It’s quite common for kids to feel jealous of their siblings. It’s an absolutely normal reaction to have, and it should not be disregarded. Your kids might love each other, but there will be points in their lives when they are jealous of each other. It could be quite harmless, but it could be destructive too. Because jealousy is a complex and powerful emotion. It could lead to unhealthy competition, envy, and even hatred. Therefore, it’s essential to address it, so your kids understand how to navigate through it. Here are seven ways in which you can help your child overcome their jealousy towards a sibling:
1. Accept The Emotions
Jealousy is a very real emotion, and your children feeling it is not strange. When you notice your kid is jealous of their sibling, accept the emotion and tell them that what they’re feeling is valid. They should understand that it’s absolutely normal to feel negative emotions. Teach them to cope with those feelings so that they can learn to deal with them in a healthy way.
2. Spend Quality Time
Most of the time, children feel jealous of their siblings because their attention gets divided unequally. To ensure this doesn’t happen, keep a tab on how much time you spend with each child and make sure that it’s balanced. What’s also important is how to spend that exclusive time with them — it works best if it’s quality time!
3. Say No To Comparison
One of the worst things you can do to your children is to compare them. Every child is different, and you have to learn to appreciate them for who they are. Even children from the same parents can show a big difference in their skillsets, interests, and other abilities. Comparing one’s lack of skill in something to the other who might have expertise will only give rise to unnecessary jealousy and resentment. If you start to compare your kids, they might become overly competitive and start feeling like they’re being pitted against each other. Instead, teach your kids to embrace their own passions and master them with practice and dedication. That way each of your kids will be choosing the vocation of their choice and not something that the parents expect them to.
4. Distract Them With Something Fun
Everyone loves a good laugh! When your child is acting out because of jealousy, try to switch up the topic and make them laugh. Feelings of resentment can linger even after a quarrel or conflict is over. Such lingering sadness can ruin their mood for even days and weeks. A little fun that distracts them from this and instead makes them happy is definitely worth a try. This technique can indeed be tricky because it could make the child feel that you’re making fun of them if you do not handle the situation delicately.
5. No Place For Gender Bias
If you expect your daughter to set the table while your son watches television, it’s time to take a good hard look at yourself and your values. Do not expose your kids to gender biases. Teach them about equality, respect, consent, and kindness from a young age. They should know that these values are important irrespective of any gender.
The world is finally realizing the harms of gender disparity and people around the world putting in the efforts to root out this problem. But it has to start from our homes. Tags like “feminine-work” or “male-work” will only result in you raising kids who excel in some areas while totally lacking in others. And the fault won’t really be theirs as they got to explore the other activities deemed appropriate for the opposite gender. So make sure both males and females get to learn the essentials without any sort of gender connotations.
6. Divide Responsibilities Equally
Children can sense even the tiniest bit of what they might perceive as unfairness. When one of the siblings gets allotted more work compared to the other, it can affect the demeanor of the other. This can result in long-term resentment and emotional issues for your kids.
Your child is bound to feel angry and annoyed if they are assigned more responsibilities than their sibling. Therefore, as parents, divide their responsibilities, duties, and household chores equally. Ensure that you’re fair while doing so and do not play favorites.
7. Don’t Play The Blame Game
Blaming one child to protect another child is bad parenting. It’s vital that you don’t make one child feel guilty in the eyes of the other. Instead, encourage both of them. For example, rather than telling your older child not to play while the baby’s asleep, you could come up with an activity like drawing, painting, or reading for your older kid while your younger one takes a nap. Therefore, both your children can get through the day and not be blamed on account of each other.
8. Don’t Interrupt Every Little Conflict
As parents, your would want your kids to get along with each other and not indulge in conflicts. But expectations will definitely vary from reality. Conflict and quarrel among siblings is universal thing. And many times it’s not as bad as many might think it to be. Through conflict, siblings learn about asserting their will and how to stand for themselves. They also learn about each other’s temperament, strengths, and weaknesses through conflict. Of course, when it goes really out of control parents should definitely step in. But when it’s minor, better to let them sort it among themselves. They will quarrel today and still be back to being the best of friends in a matter of time.
Any relationship takes time to build and become strong. A sibling relationship is precisely the same. It’s up to the parents to instill values like sharing, caring, kindness, and loyalty. If your kids are having a tough time getting along, you could teach them that it’s great to have siblings by showing them kid-friendly movies, cartoons, and shows that feature strong sibling bonds. Have your children been jealous of their siblings? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!