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Stifling Sibling Jealousy

Parents know the drill--Susie is crying because Alyssa is prettier, or has better hair, or gets to do everything that is fun while Susie has to sit at home. Most parents chalk this up to sibling rivalry, but the truth is that some siblings can become very jealous of one another. For young children, in preschool or kindergarten, sibling jealousy is a very strong emotion that can lead to temper tantrums and other forms of bad behavior.

Celebrate the Individuality in a Child

Most cases of jealousy stem from an insecurity. Toddlers that are jealous of their siblings often act out because they feel inferior. In their minds, their siblings get to have more snacks, more fun, and more time playing because they are better, not because they are older; likewise, toddlers with infant siblings may feel like their new little brother or sister has stolen all of the attention. To quell sibling jealously parents must ensure that every child is secure and confident in their place in the family.

  • Verbalize what you love about your children. To help your kids feel confident in themselves, tell them what it is that makes them special. Toddlers may not always seem to grasp that their kindness or their intelligence are things to be proud of, but the fact that their parents love that part of them will mean something.
  • Spend quality time, both as a family and one-on-one. While the relationships that are forged between members of a family are important, so are the individual relationships that are built between parents and their kids. Time spent just with Mom and just with Dad will enhance toddlers' confidence that they hold a special place in their parents' hearts.
  • Strengthen the sibling bond. When your kids have established a good relationship they will be able to root for one another just as they root for themselves, meaning that jealously can turn to a sense of pride.

The green-eyed jealousy monster can crop up at any time when raising a family, but if every child understands how important they are, and that their special talents are noticed and appreciated by the rest of the family, they will be less likely to act out.