Everyone feels jealousy. It is an emotion we are all programmed to feel. Children have a very powerful “jealousy trigger,” especially when other children are in the home. They have to fight and compete for “everything.” Who gets to sit in the seat on the right side of the car? Who got a higher grade in school? Who did better at soccer practice? Art class? Gymnastics? Eating their vegetables? The list goes on and on. The number one trigger of jealousy….parent attention.
This is a difficult fight to break up as a parent. Each child has their unique differences; are they sensitive, behavioral, frustrated,or have a tendency to shut down? Maybe one or more children has special needs. If one child is acting out, most likely, while you are manning the crisis, the other, calmer, quieter children are sitting on the sidelines.
Don’t feel bad about this shift. You have to keep everyone safe, and the child you are paying attention to needed your attention at that time. Make sure you check in with your other children. Give everyone the one-on-one time they need to process their day. Try to have time in the car or before bed, where the environment is more peaceful and you are less distracted. Schedule a time to pick each child up early to have a “special date,” or take the time on the weekend to run errands one-on-one. You will be surprised how much children open up when they aren’t competing for your attention.
Also, don’t beat yourself up. As a parent you are pulled in 500 different directions at the same time, just take a step back when you can, and try to be pulled in 1.
Let me know how you’re doing. Contact me for a family consultation.
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Healthier Kids – Happier Parents