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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.