Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

child reading

Overcoming Jealousy: Lessons from Children's Books

There's a green-eyed monster in our house. Surprise, Surprise, it’s not from a Harry Potter book, but instead it resides within my own child. Yes, I’m talking about Jealousy. Every parent at some point faces the challenge of addressing and navigating the negative emotions of their children, and jealousy is no exception.
Often, the birth of a younger sibling, the comparative achievements of friends or peers, or a simple shift in attention prompts this sharp sting of envy in children. As a parent, dealing with this unexpected emotion in my child has been quite a journey. It's important to remember that feelings of jealousy are entirely normal, even though they can manifest in challenging behaviors such as anger, tantrums, and withdrawal.
Books and Reading have always been a comforting slice of our daily lives and a potent tool for tackling challenging subjects. In dealing with my child’s jealousy, it was the world of children's literature which greatly paved the path for me. There are a plethora of children's books that carefully and thoughtfully handle the subject of jealousy, teaching children how to process these complex emotions.
One of the first books I introduced to my child was 'Jacob’s New Dress', written by Sarah Hoffman. This book underscores the importance of embracing individuality and not measuring oneself in comparison to others, it is a profound message about self-love and acceptance.
'Ruby's Worry', written by Tom Percival, is another potent read. This book delicately expresses the concept of worry, anxiety, and jealousy as a 'thing' that grows and diminishes. It teaches children the essential lesson of sharing their negative feelings, which can help shrink their problems.
For older kids, 'The Lemonade War' by Jacqueline Davies, tells a tale of sibling rivalry and jealousy with a compassionate tone. It offers a perfect diving board to start conversations about comparison, competition and jealousy.
And let's not forget 'Raina Telgemeier's Sisters', a graphic novel that portrays the realistic dynamics between siblings, which often breeds jealousy. Through this medium, the conversation about jealousy becomes more relatable and accessible.
Children's literature brims with wisdom that speaks to our young ones in their language, making complex emotions understandable in simpler ways. With the help of these books, I was able to initiate dialogues about jealousy with my child and empower them to understand and manage their feelings.
Parenting, much like a storybook, has its surprising twists and turns. Seeing my child wrestle with jealousy was indeed a challenging chapter. However, with patience, open conversations, and the right book recommendations, we’re able to learn, grow and hopefully address that green-eyed monster better the next time it decides to pay a visit!

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