Parenting Child Psychology and Behaviour

Jealousy in Children - How to help our children cope with it

Shikha Batra
7 to 11 years

Created by Shikha Batra
Updated on Aug 12, 2020

Jealousy in Children How to help our children cope with it
Reviewed by Expert panel

How could she get full marks when I could get just an 8 on 10, "murmured Anika to herself.


Why is she popular with everyone and I hardly have any friends, "exclaimed Anika while talking to her mother.


How on Earth, the coach selected him as the captain of the team and not = "vertical-align: inherit;"> It has been an unfair selection, "Prashant complained to his teacher.


"Why do Mom and Dad always love her so much as if I was an adopted child?" grumbled Mohan. 


All these above mentioned are some of the emotions faced by children and can be classified as examples of jealousy. 


As a mother of two children, I was always interested in understanding what causes jealousy in children and what could be the parent's role in keeping jealousy at bay. This could be jealousy with classmates or between siblings and even if my children experience it what can I do to help them cope with it?


As I got really intrigued by this complex strong emotion, I decided to do thorough research on it and that's when I learnt jealousy or being envious is a universal human experience emotion which strikes people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations though in different forms . Whether it's being envious of another child's talents, success, possessions or physical appearance, jealousy amongst siblings or for that matter in human relationships is considered a universal trait. It can consist of one or more emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness or disgust. 


I distinctly remember my elder child, being jealous of the attention my second born was getting as a newborn baby. I also clearly remember how I struggled to cope with this strong emotion in my younger child for days when she lost in a race to her friend in playschool. As I further dwelled on it, my curiosity to explore and further understand this emotion got the better of me. 


Q- What could be the reasons for jealousy in children?


I found out it could be some of the parenting mistakes that we do unintentionally do which could cause jealousy in children. 


  1. Overpampering the child might make her consider herself to be superior to others. This, in turn, could make her feel insecure and jealous if she comes across a child who is more talented or possesses something more than what she does.

  2. Constant comparison between siblings or with a friend might lead to feelings of insecurity, poor self-confidence, rivalry and thereby jealousy in a child.

  3. Sometimes when an overprotected child is left to be on her own she might feel lost and may develop feelings of jealousy.

  4. Forcing the child into an unhealthy competition without her will over expectations from her might result in jealousy.

  5. Keeping the child continuously in an inherent and regulated environment and making them follow rules and regulations without even giving a proper explanation for the same might result in jealousy and nurture feelings of resentment in a child.


Q- What are the signs of a jealous child?


A jealous child would show signs such as being overly possessive, may throw tantrums, misbehave, exhibit aggressive behavior and might feel insecure and develop low self-esteem. Besides she might turn into a bully, or isolate herself and stay aloof. She might even yearn for parent's love and affection all the time or even exhibit a helpless attitude.


Once we realize that the child has been displaying feelings of jealousy our role as a parent to help the child deal with it becomes important.


Q- How can parents handle jealousy in children and help them cope with it?


a) The first and foremost step that parents could take is to lend a patient ear to your child and listen to her concerns, fears and worries and try and understand what might be causing jealousy in her.


b) Being a role model for them and modeling positive behavior would be an important step in this direction. Constant bickerings about trivial things might nurse jealousy in our children. So try and check yourself before making such statements. 


c) Refrain from making comparisons of your child's academic performance with her sibling or friends as doing so might generate feelings of rivalry or animosity.


d) Teach them positive behavior from a young age only such as sharing and caring as these virtues might remove the feelings of jealousy. Also, channelize negative emotions into positive by motivating them to work harder towards achieving success rather than harboring negative feelings towards others who are better than her.


e) Avoid over-praising and over pampering your child as overdoing of both may result in generating feelings of jealousy. Instead, shower occasional genuine praises for their efforts and hard work.


My quest to find out more about this strong emotion made me realize that jealousy is a natural human emotion and shielding our children from it might not have fruitful results. Our role as parents is to teach them to stop making comparisons between their weaknesses and another's strengths. Helping them deal with it in a positive manner may help them overcome jealousy.


Please share your valuable comments and share this with other parents. 


Frequently Asked Questions
What causes jealousy in children?
There are many reasons. Constant competition by parents, over protection and regulating their life too much are some of the reasons that can cause jealousy.
What can parents do to help?
Parents have a crucial role to play. Maintaining a positive environment, encouraging healthy competition and not being too harsh or too protective can help.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| May 30, 2020

Thanks Shikha for this article... It will be going to help all the parents.. You have clearly explained how to deal with the situation.

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| May 31, 2020

Many thanks Ekta Malik for your valuable feedback ! I am glad your find this blog useful !

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