Jealousy in Kids Can Be A Problem
One of the basic problem in families is jealousy in kids – often between siblings. Children are aware of a heirarchy in families, often from a very young age.
In a perfect world brothers and sisters would never fight, pull each other’s hair or break each other’s toys. Sadly we don’t live in the cozy, trouble free world of Sylvanian Families.
Let’s face it even Frozen’s soul sisters Anna and Elsa had problems communicating. This lead not only to a breakdown in their relationship and Elsa creating an ice palace out of thin air. Oh yes and almost killing her younger sister with an ice bolt!
Jealousy in kids can be a real problem – not only for what their siblings have but also the time spent with parents. They can also be jealous of strengths they see in siblings or others, and this can occur at a very young age.
Here we give you some tips to deal with any jealousy in kids.
Age Matters When Dealing With Jealousy in Kids
Believe it or not, competition can be at it’s worst if both kids are under four. This is simply because they both want Mommy or Daddy’s attention.
If one appears to get more than the other, especially when close in age, they can feel left out, upset or even angry.
At this age children rely heavily on their parents for love, support, and guidance. As well as helping them to get dressed, brushing their teeth properly or washing their hands after using the toilet.
Children are incredibly intuitive creatures and if your attention’s focused elsewhere they’ll act up to be noticed. Younger children are used to being the centre of attention and when parents spend time with other siblings it can create jealousy in kids.
Be aware that some of the most complex sibling rivalries occur between twins or other multiple births. Each has to struggle to develop their own individual identity within the group.
Multiples are constantly being compared, often by well-meaning somewhat clueless friends or relatives.
To avoid any falling out where 2 or more siblings share a birthday make each one special. Find the strengths in each individual child and create activities where they can shine.
Spend quality time with each child individually and this way siblings will learn to share special time with each parent.
Oldest Vs Youngest
It can be difficult for the youngest and the oldest child at the same time but for completely different reasons.
Often the younger sibling tends to be babied or indulged more by the family. This scenario can lead to jealousy in kids as they try to assert their independence.
An older sibling can often feel an unwanted sense of duty and responsibility. They’re usually get cast as the ‘supervisor’ when playing with their younger brother or sister.
Don’t forget as young children grow they often develop a host of new talents. Some of these might surpass that of the older child and lead to jealousy in kids and a sense of resentment.
You’ll often find yourself doing Mediation for your children. Be careful not to take sides as you could alienate one child. With jealousy in kids this may imply to the other you more readily believe them and lead to further issues.
Naturally, children get jealous. Especially younger kids who are desperate to enjoy the freedoms and privileges that their big sibling has.
This may include staying up later, being able to choose what to have for dinner and not having to ask for their parents permission as much.
If All Else Fails With Jealousy in Kids
Tell your children you won’t stand for physical violence and that they need to resolve their arguments peacefully.
Explain that jealousy in kids is a natural thing and try to teach them to focus on their strengths. Teach them that it is natural for everybody to be good at some things but nobody is great at everything.
Have a naughty step or chair that can be used when arguments get out of control. With this method you only let the child off when they’ve apologized to you and their sibling.
Make sure that you give older kids their space. It is not fair if they’re always with the little ones. Treat them more like a mini adult than a stroppy child and they’re far less likely to try and wind everyone else up!
It is quite normal to see jealousy in kids, especially within families and between siblings.
Whether this be about the talents of siblings or perceived time spent with either or both parents.
We hope our above tips have given you some great ideas to combat jealousy in kids.
Joanne loves loves loves the science behind child development and the way in which children learn and grow. She spends a lot of her time studying child development and learning styles to help influence teachers ways of teaching different children. She hopes to one day have a big impact in this space and we are so lucky to have her as part of our writing team. Joanne is mum to 3 young adults and loves being a big part in their life.