How to Help Children Understand Jealousy: 8 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Jealousy may first be aroused by a new addition to the family.

Most kids meet the green-eyed monster well before they are able to fully understand or even identify what they're feeling. Whether jealousy springs to life because of a new baby in the family or a playmate who monopolizes her favorite toy, your little one will find herself engulfed in an unpleasant wave of emotion and might lash out as a result. Help her figure out what jealousy is all about, and she can start to process those bad feelings and find new ways to cope.


  1. 1
    Teach your child the vocabulary she needs to express her feelings. For example, if you catch her pinching the baby, help her put her emotions into words. Say, "I know you're feeling mad. You wanted Mommy to play with you, but she was busy feeding the baby. You want Mommy to spend more time with you. You're feeling jealous of your new baby brother."
  2. 2
    Let your little one know that you understand how she is feeling and why, but at the same time, tell her that acting on those feelings is not acceptable. Say, "I know you are feeling jealous of the baby, but it's not OK for you to hurt him."
  3. 3
    Share with your child that you've felt jealous too. Give her an example she can understand. A child of 3 or 4 will be able to relate to a story about when you were little and got jealous when your younger sibling was born, or your best friend found someone new to play with.
  4. 4
    Find a storybook that deals with sibling rivalry and read it to her. Stop reading in the middle of the story and ask her questions like, "Why was Penny feeling jealous?" Get her to relate to the character in the story by asking, "What things make you feel jealous?"
  5. 5
    Explain the difference between envy, which is wanting something someone else has, and jealousy, which includes a feeling of competition as well as anger and resentment aimed toward another person.
  6. 6
    Tell your child that jealous feelings come from believing something isn't fair. Explain how sometimes things look unfair even when they're not. Give examples such as when his sister is getting lots of presents for her birthday and he feels overlooked. Remind him about the gifts he received on his last birthday and how he can look forward to having his turn when his next birthday comes round again.
  7. 7
    Warn your child that jealousy usually make people feel like doing something mean or "getting even" with the person they think they are competing with, but this just leads to more trouble.
  8. 8
    Suggest to your child that when she is feeling jealous, she should try to change the bad feelings into a good action instead of a bad one, such as helping mom with the baby. Let her know this will make her feel much better than doing something bad and getting punished for it.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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