be your best YOU. It’s OKAY to be yourself and say “no” to others. Do It All  You can’t do it all, and your good friends don’t expect you to. You’ll feel happier and more confident when you do what feels right instead of what you think someone else wants you to do. It is your job to: Be Kind  It feels good to be kind and help others when you can. That’s different than trying to please people. Do the thing that feels right rather than the thing that makes others like you. When we do what feels right, it gives us a good feeling that lasts. Be Yourself  There’s no one else like you. Whether you are silly, sweet, quiet, smart, shy, funny, talkative, or outgoing (or all of the above at different times), BE YOURSELF! That’s enough. You’ll learn to speak up for yourself in a way that is friendly and true to yourself.  Choose Your Friends Wisely  People who expect you to make them happy rather than being yourself can be difficult to get along with. They may blame you when things don’t go their way. These kinds of friends can bring out the people-pleasing side of you. Find friends who lift you up, not bring you down. Find friends who like you just the way you are. 

Read More
Saying No to Friends: Helping Kids Be True to Themselves 2022-05-10T14:20:14-04:00

Books to Tackle Bullying

October is Bullying Prevention Month. Magination Press has published several books about the experience of bullying and how to respond to it, as well as resources for being a leader, good citizen, and for being resilient.  Books about bullying Lulu the One and Only by Lynnette Mawhinney, PhD explores the experience of being multiracial, explains microaggression, and provides a resilient response.  Read a post about supporting your biracial child from the Author’s Note here. Hear Lulu the One and Only read aloud here. Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying by James M. Foley, DEd follows a pair of friends, Baxter and Danny, as they encounter and learn how to stand up to bullies. Read an excerpt from the Note to Parents and Other Caregivers here. Books About Helping Make Your World a Better Place  The Hero Handbook by Mark Langdon shows kids how to be the hero of their own story and discover their own hero journey. Heroes take chances, do hard things, and sometimes even change the world. To become a hero, kids can surround themselves with supportive people, boost their self-esteem and self-awareness, find their passion, and have the courage to make things happen. Read an excerpt from The Hero Handbook here. Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L. Moss, PhD, ABPP provides strategies to become a “positive bystander,” someone who stands up for themselves and others. Two of the ways to be an Upstander include having empathy for others and conflict resolution. Read an excerpt from a chapter of Stand Up! here. Resilient Reads Brilliant Bea by Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich is an endearing and empowering story that demonstrates that a learning difference like dyslexia doesn’t define who you are. Despite her struggles with reading and writing, Beatrice is a natural and brilliant storyteller. With the help of a kind-hearted teacher, Beatrice uses an old-fashioned tape recorder so she can speak her words and play them back, as a technique for learning in a whole new way. With her new approach, Beatrice is able to show her classmates who she really has been all along. This book is set in EasyReading, a dyslexia-friendly font. Band Together by Chloe Douglass demonstrates how sometimes peer pressure can be a positive force. Duck loves peace and quiet! When a rowdy band asks him to join the show, he agrees, but gets nervous to perform with them. Why would they want him to play with them? A charming tale about being with friends and making new ones. Hear Band Together read aloud here. Read an interview with the author and illustrator here. Whether your child has been the target of bullying, has witnessed it, or has bullied someone else, reading books about the subject is a great way to start a conversation about this important and sensitive subject. Check out our entire collection of books about bullying. It may also be helpful to look at our collection of books about friendship, race &

Read More
Books to Tackle Bullying 2021-10-14T17:34:09-04:00

Help Your Child Cope with Social Anxiety

Many kids are shy around strangers, but “warm up” after becoming familiar with a person or situation. But sometimes kids experience fear and anxiety about participating in everyday social situations like playing with neighborhood kids and attending school. In Shannon Anderson’s book, Too Shy to Say Hi, Shelli’s fears and anxieties prevent her from joining in on activities she would certainly enjoy. In this excerpt from the Reader’s Note in Too Shy to Say Hi, Dr. Elizabeth McCallum explores the difference between shyness and social anxiety and offers tips to help your child feel more confident and relaxed in social situations. Shyness or Social Anxiety? Shyness is a part of many kids’ temperament, or the personality traits that determine the unique way in which they interact with the world. It may take a shy child a little while to get comfortable with a new person or situation. However, sometimes shyness is so extreme that it interferes with a person’s social development, causing significant distress. Social anxiety is a term used to describe when a person avoids everyday social activities because they’re worried about being judged or fear behaving in ways that might bring about embarrassment. Usually people with social anxiety don't have any trouble interacting with family members and close friends, but the idea of meeting new people, speaking in public, or unfamiliar situations can put their anxiety symptoms into high gear. Fight-or-Flight? We all feel anxious or scared sometimes. In fact, feeling anxious can be helpful in certain situations. Our bodies and brains are hardwired to feel anxious and respond to these feelings with our fight-or-flight response. When our brains sense danger, they release adrenaline and other chemicals that cause all kinds of bodily reactions: quickened heartbeat, rapid breathing, sweating, and even goosebumps. Evolutionarily speaking, the fight-or-flight response helped to keep us safe from predators. Today the fight-or-flight response continues to keep us safe from different dangers like walking into oncoming traffic or eating spoiled foods. But what about when the danger isn’t real? When someone has social anxiety, or any type of anxiety problem, they feel anxious in situations where there is no real danger at all. Their fight-or-flight response gets activated too frequently, too powerfully, and in situations where it isn’t actually necessary. How Does Social Anxiety Affect Daily Life? Social anxiety is a common mental health diagnosis in childhood, with the typical age of onset between 8 and 15 years old. People with social anxiety have fears regarding their social performance. They tend to be highly self-conscious and have an extreme fear of being judged by others. School, for example, is a very social time for kids. Kids may spend hours at school each weekday, interacting with peers and teachers. Social anxiety can keep kids from participating in everyday school and extracurricular activities. Unstructured time, like lunch or recess, may be the worst for these kids because there is the most opportunity for social rejection. Some kids may also avoid raising their hands in class

Read More
Help Your Child Cope with Social Anxiety 2021-03-03T21:08:49-05:00