Creating Compassionate Kids

Essential Conversations to Have with Young Children

Shauna Tominey (Author, Oregon State University)

Overview | Contents

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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • January 2019
  • ISBN 978-0-393-71159-2
  • 7 × 10 in / 256 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

Creating Compassionate Kids goes beyond educating parents. All those who interact with kids of any age will find it a useful tool to consult. . . A must-read for all who strive to raise compassionate children today.” — Booklist

“With deep sensitivity and humanity, Dr. Tominey illuminates how our everyday conversations shape who we are and what we become. Tominey captures the heart of what kids are implicitly asking and seeking. With impeccable perception and rare insight, she explains how to talk to children about real-world topics, while also providing essential messages to help them develop into confident, caring, and compassionate people. Grounded in emotion science that’s conveyed with the same warmth and wisdom she promotes, Creating Compassionate Kids is a beacon for 21st century families.” — Kathryn Lee, Director of RULER for Families, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

“In Creating Compassionate Kids, Dr. Tominey communicates the power of adult-child conversation through compelling and descriptive examples, and an engaging narrative that embeds key insights from developmental science. Family activities, book recommendations, and discussion questions provide wonderful opportunities to extend and apply learning. You’ll finish the book feeling inspired and empowered to turn everyday moments into opportunities to support the next generation of compassionate children.” — Elisabeth O'Bryon, Ph.D., co-founder of Family Engagement Lab

“Developing compassion begins with understanding, and for young children, understanding emerges in conversation. Written with wisdom and sensitivity, Creating Compassionate Kids guides adults into these conversations and their significance to young children. Through conversational examples that are insightfully discussed, Shauna Tominey provides thought-provoking reflections on the growth of compassion and its foundations in developing self-awareness, resilience, and close relationships in childhood. A valuable resource for adults who care for kids.” — Ross A. Thompson, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California Davis

Creating Compassionate Kids is a must-read book for anyone working with or raising young people. Infusing research and examples from her personal and professional life as a parent, researcher, and parent educator, Dr. Tominey helps us have vulnerable, courageous, and loving conversations that foster compassion in adults and young people alike. Dr. Tominey’s writing is approachable and informative, and she equips her reader with actionable and developmentally-appropriate tools for creating compassionate kids.” — Dena N. Simmons, EdD, CHES, Assistant Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Associate Research Scientist, Yale Child Study Center

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