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Jealousy and Envy in Kids | How to handle children’s Envy

Jealousy and Envy in Kids

Jealousy is a rather complex emotion, which, depending on the social context, can manifest itself in a variety of different ways and impact social dynamics between family members, and friends. Jealousy occurs in the context of a “social triangle” embedded within a larger social and cultural context, and is influenced by both interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Usually the social triangle is comprised of the rival, the beloved, and the jealous person. Everybody experiences it because of imagined or real fears. The constant fear of failure triggers jealousy against perceived rivals in a competitive world. The feeling could arise from his siblings, friends or classmates. A simple thing like a new bicycle for his friend could trigger envy in your child.

Reasons for Jealousy

When a new child comes into the family or when he comes across a friend who is more powerful than him, makes him feel insecure. He sees the newborn or the friend as the reason for that. Jealousy increases one’s sense of insecurity and reduces feelings of self-worth, leading to dejection and depression. Children can experience and act out feelings of jealousy that can often be painful for them and other family members. Children experience jealousy for a number of reasons, involving everything from a new baby to material things, attention from parents because of some good behavior or good grades that his/her sibling receives. In the case of a new baby, the child that was once the baby of the family now feels replaced, ignored or unloved and feels jealous toward the new baby, who is receiving all the attention.

A child feeling jealous of her brother
A child feeling jealous of her brother

Jealousy in children manifests itself into a range of bad behaviors. Children experiencing sibling rivalry may become aggressive and handle a new baby roughly, both of which are normal behaviors in younger children. Other children may act “naughty,” doing things they know will make you angry on purpose to get your attention. Some children may become overly affectionate toward the object of their jealousy, making everything about the new baby, for example. Overt affection as such, is just another coping mechanism for the emotions the child is feeling. Lastly, a child may turn inward to deal with his jealousy, becoming detached.

The exemplary causes that induce jealousy in children are the following.

  • Too much of pampering
  • Comparing children with each other

Let’s see how they affect.

Too much of Pampering

When a child is pampered too much, the child could feel unconquered at home. This develops a kind of wayward nature in them. Children will eventually try to order that everything needs to be done in their favor and will come into a state that they cannot handle rejection anymore. Facing rejection makes them feel to be a failure. Any situation or words that contradict their wishes will be seen as an obstacle and the person, who could be responsible for them, will be understood as a rival. Such instances induce jealousy when someone praises or supports the other person who contradicts their wishes or thoughts. Instead of understanding the differences and respecting other opinions, they always try to be show their monarchy and pride. In their point of view, their words are final and shall be obeyed by one and all, in spite of being completely irrational and nonsensical.
On the contrary, if you are a single parent it would be tough for you to handle your kid, who misses your spouse. It is a better idea to seek an expert help in such issues. Also, without knowing the essence of brotherhood and friendship, children at a very young age are getting affected by severe emotions these days. With the growing attitude, they tend to develop the expectations of special treatment wherever they go. If such issues become tough to handle, seeking an expert’s help would always be beneficial.


Comparisons can only lead to jealousy, rivalry and lack of self-confidence. If a child is continuously being compared with someone in the neighborhood or some other friend like Sharmaji’s daughter or Chatterji’s son, such a comparison draws an imaginary target line which seems to be a mirage for the child compared. This line would never be met by them because if this is met, there lies another comparison in terms of something else.
For example, many parents are like, “It’s okay that are bettering in your grades but how about the etiquettes? Did you see how Sheela aunty’s son kept his room so clean and greeted us so softly?” But when their kids really do the same, these are the same parents who would say, “Don’t you have any work to sit here and listen to elder’s talks? Just go and mind your business”. This will give them a feeling that they can never satisfy their parents and can never be close to them. This completely drains their self-
confidence day-by-day. The whole reason for this aggression in their mind seems to be the existence of so and so Sharmaji’s daughter or Sheela’s son and they start envying his/her. The jealous grows up day by day and they start treating that person as a rival.

Steps to be taken

Let’s see what needs to be done to handle the Envy of the children.

Turn Envy into Ambition

If your child is sad because his friend received good grades, encourage and motivate him to study more and get better grades. Once your kid gets caught up in the attempt to study, he won’t focus on how he’s supposed to outrace someone. He will divert his focus in the right direction. Keep on encouraging him by recognizing the improvement.

Morale plays the role

Have a lot of moral messages conveyed underneath, and even if you don’t emphasize on them, your child will learn from those during the crucial stages of his development. Make bedtime reading a daily routine. Get your child more books with morals that talk about qualities like being helpful, caring and having good intentions in mind. This will help your child understand that what he’s doing is not right.

Be an Example

Another great trick to emphasize the importance of having positive feelings about everyone is by setting yourself as an example. Compliment others for their sense of humor, good behavior or any other quality that they may have. Be liberal in such compliments in front of your child.
Complimenting others, should not be restricted to children, as this would make them feel jealous again. Compliment others irrespective of age, gender etc. any differences. Discuss their positive qualities with your child. Ask them to share with you such qualities which they might have come across anyone. This makes them see the people around them as a set of qualities, which improves their ability to understand people.

A sad child
A sad child

Make them Understand

Kids tend to hold a grudge against other children for no reason. If that’s the case, teach your little one the importance of sharing and caring. This will help him remove any kind of insecurity. Insecurities and low self-esteem spring from the lack of self-appraisal. Once they share something and care for others, then a sweet gesture like a “thank you” they receive, can make them realize their self-worth. Practicing such deeds melts down the dissatisfaction with their self-image they have till then. With this, the envy melts too. Sooner or later, you’ll find your child enjoying the company of a kid he once envied.

Comparison Kills

Do not compare one child’s performance with the other, as it devalues him. It can develop long-lasting strains. These comparisons will make children conclude that “You love her more than me” or “You think he is better” kind of opinions on you. Never compare one child’s schoolwork, report cards and test scores with his siblings or friends. They will not help your child to work harder. Instead, they fuel up resentment in them.

Recognize their Efforts

Give them the moments to share, help and work together and value their efforts. They will repeat these behaviors as they realize that you want them to be so. Whatever you speak of, whatever you appreciate and give value to, whatever you pay your attention to, grabs the attention of your child and he wants to repeat the same. Every child loves to be in the good books of their parents.

Remind the Achievements

So if you find your kid jealous over his classmate’s good grades or because his big brother just got a new bike, sit with your child and remind him of the instances when he achieved something in life and was rewarded for that. Also remind him of how everyone appreciated him for his good deeds
Show him how worthy he is. Your close involvement makes a huge difference for him.

If any of the techniques you deal with doesn’t work and you feel like seeking an expert’s opinion and help on growing your child to be a better person, we are ready to help you. The techniques and psychoanalytical methods used by our experts at Wellness Hub gains the trust of our clients, whose information is always kept confidential under any circumstances. Book an appointment today.

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