8 Ways to Help a Child Overcome Their Jealousy of a Sibling
Sibling jealousy may cause aggressive and violent behavior among siblings, studies say. Although sibling jealousy is quite a widespread occurrence and many children go through this period, there are methods of preventing your kids from feeling jealous.
We at Bright Side collected practical tips you can use to prevent jealousy among your children and we want to share them with our readers.
1. Accept the child’s emotions
Psychologists say that it is vital to acknowledge children’s emotions. You, as a parent, need to accept that your child may be angry, or jealous, or sad. You have to admit it and explain to your children that it is normal to feel negative emotions and teach them how to cope with the negativity.
2. Spend time with them individually
Analyze the amount of time you spend with your children together and separately. Then, you will be able to see when exactly the siblings become overwhelmed with one another and when they feel they lack your attention. When you notice that one of your children feels that they are not getting enough of your attention, psychologists suggest setting a date just for the 2 of you. Pick a date beforehand, so the child can look forward to the date.
3. Don’t compare them
Never compare siblings with each other. Comparing one child to another may make them feel like you love one of them over the other. It will not simply make them jealous, but it can also undermine their self-esteem and trigger anxiety. Show your children that you appreciate their individuality and love them equally.
4. Make your child laugh
Laughter, in general, has numerous health benefits for humans. Among many other things, laughter can reduce one’s level of anxiety. Psychologists suggest using this tool to deal with sibling jealousy. When one of your children is feeling jealous, switch his/her attention by making them laugh. It will make them less anxious and replace jealousy with amusement.
5. Get rid of any gender bias
Parents often treat children differently based on their gender. Girls are expected to be soft, shy, and pretty, and boys are expected to be strong and not express their feelings. But if you don’t let your son play with the same toy as your daughter because the toy is “for girls,” the boy may start to become jealous. The best solution is to let your kids have an experience despite their gender. It will make them not feel jealous of one another because each one will have equal options.
6. Divide responsibilities equally
If the children fight with one another, it can’t be the case that only one is guilty in the conflict. Besides, the roles of “victim” and “bully” often switch among siblings. So, specialists suggest that parents get to the core of the conflict and make both sides face responsibilities for their actions.
7. Don’t blame your child
Experienced educators suggest that it is important not to make your kids guilty in the eyes of each other. Try not to limit one child for the sake of the other and choose your words carefully. For instance, don’t say that your toddler can’t play because the baby is asleep. Instead, come up with an activity, like painting, that will engage one child and let the other have a good nap.
8. Show them that it is great to have a sibling
You can motivate a caring relationship between them by reading books and showing cartoons about how it is great to have siblings, teachers advise. For instance, the book What Brothers Do Best by Laura Numeroff, celebrates older brothers. And the well-known Frozen shows the importance of the sister’s relationship.
Do your children get jealous? What tips do you use to prevent that jealousy that you’d like to add to this list?