Becoming a parent can awaken a number of new emotions -- and not all are innately positive. While you create special bonds and experience unconditional love, you may also experience jealousy in its various forms. Whether it's you feeling jealousy toward your partner or another parent being envious toward you, understanding the emotion and working through the negative feelings can help you banish jealousy from your parental relationships.
If you're the main stay-at-home or disciplinarian parent, you're in the trenches every day. That's why it can sting when your partner comes home after a long day and gets to be the "fun parent," twirling your child around and playing games when you're stuck making meals, doing laundry and saying "no." In this case, jealousy can manifest as guilt -- that you didn't take the time to be the fun parent and should have spent more one-on-one time with your child. Of course, seasoned parents know that, while it might seem like your child prefers your partner over you, your child also appreciates the day-to-day security that you provide.
It might sound difficult to believe, but parents can become jealous of their own children, suggests Psychologist Terri Apter in an article for Psychology Today. Apter suggests that a woman who didn't have the economical or educational advantages that her child has can become jealous, which can often be displayed as disapproval for the child's choices. If your teenage daughter is talking about going to college, for instance, and you never got the chance, you might have a negative reaction to her plans because you're jealous of her opportunity.
Your best friend constantly posts on Facebook about her perfect kids, her fun experiences and her lavish back-to-school shopping trips and you feel angry toward her -- it's a sign of jealousy. The same goes for the negative feelings you might experience when seeing a friend interact with her children. The result can be an inner form of sadness and even depression as you compare your life as a parent to someone else's. While it might seem like a friend has it all together, keep in mind that you don't see what goes on behind closed doors. No parent is perfect, no matter what she posts on social media.
While it's easy to feel jealousy toward others, you might be surprised to find that you're the subject of envy as well. A friend or acquaintance may feel jealous toward you as a parent, which can result in negative comments, warns Psychology Today. A jealous parent, for instance, might try and turn what is a positive experience for you into a negative comment: "Your child is in the gifted class? That sounds like a lot of work." When another parent talks down to you or shows disdain for your parental success, it could be a sign that she's actually jealous.
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