Jealousy in Children – Causes and Tips to Deal with It

Medically Reviewed By
Harsha G Ramaiya (Counsellor)
View more Counsellor Our Panel of Experts

Children are usually very explicit when it comes to expressing themselves. They may not hesitate to express love, hate, sadness, jealousy, or other such emotions. As far as jealousy is concerned, it may affect kids in more than one ways. So, what should you do when you find out that your kid is exhibiting jealousy? Concerns about whether it will start affecting your kid’s nature adversely could also start popping up. Well, the following article can help you to know more about jealousy in children and how to effectively deal with it.

What Are the Causes of Jealousy in Kids?

If you are wondering what may be the cause of jealousy in your child, then the following points may help you understand it better:

1. Excessive Pampering

All parents love to pamper and spoil their kids once in a while. However, if you pamper your child excessively, it may generate the feelings of being superior to others. Therefore, whenever your kid comes across someone better than him or someone in possession of something better than what your kid may possess, he may feel jealous and insecure.

2. Comparison

It is very natural for parents to compare one child with another or with other children. However, it is okay until the time you do not make a hoopla out of the situation, i.e. you do not let your kid know about it. But if you are explicit about your feelings of comparison and you keep comparing your child with a sibling or a friend, it may not only generate the feeling of rivalry, low self-confidence, but it may cause jealousy, too.

3. More Concerned and Protective Parents

Parents are protective and concerned for the well-being of their children. However, sometimes parents might overdo it, and when they let go of their child, the child could feel lost and develop the feelings of jealousy from the children who are more confident than him.

4. Unhealthy Competition

Healthy competition is important for every child, but creating competition where it may not be necessary may have a negative impact on a child’s personality and may result in jealousy. This may happen when you may compare and expect a child to do what he may not be capable of doing. For example, if one child dances too well and you expect your child to do the same when but he does not want to dance or doesn’t like dancing.

5. Over Controlling Or Authoritarian Parenting

When parents are too strict or too controlling and expect their kids to follow their rules and regulations without even explaining the reasons, there is a high chance they will end up nurturing the feelings of resentment and jealousy in their kids. Their children may feel lesser than their friends or peers by constantly being in a regulated and contained environment.

6. Skills or Academic Jealousy

All kids are not the same; where some may excel in sports, others may be good in academics. And, it is very common for children to feel jealous of children who are doing exceptionally well in academics or co-curricular activities.

7. Sibling Jealousy

It is often seen that the older child is jealous of a younger sibling. This may happen when the parents shift their focus from their elder child to the newborn child. The elder child may find it difficult to deal with the situation and may develop the feeling of jealousy towards his own sibling.

What Are the Causes of Jealousy in Kids?

What Are the Signs of a Jealous Child?

We have learnt in the above section, the causes of jealousy in children, but it is also important for you as a parent to register the signs of jealousy. Here are some signs of jealous child behaviour:

1. Your Child May Become Overly Possessive

If your kid feels jealous, he may become overly possessive about everything. This attitude may not only be restricted to the materialistic things, but he may become possessive about his parents, siblings and friends, too. He may not want to share anything, and this attitude might also cause depression.

2. Your Child May Compare

A jealous kid may compare his skills, belongings and other things with other children. In case he lacks or does not have something, he may exhibit his displeasure and throw tantrums, too.

3. Your Child May Trigger Your Anger

If your kid is jealous of his sibling, he may try his best to gain your attention. The best way to gain a parent’s attention is by misbehaving. Your kid may do all sort of stuff that may make you angry, and all these efforts are only to shift from your attention towards him.

4. Your Child May Exhibit Aggressive Behaviour

A jealous child may show rowdy and aggressive behaviour. He may not only misbehave with his siblings or friends, but he may bully them, too. In some cases, you may even find your kid trying to harm a sibling or a friend.

5. Your Child May Feel Insecure

Your kid may feel insecure because of jealousy. This attitude becomes more pronounced due to the arrival of a new baby or sibling in your kid’s life. Your child could appear all needy and clingy and may want your love and affection all the time.

Consequences of Jealousy Kids Might Face

Jealousy is a negative emotion, and thus, it may have a negative impact on your child’s personality. Here are some consequences that your kid may face because of jealousy:

  • Your kid may become aggressive
  • Your kid may turn into a bully
  • You kid may isolate himself and stay aloof
  • Your kid may exhibit a helpless attitude
  • Your child may develop low self-esteem

Consequences of Jealousy Kids Might Face

How to Deal With Jealousy in Children

Jealousy should be dealt with in a proper manner so that it does not affect your child adversely. Here are some ways that could help you deal with child jealousy issues:

1. Listen to Your Child

Jealousy is not superficial; rather, it is deep-rooted. Talk to your child and listen to his concerns and reasons that may be causing such behaviour. Listening to your child’s fears, worries and concerns may help him overcome his feelings of jealousy.

2. Channelise Negative Emotions Into Positive

Giving a positive direction to your kid’s negative thoughts may help him deal with jealousy. If his sibling or friend is better than him in studies, you should encourage your child to study hard and get better grades himself rather than having ill-feelings towards others who are doing better than him.

3. Be Passionate Towards Your Child

Your child may be exhibiting negative and rowdy behaviour, but you have to be caring and passionate towards your child. Do not scold or punish your child. It is important to understand that your child is dealing with a difficult emotional situation and needs your compassion to help deal with it.

4. Explain the Importance of Sharing

It is very important for every child to learn the importance of caring and sharing. When a child learns to share his belongings with other children, it not only helps him make friends, it could also help remove the feelings of jealousy.

5. Refrain From Comparison

Comparison creates negative emotional and devalues a person. Therefore, do not compare your kid with other kids, including your other children and his friends. Every child is unique and has different talents. Find out what your child is good at and help him develop and master his skills rather than comparing him with others.

6. Do Not Over-Praise Your Kid

As parents, you adore and love your kid, and you may shower him with occasional praises for his efforts and hard work. However, refrain from overdoing it. You may find yourself over-praising your child in situations when other children may have excelled, and your words may come as a reassurance to your kid. Therefore, refrain from doing this.

7. Refrain From Comparing Academic Performance

It is advised that you refrain from comparing your child’s performance at school with his siblings or friends. Doing so would generate a feeling of animosity and jealousy. If your kid does not get good grades, you may encourage him to study hard, instead of comparing with others.

8. Instil Positive Behaviour

Try as much as possible to stay away from things that may generate any kind of jealousy in your child. It is advised that you introduce and teach your child about feelings of love, sharing and caring from a young age. Also, teaching children about jealousy may help them deal with this emotion in a better way.

Jealousy is very common in children. However, if it is dealt with in a positive manner, your child may overcome it. In case you face difficulty in dealing with your child’s jealousy, taking help from a counsellor or a professional in the field may help.

Also Read: 

Birth Order Effects Behaviour & Personality of Child
Middle Child Syndrome

Previous article «
Next article »