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How to Identify and Prevent Jealousy in Children

 Envy is an emotion that exists in every person and even in small children. This feeling can sometimes be toward siblings, friends or classmates, and almost always leads to negative consequences. Sometimes simple things like a friend getting a new or a new baby in the family being doted on can ignite this problematic feeling in your child. While it's true that you can’t completely eliminate feelings of jealousy, it turns out that there are ways to overcome them. We invite you to continue reading and discover 5 common causes of your child's jealousy and 8 ways to help you cope with this unwanted emotion and restrain it.

 

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5 Causes of jealousy among children

1. Spoiling the child

Spoiling children is one of the most destructive things a parent can do, since a spoiled child may perceive themselves as an invincible person who gets everything they want.  The truth, however, as we all know, is that your child won’t always get what they want. Your child will then look to blame those who have what they don't, leading to them sometimes suffering feelings of depression and even inferiority.

2. Overprotection

Unlike animals in the wild, most of which are able to protect themselves relatively soon after they come into the world, humans need the protection of parents or an adult for a fairly long time. When you protect a child to an extreme, the child's dependence on the parent may increase to the point where they won’t feel safe separating from their parent when the time comes, they’ll even feel deserted. This trauma can cause the child to be overly shy, hesitant and jealous, especially toward others who are confident in themselves.

3. Parental authority

Determining stricter rules and regulations without explanation can lead to jealousy and rivalry among children, especially if rules are unexplainably different for each child. Sometimes there are rules that are set for some children in the family that aren’t applicable to everyone for various reasons – however, the reasons need to be explained. If one does not explain the rule and a situation occurs in which one of the children violates it and isn’t punished for it, whether because of their age or some other reason, while another child who violates the same rule is punished, this creates jealousy and sometimes unnecessary conflict.

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4. Comparison with others

One of the most harmful mistakes to make is to compare a child to their siblings or other children. This can lead to jealousy that could lead to hatred to the point of harming the “better.” This creates rivalry and self-confidence that will affect the victim in the long-term.

5. A new baby in the family

Sometimes parents tend to divide their attention to their children according to the order of birth, for example, the first child may be jealous of their newborn sibling when they see their parents giving the new baby more care and attention while investing much less of it in them. When the new baby arrives in the family, older children may feel vulnerable as a result of the attention shifting from them to the new baby, which may lead to increased jealousy and negative competition.children

How to treat feelings of jealousy in children

1. Turn jealousy into ambition

Teach your children how to increase positive thoughts and reduce negative emotions. For example, if your child is sad because their best friend scored higher on a test, encourage them to study more next time. Once they do this, and score better than they did on the first test, this will show them how to take jealousy and turn it in to drive.

2. Listen and understand what is bothering them

Envy is an emotion that is rooted in almost every one of us and there is often a very significant reason for its appearance. So, when you notice \ feeling of jealousy in your child, talk to them and try to find out why they feel the way they do. Sometimes this feeling results from low self-esteem or self-confidence, which can cause the child to show jealousy toward someone else who has what they lack.

3. Tell them fables

Fables often contain within them positive messages and lessons on how to deal with things. So, if you want to help your child learn how to deal with envy try telling them fables that teach lessons on positivity, being happy for others, rejoicing in others successes and the downfalls of envy. Sometimes these stories work better than direct conversations about the subject. 

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4. Provide a personal example

Another way to teach children how to emphasize their positive feelings toward other people is to set a personal example. Parents often serve as a role model to children with them modeling their behavior after one or both parents through imitation; If you compliment others on things they do, good behavior or even their sense of humor, the child will gain insight on looking at things differently. So be more open in front of your child, compliment them often, so that they to can acquire the skills to do so with others.

5. Teach them to share

Children, like many adults, love what belongs to them and find it hard to "let go" and share with others. If someone takes something from them, some children tend to harbor resentment. If this is the case, you need teach them the importance of sharing. By teaching them to share, let go, and forgive, they can release any kind of insecurity. Sooner or later, you’ll see your child enjoying the company of a child they might have once envied.

6. Love your child

Of course, there isn’t a parent who doesn’t love their child, but this clause emphasizes how much they need to feel our love and affection at this stage of their lives. No matter what they did and how angry you are with them, parental guidance combined with love is usually the key to fixing things and bringing children back on track.
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7. Avoid comparing

Don’t compare the abilities of one child to another. The comparison makes children feel that they or others are worthless to you, so don’t compare your child's homework with that of their classmates, and even worse their siblings. This won’t motivate them to succeed, it will only create jealousy, tension and resentment.

8. Encourage cooperative behavior with positive reinforcement

Every child likes to receive positive reinforcement from their parents and family, and this is a tool that can help them develop self-esteem and strengthen their self-confidence. You need to know how to find and nurture your child’s most obvious skill and cultivate it. This is one of the most effective and simple ways to get rid of jealousy among children. Compliment them around the family on their skills and teach them how to support each other and work together by praising them when they do.
As we’re sure you’ve already come to understand, jealousy is an emotion that is inherent in each of us and we must know how to control it so that it doesn’t control us. So, the next time you see one of your children jealous of their friend's grades or their older siblings new bicycle, sit down with them and try to uncover the source of their jealousy and deal with it!
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