“Mommy, do you love me more than my sister?”- talking about jealousy

Tell me mommy,who do you love?
Tell me mommy,who do you love the most?

How many times have you faced the tricky question from your little one? Why do you believe that child needs to know which one your children is more preferred? And what is the better answer? I don’t say  the best, because there is always something better than the last good.

The most important reason for the jealousy of the children is , in my opinion, the fear of losing the love of their parents. Especially when a child is the first born and has all the benefits of the only child, and it suddenly comes face to face with a new member, all sort of questions and problems begin. “Why is this child with us?” , “will you not love me now?”

The child  expects equality and not the same exact behavior. We are equal, but we’re not same. The child wants to feel unique; he knows that he is different, and wants exclusivity. These expectations may lead to different behaviors, if the child doesn’t get what he wants. Some children become aggresive, some other become introverted and shy. It’s up to us to respond to each behavior with a different approach and adapt to the case.

Another good approach is to focus on the actions and behaviors and not on the emotions. We can praise his good actions and make an example of them, and discourage “bad ” actions (like hitting the other child or talking “bad words), without using LABELS (check my previous post) which would make things worse. Telling him that he is a jealous guy, could possibly lead him to fulfill his profecy and not fight back his jealous tendecies.

We should also make sure that he understands that our love is infinite and enough for all the children and that every one has his own place in our heart.

Comparison may be used for the child as far as he is for himself  (eg. in the past) and not with the other siblings. For example, you may say “Your grades are better than the grades you had last semester” rather than “look at your brother’s grades!”

And last, but not least, give the child the time and space to work things out for himself. Give him the rationale to decide what’s really bugging him and interfere if you are asked to.

What do you think? What are usually  your children  jealous about?How do you handle jealousy? I want to hear your stories!


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