When Elise got a perfect score on her science exam, a couple of children in the classroom started spreading rumors about how Elise had cheated to get such high marks. When the teasing and taunting got to be too much, Elise cried and complained, “My dad has been helping me study every night for the past two weeks. I swear I didn’t cheat Miss.”
After digging to the bottom of the situation, I realized that Elise hadn’t cheated and the other children had lied. As a teacher, it wasn’t the first time I was seeing kids engaging in damaging behaviour because of jealousy.
Why do kids get jealous?
Jealousy is a very natural emotion that occurs when one feels insecure about themselves or thinks that they lack something others may have.
Nowadays, kids receive constant messages from TV shows, websites and social media that somehow they are not smart, good-looking, thin or popular enough. The constant need to compete with others really takes a toll on children and sometimes makes them act out in not-so-nice ways.
How can you help your kids deal with it?
Pushing the feeling aside is really not a good way of dealing with it. After all, we can all feel jealous at times. It could sometimes even be a motivating factor for us to try to be and do better.
So, rather than teaching our children to dismiss their feelings of jealousy, we can teach them how to recognize the feeling and cope with it more constructively.
Here are 5 ways you can do just that:
- Let them know it’s natural.
The best way to teach our children how to manage their emotions is by letting them feel those big feelings. Let them know that feeling jealous is a very natural response and that you have also felt jealous on many occasions when you felt someone was better than you or had more than you. It would be a good starting point to discuss what is not okay to do if you feel jealous such as spreading rumors, lying or making others dislike someone because you are jealous of them.
- Help build their self-esteem
A child who is insecure about their abilities or their appearance will more likely feel jealous and may show damaging behaviour towards others.
Remember that all kids are not great at academics or at sports so it’s good to remind them of what a great person they are and how much you value them. Speak to them frequently about their strengths to build up their self-esteem and confidence.
- Keep tabs on their social media exposure
If your child is showing signs of jealousy then perhaps it’s a good time to limit their social media exposure and keep an eye on what they are watching or who they are interacting with. There is a chance that all the social media influencers or their online friends are actually making them feel miserable inside.
- Watch your own behaviour
Do you ever badmouth someone who you feel jealous of in front of your children? “Oh, she definitely got plastic surgery to look like that.” “He must’ve done some fraud at work to have so much money.” When you blurt out negative things about others out of jealousy, your children are sure to pick up on that and imitate you. Practice being positive and try elevating others. When your children see you appreciating others’ achievements, instead of feeling jealous, they will also do the same.
- Stop comparing
“Your brother got an A.”, “The neighbor’s children are so well-behaved.” “So and so did this.”
These words to compare them to others can downright be hurtful to your kids so stop using them. No two children are alike so it’s important to remind your child that they are special and unique in their own way.
What You Can Do Next?
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You will get some great information but also if there is a fit you will be offered a spot in our Masterclass 6 Month Program.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what to do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognized in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.
As a child, she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult, this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
This is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.