Reducing Jealousy Between Siblings
Rashna had two beautiful daughters: 9-year-old Rhea and 7-year-old Manavi. They were both bright, intelligent and loving children. But there was one problem: Manavi was extremely jealous of Rhea. Whatever Rhea did, Manavi too wished to do, and wished to do better. If someone praised Rhea, Manavi would immediately start sulking. She competed with Rhea in everything and demanded more attention. In addition, Manavi was often extremely rude to Rhea, and the two of them were constantly bickering. Rashna was at her wit's end. Why was Manavi so jealous? Why did she want to compete with Rhea in everything? And what could Rashna do to minimize Manavi's jealousy streak?
Here are 4 sure-fire tips to manage jealousy between your children.
1. Spend enough time with the kids.
Are you spending
enough time at home? If not, then the children may feel deprived of your
company, and will demand your attention whenever you are around, and if
you inadvertently give more attention to one child, the other child is
bound to feel the pinch. However, if you spend enough time with them, it
wouldn't really matter if you spend a little extra time with a particular
child. They've each had their fill of you! If you are a working woman,
then you may find that spending enough time with your children is not always
possible. If this is the case, you could set certain rules, for example,
you could make it a point to always put the children to sleep at night.
In this manner, you at least spend an hour of quality time with them when
you lie down with them, read to them, tell them stories and nurture them.
This is a guaranteed
way to ignite fires of jealousy in your children's hearts. Not only should
you avoid comparisons between your children, but you should also avoid
comparing your kids with other kids. If Rashna tells Manavi, "Rhea got
an A when she was in the Second Standard, why have you got a C on your
report card?" or "Look at Rhea, she doesn't answer back like you do. Learn
something from your elder sister!" Manavi is sure to develop even stronger
feelings of jealousy.
3. Don't club your children together.
Rhea and Manavi,
both have their unique interests and qualities. If Manavi is not as good
at academic work, perhaps she is a better singer, dancer or sportsperson
than Rhea is. Learn to recognize and appreciate the talents of your individual
children. Don't send them both for dance classes just because it's more
convenient. If one child shows a talent for dance, another child may show
an affinity towards tennis. Let them choose the activities they want to
get involved in to make sure there's no bickering.
4. Listen to both sides of the story.
If your children
are squabbling with each other, don't form your conclusions based on what
they shout out at you. First, listen to one child, and then, listen to
the other. This shows them that you value both their opinions. Be just
and fair. Parents tend to indulge the younger child, and expect the older
child to give in to her too. "Rhea, give Manavi the toy. Come on, she's
your little sister. You're older than her, you should understand." Your
older child may be older than the younger one, but she too is just a child.
Not only are you damaging your elder child's self-esteem, but you are also
spoiling the younger child, and conditioning her to expect more from you,
just because she's younger.
It is quite
normal for one child to want to compete with the other. If there is a healthy
sense of competition, it could work for the benefit of the child, as it
pushes her to give her very best. But if taken to extremes, then jealousy
can be an extremely unhealthy emotion, and can create various psychological
problems that may carry on even later in life. Do your best to nip it in
To add your views on
this article or read other comments, click