No matter how much you teach your child about loving herself and being grateful for what she has, you will inevitably have to deal with your child being jealous of someone or someone's belongings. It could be a new sibling, a friend's bigger room or a classmate's sparkly boots. Acknowledge your child's jealous feelings and let her know you understand, according to psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore. Don't let that jealousy fester, however. Help child cope with those feelings by coming up with positive solutions that will make her feel better about herself and not feel negative toward the other person.
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Books About Jealousy
Reading children's books with your kids about the green-eyed monster, can help them identify and understand their feelings of jealousy and learn strategies to deal with them. For kids ages 3 and older, "When I Feel Jealous," by Cornelia Maude Spelman, follows a little bear cub who describes moments when she feels jealous, such as when a friend has a toy she wants, then explains how she gets over it. Another book for that age group to check out is "The Berenstain Bear and the Green-Eyed Monster," by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The story follows Sister Bear, who is jealous of Brother Bear's new bike and the trouble that causes.
Strategize Against Jealousy
Help your child come up with positive solutions to deal with jealousy. If she is jealous of a friend's electronic tablet, make it clear that is not in your family budget, but that if she really wants it, she can work for it by doing extra chores and saving her allowance. If your child is envious of a soccer teammate who scores a lot of goals, encourage her to focus on her strengths such as passing the ball or offer to take her to the field after school for extra goal practice. If she is jealous of another girl's blond, wavy hair, emphasize self-acceptance and that everyone is made different. Help her feel good about her own hair by doing something extra special to it, such as curling it.
Journaling Jealous Feelings
Sometimes writing down negative feelings can help get it out without taking out those feelings out on other people. Encourage an older child to keep a journal for when she is feeling jealous about something and why. Sometimes, writing it out can also make her see that how silly it seems and that no reason exists to be jealous. After writing it down, encourage her to write down ways to get over that jealousy. That jealous feeling can turn into a positive motivator to do better in a certain class if a classmate is always getting the best scores, or an idea to help mom out with the new baby as a way to spend time together if she's feeling jealous of a new sibling.
Role-play Against Jealously
Help your child learn how to avoid showing feelings of jealousy and to continue to be kind, even if she feels bad. You and your spouse can act out funny skits, then have your child join in. For example, you could pretend to show off a new jacket to your spouse, who's wearing an old one. Your spouse would then show the wrong way to act, such as whining, being mean to the person, or trying to ruin it. Encourage your child to call out the right way to respond, such as complimenting the person's jacket, then walking away and talking to an adult about how they feel, or have her jump into the scene and re-doing it.