Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash
Borba, Michele. Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Suceed in Our All-About-Me World (Touchstone, 2016).
Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy -- which goes hand-in-hand with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome -- so dangerous? First, it hurts kids' academic performance and leads to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, a lack of empathy hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate, and problem-solve -- all must-have skills for the global economy.In UnSelfie Dr. Borba pinpoints the forces causing the empathy crisis and shares a revolutionary, researched-based, 9-step plan for reversing it. Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured; Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfieis a blueprint for parents and educators who want to kids shift their focus from I, me, and mine to we, us, and ours.
Brown, Brene. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Avery, 2012)
In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, or hurtful as standing on the outside looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful vision for letting ourselves be seen.
Brown, Brene. The Gifts of Imperfection: Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life (Hazelden Publishing, 2010)
This book is an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. A small, quiet grassroots movement that starts with each of saying, “My story matters because I matter.” A movement where we can take to the streets with our messy, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives. A movement fueled by freedom that comes when we stop pretending everything is OK when it isn’t. A call that rises up from our bellies when we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments even though we’ve convinced ourselves that savoring happiness is inviting disaster. Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance.
Brown, Brene. The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion and Connection (Sounds True, 2013).
We all know that perfect parenting does not exist; however, we still struggle with the social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. These messages are powerful and we end up spending too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of families to show to the world. Based on 12 years of pioneering research, Dr. Brené Brown offers a new perspective of the subject of perfect parenting. She states, "It's actually our ability to embrace imperfection that will help us teach our children to have the courage to be authentic, the compassion to love themselves and others, and the sense of connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life."
Dr. Brown proposes that the greatest challenge of wholehearted parenting is being the adult that we want our children to grow up to be. The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting is a practical and hopeful program for raising children who know that they are worthy of love, belonging, and joy. Drawing on her research on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame, Dr. Brown invites listeners on a journey to transform the lives of parents and children alike as we explore how to cultivate wholeheartedness in our families.
Coleman, Joshua. When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Children Don’t Get Along (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2008).
In When Parents Hurt, psychologist and parent Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., offers insight, empathy, and perspective to those who have lost the opportunity to be the parent they desperately wanted to be and who are mourning the loss of a harmonious relationship with their child. Through case examples and healing exercises, Dr. Coleman helps parents: reduce anger, guilt, and shame.
By helping parents recognize what they can do and let go of what they cannot, Dr. Coleman helps families develop more positive ways of healing themselves and relating to each other.
Conti, Paul MD. Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic: How Trauma Works and How We Can Heal From It (Sounds True, Incorporated, 2021) with foreward by Lady Gaga
A Journey Toward Understanding, Active Treatment, and Societal Prevention of Trauma
Imagine, if you will, a disease—one that has only subtle outward symptoms but can hijack your entire body without notice, one that transfers easily between parent and child, one that can last a lifetime if untreated. According to Dr. Paul Conti, this is exactly how society should conceptualize trauma: as an out-of-control epidemic with a potentially fatal prognosis.
In Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic, Dr. Conti examines the most recent research, clinical best practices, and dozens of real-life stories to present a deeper and more urgent view of trauma. Not only does Dr. Conti explain how trauma affects the body and mind, he also demonstrates that trauma is transmissible among close family and friends, as well as across generations and within vast demographic groups.
With all this in mind, Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic proposes a course of treatment for the seemingly untreatable. Here, Dr. Conti traces a step-by-step series of concrete changes that we can make both as individuals and as a society to alleviate trauma’s effects and prevent further traumatization in the future.
You will discover:
• The different post-trauma syndromes, how they are classified, and their common symptoms
• An examination of how for-profit health care systems can inhibit diagnosis and treatment of trauma
• How social crises and political turmoil encourage the spread of group trauma
• Methods for confronting and managing your fears as they arise in the moment
• How trauma disrupts mental processes such as memory, emotional regulation, and logical decision-making
• The argument for a renewed humanist social commitment to mental health and wellness
It’s only when we understand how a disease spreads and is sustained that we are able to create its ultimate cure. With Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic, Dr. Conti reveals that what we once considered a lifelong, unbeatable mental illness is both treatable and preventable.
Cotta, Susan. Illustrated by Gregory Crawford. I Can Show You I Care: Compassionate Touch for Children (North Atlantic Books, 2003). PreS-Gr. 3.
This full-color picture book written for school age children shows the famous Upledger Technique's 'Healing Hands' program at work with children. Conducted at schools around the country, the program teaches children—at a young age—the importance of compassion and caring for others. Children have shown remarkable behavioral improvements after participating in this recognized worldwide program.
Dermond, Susan. Calm and Compassionate Children (Celestial Arts, 2007).
Building on such inherent qualities as openheartedness and trust, parents and teachers can help children develop empathy and integrity as they grow and mature. From nature activities to conscious quiet time to tips on daily routines, CALM AND COMPASSIONATE CHILDREN provides practical guidance to help grown-ups model behavior and suggests dozens of activities to foster children's joy, wonder, kindness, and love. A parents' and teachers' guide to developing children's concentration, self-discipline, and compassion, as well as heartfelt qualities like openness and enthusiasm.Includes more than 90 techniques and exercises drawn from the author's experiences as a teacher and director of the Living Wisdom School, a nonprofit elementary school that emphasizes nonsectarian spiritual principles and practical skills for living.Recommends books, music, games, and other resources to help grown-ups nurture calm and compassionate kids.
Dreikurs, Rudolf. Children: the Challenge: The Classic Work on Improving Parent-Child Relations--Intelligent, Humane, and Eminently Practical (Penguin Publishing Group, 1991)
Children: The Challenge gives the key to parents who seek to build trust and love in their families, and raise happier, healthier, and better behaved children.
Based on a lifetime of experience with children—their problems, their delights, their challenges—Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, one of America’s foremost child psychiatrists presents an easy-to-follow program that teaches parents how to cope with the common childhood problems that occur from toddler years through early adolescence.
This warm and reassuring reference helps parents to understand their children’s actions better, giving them the guidance necessary to discipline lovingly and effectively, all while fostering a healthy environment in which children will grow and develop into successful teenagers and adults.
Greenwood, Angela. Understanding, Nurturing and Working Effectively with Vulnerable Children in Schools: “Why can’t you hear me?” (Routledge, 2019)
Written from extensive professional experience, this is an essential handbook and resource book for teacher trainers, schools, teachers, nurture base and school staff, and for educational psychologists and those in children’s services working with vulnerable children in pre and primary schools, as well as those in special schools and units. It offers a comprehensive and accessible exploration of the difficulties faced by teachers and schools from at-risk and disaffected children, including repeated trauma and insecure attachment patterns. The book describes how a thoughtful ‘relationship-based’ approach can both alleviate such difficulties and offer a second chance attachment experience, enabling students to discover it might be safe to let down their all consuming defences a little; thus freeing them to begin to learn. It offers practical suggestions in note form – making them easy to use, refer to and assimilate; numerous case examples and teacher friendly theoretical background material; and, a wealth of ideas for ways forward, including differentiated responses to children in the light of their particular patterns, developmental stages and unmet needs. A useful 8-session 'Safe to Learn’ PowerPoint course is included as an e-attachment with the book.
Harding, Kelli. The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness (Atria Books, 2019)
This groundbreaking and life-changing work based on the latest research effectively demonstrates “the profound impact that love, connection, and kindness have on our health” (Mark Williamson, PhD, director of Action for Happiness).
When Columbia University doctor Kelli Harding began her clinical practice, she never intended to explore the invisible factors behind our health. But then there were the rabbits. In 1978, a seemingly straightforward experiment designed to establish the relationship between high blood cholesterol and heart health in rabbits discovered that kindness—in the form of a particularly nurturing post-doc who pet and spoke to the lab rabbits as she fed them—made the difference between a heart attack and a healthy heart.
As Dr. Kelli Harding reveals in this eye-opening book, the rabbits were just the beginning of a much larger story. Groundbreaking new research shows that love, friendship, community, and our environment can have a greater impact on our health than anything that happens in the doctor’s office. For instance, chronic loneliness can be as unhealthy as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day; napping regularly can decrease one’s risk of heart disease; and people with purpose are less likely to get sick.
At once paradigm-shifting and empowering, The Rabbit Effect illuminates vital public health research showing kindness in our day-to-day lives can make the “world a healthier, happier place. I recommend this book highly for anyone who wants to live more healthfully” (Christy Turlington Burns, and CEO of Every Mother Counts).
Hubl, Thomas. Healing Collective Trauma: A Process for Integrating Our Intergenerational and Cultural Wounds (Sounds True, 2020)
A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Healing Shared Trauma
What can you do when you carry scars not on your body, but within your soul? And what happens when those spiritual wounds exist not just in you, but in everyone in your family, community, and even beyond?
Spiritual teacher Thomas Hübl has spent years investigating why it is that old and seemingly disconnected traumas can seed their way through communities and across generations. His work culminates in Healing Collective Trauma, a new perspective on trauma that addresses both its visible effects and its most hidden roots. Thomas combines deep knowledge of mystical traditions with the latest scientific research. “In this way,” writes Thomas, “we are weaving a double helix between ancient wisdom and contemporary understanding.”
Thomas details the Collective Trauma Integration Process, a group-based modality for evoking and eventually dissolving stuck traumatic energies. Providing structured practices for both students and group facilitators, Healing Collective Trauma is intended to build a practical tool kit for integration.
Here, you will learn:
- The innumerable ways trauma shapes our world―from identity and health to economy, geopolitics, and the state of the environment
- The concept of “trauma loyalty”―unconscious group bonds based in a pain narrative
- How the climate crisis is both a manifestation of humanity’s collective trauma and an opportunity to heal
- “Retrocausality”―how the power of presence can reshape the past and make new futures possible
Including essays contributed by experts such as Dr. Gabor Maté, Dr. Otto Scharmer, Dr. Christina Bethell, and Ken Wilber, Healing Collective Trauma offers not just an advanced look at community trauma but also a hopeful glimpse of the future. As Thomas declares, “Together, I believe we can and must heal the ‘soul wound’ that marks us all. In so doing, we will awaken to the luminous possibility and profound potential of our true, mutual nature as humankind.”
Kaufman, Peter and Schipper, Janine. Teaching with Compassion: An Educator's Oath to Teach from the Heart (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2018).
In a world where students are often seen as test scores and not as human beings, where their well-being is challenged by poverty, intolerance, and bullying, and where technological innovations frequently erode genuine personal contact, compassionate teachers are needed more than ever.
Teaching with Compassion offers practical tools and strategies designed to help educators foster a culture of care and compassion. Organized around an eight-point “Teaching with Compassion Oath,” this book draws on real life examples and exercises to demonstrate the power and potential of teaching from the heart. Written for both experienced and novice educators alike, Teaching with Compassion is sure to stimulate inquiry and provide ongoing inspiration.
Kidder, Rushworth M. Good Kids, Tough Choices: How Parents Can Help Their Children Do the Right Thing (Jossey-Bass, 2010).
A practical analysis and inspiring guide for teaching kids "ethical fitness." Parents are beginning to realize that deficiencies in ethics and character are becoming a big problem among our nation's children. According to the latest data, lying, cheating, and rampant insensitivity to other people are increasingly common. What can parents do? In this book, ethics expert Rushworth Kidder shows how to customize interventions to a child's age and temperament. He encourages parents not to give up, since what they do can always make a difference, regardless of how long or deep the bad habits of dishonesty may be.
All of Kidder's practical advice is based on the latest psychological and neuroscientific research about how kids develop character and learn what's right and wrong.
Miller, Lisa PhD. The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life (Random House, 2021)
A groundbreaking exploration of the neuroscience of spirituality and a bold new paradigm for health, healing, and resilience—from a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning researcher
“A new revolution of health and well-being and a testament to, and celebration of, the power within.”—Deepak Chopra, MD
Whether it’s meditation or a walk in nature, reading a sacred text or saying a prayer, there are many ways to tap into a heightened awareness of the world around you and your place in it. In The Awakened Brain, psychologist Dr. Lisa Miller shows you how.
Weaving her own deeply personal journey of awakening with her groundbreaking research, Dr. Miller’s book reveals that humans are universally equipped with a capacity for spirituality, and that our brains become more resilient and robust as a result of it. For leaders in business and government, truth-seekers, parents, healers, educators, and any person confronting life’s biggest questions, The Awakened Brain combines cutting-edge science (from MRI studies to genetic research, epidemiology, and more) with on-the-ground application for people of all ages and from all walks of life, illuminating the surprising science of spirituality and how to engage it in our lives:
The awakened decision is the better decision. With an awakened perception, we are more creative, collaborative, ethical, and innovative.
The awakened brain is the healthier brain. An engaged spiritual life enhances grit, optimism, and resilience while providing insulation against addiction, trauma, and depression.
The awakened life is the inspired life. Loss, uncertainty, and even trauma are the gateways by which we are invited to move beyond merely coping with hardship to transcend into a life of renewal, healing, joy, and fulfillment.
Absorbing, uplifting, and ultimately enlightening, The Awakened Brain is a conversation-starting saga of scientific discovery packed with counterintuitive findings and practical advice on concrete ways to access your innate spirituality and build a life of meaning and contribution.
Miller, Lisa PhD. The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving (Picador, 2016)
In The Spiritual Child, psychologist Lisa Miller presents the next big idea in psychology: the science and the power of spirituality. She explains the clear, scientific link between spirituality and health and shows that children who have a positive, active relationship to spirituality:
* are 40% less likely to use and abuse substances
* are 60% less likely to be depressed as teenagers
* are 80% less likely to have dangerous or unprotected sex
* have significantly more positive markers for thriving including an increased sense of meaning and purpose, and high levels of academic success.
Combining cutting-edge research with broad anecdotal evidence from her work as a clinical psychologist to illustrate just how invaluable spirituality is to a child's mental and physical health, Miller translates these findings into practical advice for parents, giving them concrete ways to develop and encourage their children's―as well as their own―well-being. In this provocative, conversation-starting book, Dr. Miller presents us with a pioneering new way to think about parenting our modern youth.
Montessori, Maria. The Secret of Childhood (Ballantine Books, 1982)
The book The Secret of Childhood is divided in three sections, dealing in turn with early childhood development, the author’s educational method, and the relation of the child to society. First, Montessori talks about the new-born child who is not only a body ready to function as a body, but also has a spiritual embryo with latent psychic capacities. The second part of the book gives an account of the first “Casa dei Bambini” about the essence of the Montessori Method. The adult should be determined to learn from the children rather than to force their own ideas on them. The essence of the Montessori Method lies in: observing, helping, presenting, rather than teaching or forcing. The adult, Montessori claims, must play a low-key role; all is free and open for the child, who chooses his own materials to work with, and learns from them because they interest him. Given the method of free choice of work and materials, the concentration is high and the need for punishment and reward is not necessary. Relieved from the emotional strain of competition and fear, the child becomes stable, confident and happy.
Schiraldi, Glenn R, PhD. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Recovery Workbook: Heal the Hidden Wounds from Childhood Affecting Your Adult Mental and Physical Health (New Harbinger Publications, 2021)
Practical skills for healing the hidden wounds of childhood trauma
We’re all a product of our childhood, and if you’re like most people, you have experienced some form of childhood trauma. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are at the root of nearly all mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Memories associated with ACEs imprint on a child’s brain, and can manifest themselves mentally and physically throughout adulthood—even decades after the traumatic incident. So, how can you begin healing the deep wounds of ACEs and build strength and resilience?
In this innovative workbook, trauma specialist Glenn Schiraldi presents practical, evidence-based skills to help you heal from ACEs. In addition to dealing with the symptoms, you’ll learn to address the root cause of your suffering, change the way your brain responds to stress and the outside world, and soothe troubling memories.
Using the trauma-informed and resilience-building practices in this book, you will:
Understand how toxic childhood stress is affecting your health
Rewire disturbing imprints in your brain using cutting-edge skills
Learn how to regulate stress and emotional arousal
Discover why traditional psychological approaches might not be helping
Know when and how to find the right kind of therapy
Childhood trauma doesn’t have to define you for the rest of your life. With this book as your guide, you will be able to make fundamental changes and replace needless suffering with self-care, security, and contentment.
Siegal, Daniel J. MD. Becoming Aware: A 21-Day Mindfulness Program for Reducing Anxiety and Cultivating Calm (Tarcher Perigee, 2021)
This hands-on user’s guide to the groundbreaking Wheel of Awareness meditation practice featured in the New York Times bestseller Aware takes readers step-by-step through a twenty-one-day journey to discover what it means to be truly present and aware in our daily lives.
In today’s increasingly fast-paced world it can be difficult to find moments to catch your breath, regain inner balance, and just . . . be. This simple yet profound guide shows readers how to strengthen their minds by learning to focus attention, open awareness, and develop a positive state of mind—the three pillars of mindfulness practice that research shows lead to greater physical and mental well-being.
Psychiatrist and cofounder of the Mindsight Institute, Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., created the science-grounded meditation practice called the Wheel of Awareness to unlock the power of the brain to integrate its many functions and develop internal resources that lead to an enduring sense of calm and quiet. Packed with guided meditation instructions, practical exercises, and everyday tools and techniques, Becoming Aware meets readers where they are and offers a simple program to enhance our inner sense of clarity and even our interpersonal well-being.
Smith, Charles. The Peaceful Classroom: 162 Easy Activities to Teach Preschoolers Compassion and Cooperation (Gryphon House, 1993).
Through these engaging group activities children learn to find friends, cooperate with others, respect each other's feelings and differences. Each exciting activity uses easily-accessible materials and incorporates the joy of music, movement, puppet-making, playdough fun, gardening, and more. A gem of a book to foster sharing and caring.
Stafford, Dr. Wess. Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment...Can Last Forever! (Moody Publishers’ New edition, 2012).
How long does it take to make a difference in the life of a child? For good or for ill, individual moments in a young person's life can make all the difference in their future. It may be something said or done by an adult who hardly thinks about it: a hug, a compliment, an intriguing question, a sincere applause. But in that moment, the child discovers who they are, what is important to them, why they matter, and sometimes even what their destiny will be. Most of us want to help encourage and build into this next generation, most of us see the need all around, but we just have no idea where to begin.
Now, with this book, you know where to begin and you know that it only takes Just a Minute. Follow along as Dr. Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International, shares stories and experiences to introduce you to the difference you can actually make anywhere on the spectrum of child development. From helping meet physical needs to breaking down emotional barriers and from discovering latent talents to equipping with spiritual insights, these stories are a catalyst for action.
Thich Nhat Hanh, edited by Chan Chau Nghiem. Illustrated by Wietske Vriezen. Planting Seeds (Parallax Press, 2011).
Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is the fruit of decades of development and innovation in the Plum Village community's collective practice with children. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh's thirty years of teaching mindfulness and compassion to parents, teachers, and children, the book and enclosed CD covers a wide range of contemplative and fun activities parents and educators can do with their children or students. They are designed to help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude and confidence, deal with difficult emotions, touch our interconnection with nature, and improve communication. Planting Seeds offers insight, concrete activities, and curricula that parents and educators can apply in school settings, in their local communities or at home, in a way that is meaningful and inviting to children. The key practices presented include mindful breathing and walking, inviting the bell, pebble meditation, the Two Promises or ethical guidelines for children, children's versions of Touching the Earth and Deep Relaxation, eating meditation and dealing with conflict and strong emotions. Also included are the lyrics to the songs on the enclosed CD that summarize and reinforce the key teachings, as well as a chapter on dealing effectively with conflict in the classroom or difficult group.
Thich Nhat Hanh. Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being (Parallax Press, 2008).
Initially designed as stretching breaks between long periods of sitting meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Mindful Movements became so popular they’re now an integral part of his retreats. Based on yoga and tai chi movements, these simple, effective exercises reduce mental, physical, and emotional stress. The book Mindful Movements introduces the program to the general public. The ten routines are designed to be easily accessible and can be performed by people of all ages and all body types, whether they’re familiar with mindful practices or not. They can be done before or after sitting meditation, at home, at work, or any time the reader has a few minutes to refresh both mind and body. For those new to meditation, the exercises are an easy way to get acquainted with mindfulness as a complete, multifaceted practice. For current practitioners, the movements add a welcome physical element to a sitting meditation practice.
Willard, Christopher. Child’s Mind: Mindful Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, More Calm and Relaxed (Parallax Press, 2010).
The interest in teaching meditation to children is growing rapidly, as a number of recent stories in the mainstream media have documented. Child's Mind aims to teach parents and child professionals how to integrate mindfulness into their work with children and teach both young children and adolescents the basics of mindfulness and meditation. The book is a great resource for anyone who work with young people, including family coordinators at retreat centers, religious instructors in a range of traditions, teachers, therapists, and medical professionals. Child's Mind aims to teach children the power that comes with the comfort of just being, as well as the capacity to be, be aware, and be comfortable with oneself.
Young, Bettie B. Teaching Kids to Care: Nurturing Character and Compassion (Hampton Roads Publishing, 2007).
"Dreaming about a child's future begins long before the child is actually born. We wish for them to be happy, successful, well adjusted and healthy. Unfortunately, the world sends mixed messages and children do not just download these qualities. How do we as parents ensure that our children have the empathy and integrity that we dreamed they would? How do we fight the all too human attributes of selfishness, self-absorption, complacency, bullying and isolation and teach children to care?" --from Teaching Kids to Care