Parenting the Envious Child

Turning Your Child’s Envious Attitude to the Positive Side

The past few days you have noticed your child has been speaking of a friend’s or a classmates achievements, new stuff and the like with an air of annoyance. One or two times, it may be a product of the child’s immaturity but more than, you should be worried that she may grow with it – the green cancer.  No worries, is it but normal to have such a crisis in a child’s life, my elder daughter has exhibited such too.

The Attitude Detection

When Angel was two or three years old I noticed that she frowned (means she never liked it) whenever I praised somebody else aside from her, even the children performing on tv shows, whew!  I knew that it may not come out from envy but maybe plain jealousy knowing her age.  I began telling her in a calm manner that she need not feel like that because she, her friend or that girl on tv can ALL BE beautiful, smart or witty at the same time – there is no need to choose or knock the other out. There is no competition at all.

And I have always said that even if it happens she will hear other people praising other children than her that it is because everybody has his own gauge of everything – beauty, talent and the likes of it.

Side Story:
I even told her the run-of-the-mill story of the child who had lost his mother and went looking for her telling everyone that his mother is fairest – the child of course has his own perception of beauty – the King has summoned the prettiest in his territory BUT still the ‘mother’ the child is looking for is not one of them. It so happened that the child’s mother bears ordinary facial features with a huge, dark and embossed birthmark on her face…

Knowing the Root Cause

Even if everybody is asked on beauty’s definition – each person will sure to yield different answers or perception on its real sense.  Physical attribute is not always the yardstick to define beauty and it is also true with other things. And it helps to let your child be aware of it so that hearing bad comments could not shatter him this is related to the main topic because envy and jealousy springs out from insecurity, feeling inferior or sometimes feeling useless.

 And most especially, every mother has her child as the ‘MOST of all’ that is ‘for me she is the prettiest, the smartest and the most talented- and all the other parents have the same opinion of their child though not verbally admitting it. This sometimes bring the child at a lost on his self-perception.

‘You are pretty  although  she is prettier BUT …’

It will not hurt to APPRECIATE others too...and teaching the value of acceptance to a child is far WORTH it than we thought. 

Try to find something good in her that is worth praising. Never flatter your child – give her compliment. It pays to be honest.

At first, when I heard my Angel talking that way and comparing herself to others – I always tell her the other child deserves it. If I think she feels insecure of herself, I just tried to figure-out what became of her to rank second or not the finest.  To show her what she needs to improve or where she had shortcomings…again not to make her feel sorry about it but to let her know in a way that the other child might have done her part to succeed over her and the game does not always belongs to her.

WARNING on Negatively Boosting Child’s Self-Confidence

It helps to boost their self-confidence but not to the point that will make them TOO PROUD of themselves and assuming that nobody can beat them – this is evident at times that a child wins in a competition etc. We must instill in them the value of acknowledging God’s help, hard work and diligence in achieving that goal. That winning is not the goal, what is important is not losing helplessly – giving all efforts to achieve the goal.

Every competition is a moment to learn from, an experience to treasure – in fact it may also be something to be proud of, representing the school – counting the number of students from where the child was chosen, is it not a thing to be happy about?! This way the child will never have a feeling that whenever he loses a medal for somebody else, it is a doom’s day for him nor he became a storyteller creating stories of ‘cheating’ if in reality there is NONE. If there is, the good thing is they never did the cheating – it is a happier thing to celebrate for BUT not to chatter about.

Why she have it and I don’t?

When it comes to material things that your child gets insecure for, or felt sad that she does not have – we can make them aware of our REAL economic status. Pretending to be something we are not, could become a chain of lies and hardship.  That if we buy this or that, we can not buy what we REALLY NEED. That those things are just WANTS. 

Let them know these things:
-They can have them later in life especially if they will study harder and finish schooling.
-They can reward themselves later when they start earning and that is the reason WHY we are sending them to school.
-But if chances are good (that we have extra money), we can also buy them those things that we can not promise to give them today.

Children can be told not to avoid those who have everything they wished for, instead remain friends with them or make what others have as inspirations to concentrate on their studies and BE the BEST of what THEY CAN BE in the future. A Dream’s only limitation is the dreamer’s actions – a coined quotation by yours truly based on experience.

Envy can be CONSTRUCTIVE, if it will make you strive to achieve more and DESTRUCTIVE if that envy will push you to pull others down- it does not only destroy the person envied but also the person himself in the long run. Doing piles of unjust deeds just to prove his worth in the wrong way is making him the worst he can be.

Teaching a child to mind his own stuff not be pessimistically bothered with others’ gains can give him contentment and SECURITY that will soon make him feel happy for others’ achievements and gains – it will come out naturally.

Have a great day everyone. Thanks for reading.
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Family, Daily Living & Style by Angelita Galiza-Madera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.