conscious parentingWhen Your Child Feels Jealous…

6 August 2022

If your child is old enough, he or she may be able to actually name their feeling of jealousy: “I feel jealous of … because…”  In most cases however, children will “act out” (literally!) their jealousy towards other children (for example: younger siblings or cousins) without being able to verbalize how they feel.

Typical statements we can hear from a “jealous” child are:

  • You don’t love me.
  • You don’t care about me.
  • You only love….
  • Everyone cares about… but not me.
  • I don’t care.
  • Whatever! Nobody cares about what I want anyways.

Typical behaviors we can observe in a “jealous” child are:

  • increased competitiveness with younger children in the family/at school
  • attempts to impress/constantly seeking approval
  • withdrawal (spends more time alone)
  • increased aggressiveness
  • lack of collaboration
  • lack of focus

No matter the age, the feeling of jealousy is normal in children. They need generous amounts of attention- on a daily basis- in order to feel secure, connected and trusting that we have their best interest at heart.

If jealousy becomes a challenge in your family, you can:

  • Spend 1:1 uninterrupted, undivided time with your child every day, so you can reinforce the connection; 10-15 minutes per day is a great start;
  • Play games that make your child feel special and loved (for example: I love you more! game);
  • Accept that the feeling is real and valid;
  • Have empathy for your child (also, don’t lecture or shame the child for feeling jealous);
  • Check in with yourself before reacting on auto-pilot;
  • Pay attention to your own triggers around jealousy and ask for professional help if the triggers are too strong.
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