How do you help your child understand jealousy and its consequences? That could be the question of the year! All children want to be liked and accepted, and they usually want what the other child has, from toys to clothes to backpacks to cool pencils. But how do we guide our children to support others instead of feeling jealous?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Are you a jealous adult? We are our children’s first role models, and that may even take a long time to sink-in, but it is true. And yes, as they grow from grade school to middle school to high school, they will pick up many behavioral habits from friends that you will not like, jealousy could be one of them, but first and foremost, and answer honestly, are you a jealous adult? Jealousy, I believe, is a behavior, not an emotion, and since awareness is the first step to peace and balance in one’s life, push ego aside and ask, “Am I a jealous person?”
- They weren’t invited to a party. If their best friend was invited to a birthday party that your child was not invited to, but wanted to go to, and she/he is jealous that their friend is going, maybe guide her/him by suggesting, “I know you’re sad about not going to this party, but you like your friend a lot, yes? If you like them, then you want him/her to be happy, yes? Going to this party will make them happy? So how exciting for him/her! That leaves a day open for you to do something new, too, and I’m sure all will be well when you see how happy your friend will be when he/she tells you all about it, and then you can them her/him about your fantastic day!” Helping children understand that being happy for the ones we care for, even in moments of jealousy or envy, can make them appreciate the friendship even more, and at the end of the day, they will like themselves a little more, too.
- Compliment others. Do your best to genuinely compliment others in front of your child, with sincerity and kindness, for a job well done, how they handled a situation, how positive they are. Look for the traits that make a person beautiful from the inside out. These acts of kindness and respect go a long way!
- Help your child see how great they are, and share with her/him all of his/her accomplishments, and that supporting and encouraging a friend, appreciating their successes, and even their new backpacks and shoes, can mean the world to them.
Let’s work together to help children keep an open mind, see both sides of a situation, and enjoy feeling the peace and balance that doing so will give them. We’ll help them understand the importance of character, and more importantly, make them feel like the worthy little beautiful beings they are, and how that joy is going to bring happiness and success to their lives.