I am sure we have all experienced, at one time or another, the feeling of jealousy that rages at times between siblings, either our own, or our children’s. [Sibling rivalry]
If it is between your children, for instance, I am sure you must have tried to talk him out of it, but failed to convince him that he had nothing to fear from this new addition to the family.
You must understand one thing, however, even if you did not understand it when you were a child and raged in jealousy against your brother or sister: this all too normal feeling arises because of the love he feels for you, and because he does not want the connection between you to be broken by this new arrival.
How do you handle this jealousy, so that it remains firmly under control, and so that it does not cause inadvertent harm to those involved?
Here are a few tips for you:
- Try to put yourself into your child’s shoes. How would you feel if your partner brought home a new person without even informing you about it, and then, expected you to love that person, and the person wouldn’t even leave? Quite naturally, you would experience feelings of anger and irritation, and these would give rise to jealousy. If you see things from your child’s viewpoint, you will be able to understand things better.
- Make sure that you never ever take sides, even though this may be your natural instinct. You were not there when it ‘started’; therefore you are in no position to judge matters. Try to be fair, so that each child gets the same attention from you, and so that one does not feel that the other is getting too much attention and that you are unfair.
- In the same way, make sure you never praise one child more than the other. If one child has achieved something and you praise him, make sure you do the same thing to your other child when he achieves something.
- Make sure that when you allocate chores around the house, you divide them equally and also that you change the chores every so often. This way, one child will not feel that he has to do all the dirty work while the other gets the easy ones.
- You set the example of sorting out things without loud arguments or quarrels. Children learn by example, and when they see their parents sorting out things amicably, they will also try to do the same thing. This will minimize jealousy.