Creating Compassionate Kids: Essential Conversations to Have with Young Children

Creating Compassionate Kids: Essential Conversations to Have with Young Children

by Shauna Tominey


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Young children can surprise us with tough questions. Tominey’s essential guide teaches us how to answer them and foster compassion along the way.

If you had to choose one word to describe the world you want children to grow up in, what would it be?

Safe? Understanding? Resilient? Compassionate?

As parents and caregivers of young children, we know what we want for our children, but not always how to get there.Many children today are stressed by academic demands, anxious about relationships at school, confused by messages they hear in the media, and overwhelmed by challenges at home.Young children look to the adults in their lives for everything. Sometimes we’re prepared... sometimes we’re not.

In this book, Shauna Tominey guides parents and caregivers through how to have conversations with young children about a range of topics-from what makes us who we are (e.g., race, gender) to tackling challenges (e.g., peer pressure, divorce, stress) to showing compassion (e.g., making friends, recognizing privilege, being a helper). Talking through these topics in an age-appropriate manner—rather than telling children they are too young to understand—helps children recognize how they feel and how they fit in with the world around them. This book provides sample conversations, discussion prompts, storybook recommendations, and family activities. Dr.Tominey's research-based strategies and practical advice creates dialogues that teach self-esteem, resilience, and empathy: the building blocks for a more compassionate world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393711592
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Shauna Tominey, PhD, is an assistant professor of practice and parenting education specialist at Oregon State University. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Chapter 1 Creating compassionate kids: The importance of conversations 1

Taking children's feelings seriously during early childhood 3

The importance of conversations in early childhood 7

Millions of neurons, millions of words 8

Chapter II You are loved: Modeling compassionate parenting 14

You are loved 15

Your feelings help your parents know what you need 22

Your parents use words to teach you and guide you 26

You can express your feelings in different ways 34

Everyone is a learner 44

Making mistakes is part of learning 49

Chapter III You are your own person: Building self-awareness 75

You are special 75

Temperament 76

Race 84

Sex and gender 92

Your body 98

Abilities and disabilities 102

Sexual orientation 109

Your family is special 112

There are many different types of families 113

All families have beliefs, culture, and values 117

Chapter IV You are part of the world around you: Fostering resilience 138

You can talk to your family about anything 140

Love, relationships, and sex 140

Divorce 147

Peer pressure 151

Bullying 156

Safe and unsafe touches (abuse) 163

Substance use and abuse 169

Death 172

Suicide 178

Incarceration 182

Guns and violence 186

Chapter V You can be a helper: Promoting compassion 202

We should be kind to everyone, starting with our own family 204

Thinking about other people's feelings can help us get along 207

Having good manners is one way to show kindness and compassion 213

There are things you can do to be a good friend 216

Making amends means more than saying sorry 223

There are no bad kids, but some kids have more challenges than others 229

Privilege impacts our lives in different ways 235

We can each make a difference in our own way 244

Conclusion 259

References 261

Index 267

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