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

By Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD & Christine McLaughlin
(Beyond Words)
For kids ages 6-12

A funny and useful guide to help children deal with the complicated feelings that come up about friends. Filled with cartoons and research-based tips.

This warm, wise, accessible book belongs in the hands of every elementary-school-aged child.

- Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Untangled, Under Pressure, and The Emotional Lives of Teenagers


Everyone likes the idea of “best friends forever,” but friendships can be complicated, and they often involve dealing with difficult feelings.

This entertaining and empowering book addresses a wide range of feelings kids have about friends and other kids, including worry, guilt, jealousy, compassion, and gratitude.

Growing Feelings shows kids how to recognize the Feelings Story behind common friendship rough spots. It spells out the links between events, thoughts, emotions, actions, and social reactions, so kids can clearly see how their reactions fuel or resolve relationship problems.

It offers relatable cartoon stories, practical, research-based coping strategies, plus silly comments from a Cat and Dog character who have their own (questionable) ideas about what might help.

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Part I: Feeling Anxious About Friends

Includes: Shy, Worried, Embarrassed, Guilty
Plus Opposite Feelings: Excitement, Curiosity, Playfulness

Part II: Feeling Angry About Friends

Includes: Furious, Jealous, Irritated, Mean, Grumpy
Plus Opposite Feelings: Acceptance, Compassion, Bigger-Than-Me Happiness

Part III: Feeling Sad About Friends

Includes: Grief, Disappointed, Ashamed, Envious, Lonely
Plus Opposite Feelings: Contentment, Gratitude, Hope

How to Comfort a Friend

Building Strong and Happy Friendships

Praise from reviewers

"A helpful primer for navigating the emotional ups and downs of friendship." -- Kirkus

“Any parent who finds themselves struggling to help their children ‘fit in’, learn to cope with their developing feelings or simply wants to understand a great deal more about feelings in general, should consider this a must read book. Perfect for a wide range of children and adults ... Growing Feelings should be in school libraries everywhere." -- J. Mawdesley, Bluewolf Reviews

"My son struggles with anxiety and says this book really has helped him understand himself more. Definitely would be a wonderful book ... to help young children really understand friendships, maintaining them, and learning more about their big feelings/emotions." -- B. Groff

"As an educator and librarian, we are always looking for books that add a little humor and understanding to today's youth challenges. This book is one of them and I highly recommend it. I felt empowered reading this and I know other readers will feel the same way." -- D. Carpenter

"This book is such a wonderful tool to give children language to discuss their feelings. The visuals make the ideas accessible and engaging." -- K. Menders

"We need this book. Actually we all needed this book years and years ago. [Books like this] let the adults and the kids know it’s normal to feel anxious, sad or angry when it comes to friends and our first social interactions." -- Reading Tamishly

Praise from experts

Growing Feelings translates top-notch psychological science into a clear and compassionate guide that will help kids understand their emotions and the role they play in building and maintaining friendships. This warm, wise, accessible book belongs in the hands of every elementary-school aged child.” -- Lisa Damour, PhD, author of UntangledUnder Pressure, and The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

“A great follow-up to Growing Friendships! Unlike other books that generalize emotions, Growing Feelings uniquely focuses on the powerful feelings that inevitably come up in children’s friendships. The thinking and research behind this book are sophisticated, but the concepts and strategies are presented in a way that’s accessible and empowering for children. The cartoons showing common friendship challenges are very relatable, and the silly comments from the cat and dog make this book a fun read. I love the message that all feelings, even painful ones, are useful to understand, plus the practical ideas for coping with and communicating about often-neglected emotions such as guilt, disappointment, and jealousy. Reading this groundbreaking book aloud with your child is a great way to help them gain essential tools for navigating feelings about friends.” -- Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of The ”Me, Me, Me” Epidemic

“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!" -- Michelle Garcia Winner, founder of Social Thinking

“Funny and relatable, Growing Feelings takes the sting out of friendship problems. Young readers will emerge feeling better about themselves, with skills to handle jealousy, disappointment, shyness, anger, and more.” -- Dawn Huebner, PhD, author of Dr. Dawn's Mini Books About Mighty Fears

“I wish I'd had Growing Feelings when I was a kid. This thoughtful and insightful book will help children understand and gracefully navigate the many feelings that come with growing friendships.” -- Melinda Wenner Moyer, author of How to Raise Kids Who Aren't Assholes

"Growing Feelings is a fun, engaging discovery guide to the art of growing up. It doesn't simply tell kids about the unique feelings and emotions they have in friendships while growing up but teaches them the story of those feelings and emotions so kids can better enjoy the story they are living." -- Matthew Murrie, creator of Curiosity-Based Thinking and coauthor of The Book of What If…?

“Managing and coping with our emotions about friends can be tough, especially for kids. With Growing Feelings, kids can delve into each Feelings Story and develop a stronger understanding behind the whatwhy, and how when it comes to the emotions they’re experiencing.” -- Elisa Medhus, MD, founder of Channeling Erik and author of My Life After Death and Raising Children Who think for Themselves

“A fun, engaging, and helpful book for kids to read with their parents! Friendships are critical to healthy development and create many BIG feelings. Dr. Kennedy-Moore and Christine McLaughlin help kids navigate Friendship Rough Spots by helping them understand the multiple emotions they’re experiencing and providing a variety of practical actions they can take to improve friendships.” -- Mary K. Alvord, PhD, psychologist and coauthor of The Action Mindset Workbook for TeensConquer Negative Thinking for Teens, and Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents

“Children must read this book! It’s great—reader-friendly, informative, relevant, and research-based. The many cartoons, amusing dog and cat banter, and relatable Feelings Stories will empower children to find ways to overcome Friendship Rough Spots and forge meaningful connections with others. With its helpful tips, glossary, and fine-tuned perspectives on feelings, actions, reactions, and friendship-building, Growing Feelings is destined to become a classic!” -- Dr. Joanne Foster, gifted education and child development specialist and award-winning author of Being Smart about Gifted Education and Bust Your BUTS

Growing Feelings is the kind of book you want to keep close on your desk as a parent or teacher and have additional copies for your kids to keep close for their own reference! In vivid language, with compelling and fun visuals, this book helps readers understand that our feelings aren't here to shame us or make us think there's something wrong with us. Instead, our feelings teach us, help us grow, and through being honest about them, we can become healthier and more hopeful. I love and appreciate this book so much! -- Luke Reynolds, Phdprofessor of education, Endicott College and author of Surviving Middle SchoolFantastic Failures, and Braver than I Thought