Updated: Apr 19
A few years ago, when my son was 3 years old, we attended his friend's birthday party.
While the birthday boy opened his presents, my son became anxious. It appeared that he was waiting for something. At some point, he came to me crying, demanding to have one of the presents for himself. When I explained that the gifts were not for him he cried even more and felt really frustrated. He was jealous.
It was neither an easy situation for the kid nor for the parent (I was so embarrassed), but today I look back and smile. After all, we all get jealous from time to time.
There are times, however, when we feel that jealousy runs in our family. The thought of our kids being jealous of each other may threaten us and we try many methods in order to prevent it: We may buy presents for all our kids even though only one of them is celebrating his birthday,
We may not tell all of our kids that we just spent a fun afternoon with their sibling. We don't want them to be jealous
We try to distance the jealousy as it threatens the good relationship we hope for.
But you can’t eliminate jealousy. I’m not sure you even should.
In some cases, jealousy may have a positive effect: it can drive us to higher achievements, help determine what we want for ourselves and push us to stand up for ourselves.
As parents, we focus on the jealousy itself. we fight it, resent it and complain about it: “Why is he jealous all the time?” “We give her almost everything, but it never seems to be enough”
We do so much for our kids but we are missing the point:
Jealousy may grow out of low self-esteem.
It's like it ambushes the questions inside our head: Am I good enough? Am I successful enough? Am I loved enough?
Jealousy has patience. It waits until we feel bad about ourselves and then takes action. There are so many opportunities! Because when we are not sure about ourselves and our abilities we secretly hope to be another person.
Being jealous of someone is like wanting a part of his or her life to ourselves.
When I say to my child “why can’t you be like…?” I secretly wish my kid was someone else. And in that specific moment, even if it’s just a brief one, my child believes that I am not happy with who he is. Then he is not happy as well. How can he be confident about himself when I’m not?
it’s an Infinite cycle. The less happy we are with what we have and who we are, the more jealous we become.
In order to try and reduce the jealousy in our home, we need to strengthen our kids and their self-esteem. We can empower our kids by helping them notice their strong and positive traits we can even make a list and make a point of focusing on what we found. The higher their confidence will be, the less they will wish to be someone else.
And yes. The same holds true for us.