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Sibling jealousy is one of the most common problems that cause fear and anxiety amongst parents. Parents tend to feel it’s the end of the world and worry that their children will grow up hating each other. Sometimes, it is essential to show how upsetting it is when you spot your children getting jealous to help them understand how unacceptable it is. In this article, Rahet Bally’s certified positive psychology and parenting coach, Rana Hany, gives us her two cents on the matter.
The truth about jealousy
While many people think that siblings love each other unconditionally, unfortunately, jealousy can lead to major problems if left without being treated healthily. It can affect their love for one another as well as their relationship in the future.
Jealousy is an emotion that should be dealt with like any other emotion and needs to be released or dealt with in a positive way to prevent it from causing damage.
Where does jealousy come from?
It is important to understand that in many cases, the parents are the reason in building jealousy due to their actions or attention towards a specific child.
How to deal with jealousy amongst siblings
What should parents do to prevent jealousy between siblings? And how should they react when children are jealous? According to Hany, here are a few things parents should keep in mind when it comes to sibling jealousy:
- A true attribute healthy habit to teach your children is self-discipline. When your child learns how to deal with their emotions and release it positively, it prevents them from causing damage or problems in their future.
The question is, how can this be done? The first way to help your child is by helping them identify the jealousy emotion and understanding it. For example, if your child comes and tells you that they hate their sister, or that they wish they were an only child or anything of the sort, instead of punishing them, it is important not to dismiss their feelings without helping them understand the truth about their emotions.
Instead, as a parent, you can help your child understand that these emotions are as a result of jealousy or tell them that they’re only upset because their siblings took his toys or did something to upset them. Try to help them understand that the feeling is as a result of an act and not an emotion towards their siblings. You can also ask them to try and think about what they should do to get rid of the feeling that’s upsetting them.
- It’s very important to avoid any form of comparison between your child. Always make your children feel that you’re proud of what they have accomplished regardless of what their siblings have achieved.
- Sometimes, you might find yourself having a soft spot for your son or daughter or sometimes even feel that one child is easier or less troublesome than the other. Try to avoid showing these emotions as this can easily be picked up by children and is a reason they feel jealous of their siblings.
- Give your children the attention they need each in their own way. You don’t have to treat all your children alike just to be fair, but it is important to understand what your children actually need and how they need your love and attention.
- It’s normal for children to fight and while you might feel the need to get involved, you don’t always have to be the judge. This is because it is normal to let your emotions interfere and ask the eldest to cut the youngest some slack just because of their age or gender, making them feel favouritism and injustice which could lead to jealousy.
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