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  • Writer's pictureEaston Gaines, MSEd, PsyD

Navigating Jealousy and Fairness with Your Kids: A Parent's Playbook

Parenting is a wild ride filled with twists, turns, and occasional meltdowns – and that's just from us parents! When it comes to our kids, navigating their emotions can feel like stepping into a minefield, especially when jealousy and fairness rear their mischievous heads.


But fear not, fellow parents! We're here to sprinkle some gentle wisdom and playful strategies into your parenting toolkit. Let's dive in and discover how we can turn jealousy and fairness into opportunities for growth and connection.




Jealousy

Picture this: your daughter eyeing her older sister's latest achievements with a mix of admiration and envy. Or your son, comparing himself to his siblings, feeling like he's constantly falling short. Sound familiar? Jealousy is as common as spilled milk and just as messy!


So, how do we handle it? Step one: normalize it! Yep, that's right – feeling jealous is as human as any other tough emotion. Feeling jealous is painful and feeling jealous is normal. Two things are true!


Next up, let's put on our detective hats and get curious. What's really brewing beneath the surface of those jealousy-fueled comments? Dive deep with your child and uncover what insecurities or struggles they might be facing. Remember, empathy is your superpower here!

Instead of squashing their jealousy like a bug, embrace it with open arms. When your child shares their jealousy, respond with openness and understanding. Connect with them more deeply, sharing your own experiences of jealousy and how you survived them. Feeling heard can be the secret sauce to managing those tricky emotions!


Fairness

Ah, fairness – the eternal battleground of siblings everywhere. "It's not fair! You got Anna new shoes, and I want new shoes too!" Sound familiar? Chasing fairness is like trying to catch a rainbow – beautiful, but impossible!


Let's flip the script and focus on what really matters: our kids' inner needs and desires. Instead of fueling the fairness frenzy, guide your child to look inward and discover what they truly need. Channel your inner Zen master and help them find peace within themselves.

When your child cries foul play, resist the urge to play referee. Instead, validate their feelings and gently guide them back to their own needs. It's not about keeping score or doling out equal portions – it's about ensuring that every child gets what they truly need.


FAIRNESS ORIENTATION:

  • Child: "No fair, you bought Sarah a new toy!"

  • Parent: "Fine, I'll buy you a toy too. Just stop whining."

  • Lesson: Seeking external validation and comparing oneself to others to determine what is fair.

INDIVIDUAL NEEDS ORIENTATION:

  • Child: "No fair, you bought Sarah a new toy!"

  • Parent: "Oh, I see. You really wanted a new toy too, huh?"

  • Child: "Yeah, I wanted one too!"

  • Parent: "Okay, let's think about what you'd like to do with your special time tomorrow. Would you prefer getting a new toy, playing at the park, or doing something else?"

  • Child: "Hmm, I'm not sure yet. Can I think about it?"

  • Parent: "Of course, take your time to decide what feels right for you."

  • Lesson: Encouraging the child to reflect on their own needs and desires rather than comparing themselves to others to determine fairness.


So, parents, let's rewrite the playbook together. Embrace the messiness of jealousy and fairness with open arms. Normalize, empathize, and guide your kids to look inward for fulfillment. Remember, you've got this!

Here's to raising resilient, compassionate, and fun-loving kiddos.



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