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How to Stop Feelings of Jealousy in Teenagers

by Tiffany Raiford

Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it’s common. Your teen might feel jealous from time to time for any number of reasons. It’s an emotion that is similar to envy but encompasses a little suspicion. According to the Women's and Children’s Health Network, your teen might feel jealous of a sibling who receives more attention than she or a friend who is spending more time with someone else. You can’t make her stop feeling jealous of others, but you can help her control her jealousy and turn her emotions into something more positive.

Build your teen's self-esteem to help him overcome his feelings of jealousy. According to the American Psychological Association, the typical teen that experiences feelings of jealousy is more aggressive, lacks self-esteem and is lonely. When you build your teen’s self-worth, you help him control his feelings of jealousy because he no longer views himself as not good enough or not worthy enough of happiness. By praising his good behavior and his accomplishments more so than getting onto him for messing up and for failing to accomplish things with perfection, you help build his self-esteem.

Teach your teen to turn her jealousy into something productive, rather than something negative, advises the Women's and Children’s Health Network. By teaching your teen to take a minute to evaluate her jealousy, you can help her learn to turn it around. Ask her to imagine why she’s jealous of a friend -- perhaps it's because her friend is really good at softball and made the all-star team. Ask her to choose her reaction to her friend’s ability to excel in sports. She can be jealous, which makes her angry and unhappy for her friend, or she can take a few minutes to think about what she is really good at, such as writing or playing the piano, and she can focus on her own ability to excel at something and be happy for her friend. If she doesn’t feel she excels at anything, she can use her feelings of jealousy to motivate her to practice harder or to attempt a new hobby.

Remind your teen that life is not fair, advises the Women's and Children’s Health Network. He needs to learn now that life does not always work the same way for everyone so that he can get used to experiencing let-down when someone else accomplishes something he did not. He can be jealous of his friend’s accomplishment or he can be happy for his friend so that when the time comes for him to accomplish something, he feels that much better for it. He needs to understand that throughout life, he and the people he cares for will reach milestones at different times, whether it’s getting married, receiving a promotion, having a baby, buying a house, buying his first sports car or going on lavish vacations. Being jealous of these things when they happen to others will only make him unhappy.

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