Diagnosis

Answering these questions will help you pinpoint the cause of your kid's jealous streak so you can begin turning this bad attitude around.

Why. What is causing your kid to be so jealous? Does he lack self-esteem or self-confidence? Does he lack friends and social skills? Does he perceive he is being constantly compared to another peer or sibling? (And might he be correct?) Does he feel his relationship with you or the other parent is contingent on his achievement? Are scores, grades, or competition placements valued more than character in your home? Might your child feel as though his place in the family is somehow in jeopardy? For instance, is there a strain in your marriage, are there new stepsiblings, or are you engaged in a new relationship? Does your child feel resentful because he feels a lack of control or influence? Might he be hearing you or your spouse talk enviously about others? Pretend you are in the shoes of the child who feels jealous. How would you feel if you were your kid? How would you act? Be honest: Is his jealousy justified? Why?

What. Are there particular issues or things he is usually more jealous about? Are they about possessions (electronic gadgets, fashions, toys)? Popularity? Appearance (weight, height, hair, physique)? Capabilities (intelligence, athletic)? Sense of humor? Wanting the same amount of attention? Feeling privileges aren't equal with other kids? Perceiving unfair treatment (rules and discipline are not fair)? Are his jealous feelings justified?

Who. Who is your kid most jealous about: a friend, classmate, teammate, sibling, you? Why? What might be fueling that resentment? Does he display the same jealous behaviors toward everyone? Are there some individuals he is not jealous of? If so, who? Why not? How do you know he is jealous? Does she verbalize her jealousy, treat someone else unfairly, spread rumors, leave that person out, or act aggressively toward her?

When. Is there a particular time of day, week, or month when he is more jealous—for instance, when Dad comes home or when the game gets more competitive? Is there a reason? Might he need attention or reassurance? Is another sibling receiving more attention? Also, when did this attitude start? If you can identify the time, what might have triggered the jealousy:A new baby? A move? Your new relationship? Your new work schedule? A more competitive or difficult classroom?

Where. Are there certain places where or events when he is more likely to be jealous at school or day care, home, the store, Grandma's)? Why? What situations seem to escalate peer or sibling rivalry?

Now take a look at your answers. Are you seeing any predictable patterns? Do you have any better understanding of your kid's jealous attitude and where it's coming from?

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