Envy in children, answers to frequent doubts

Why can not they be happy and share the success of others? Envy is a normal feeling in children, but parents can redirect that childish envy, making them discover that everyone is worth what they are and not what they have. In addition, they must discover that they also like others to be happy when something goes well.

"Pythagoras said: educate children and it will not be necessary to punish adults, as well as to educate children to fight against envy, happy for the good of others, is to get more balanced adults. "This affirms Mª Jesús Álava Reyes, Bachelor in Psychology from the Complutense University of Madrid and Master in Human Resources Management.


7 answers to frequent questions about children's envy

Mª Jesus points out some guidelines for teaching children to be happy when their friends or classmates come up with something good to fight against child envy.

Are children born being envious, or are they made? What does it depend on, the environment, education, predisposition?

It is true that we see children from very young with a certain predisposition towards envy. Psychologists say that we are born with a different temperament and the environment is what influences positively or negatively in that temperament. Therefore, the environment and education can channel or correct the envy of children. It is not exactly a genetic problem, although it is true that there may be a certain predisposition, that with a good education is remedied. The sooner we intervene in these ages, even smaller ones, it will be easier.


What causes or provokes envy in a child?

The dissatisfaction they feel is what causes envy in children. They are children who grow up with a general dissatisfaction and that dissatisfaction makes them be much more aware of what others may have or do than what they do or have themselves. A good education manages to correct those inequalities or that predisposition.

Is it true, as some experts say, that the cause of envy lies in low self-esteem?

The basic problem of envy is personal dissatisfaction and that dissatisfaction can give way to low self-esteem. However, there are children who may have high self-esteem and be envious, because they think that they are the ones who deserve things, that they are the ones who have the most merit. One would say that envy is due more to insecurity.


So, what is the reason for that personal dissatisfaction of a child of these ages, if it is being formed?

It is a mistake in which adults intervene, because we favor them that little by little they see the world as if it were at their service, instead of having an attitude of discovery towards that world and trying to integrate. Envy arises when the child thinks that the world, parents, others, owe things, are to satisfy their desires. One of the biggest mistakes that parents can make is to protect them too much, give them everything they ask for.

How to provide children with security so as not to feel envious?

With a good assessment of themselves, teach them to learn to value themselves not for what they have, but for what they are, to teach them to discover their own values, if they are good at this or that. And once they are discovered, put them at the service of others. If they feel good about themselves, they will fight better envy. They should be able to solve their small problems, instead of being solved by all adults, and this attitude will provide them with security.

What to do when it is difficult for the child to feel happy with what he has and always want what others have?

Then we will educate our son to discover little by little how good it feels when with effort, get small achievements instead of satisfying desires immediately, from having done a great drawing, to get better in a subject, to a gift unexpected for his birthday.

Is it natural for a child to feel truly envious when a friend of his has managed to be first in something, or is he smarter, or more handsome, etc?

It is completely normal to initially feel envious of a child who is the best, for example, in a sport that he also likes. After transmitting that feeling of envy It is normal, it happens, we have to make him discover that an envious child is not happy, because he is a negative child instead of a positive one. He must learn to enjoy what he has and what others have.

Marta Santín
Advisor: Mª Jesús Álava Reyes, Degree in Psychology from the Complutense University of Madrid and Master in Human Resources Management.

Video: Artist Problems - Real Talk: Art Envy


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