My coworker has an interesting issue. Her son who is 11 participates in a lot of activities and often wins medals and trophies even if it’s just for participation. Her daughter, who is 9, is jealous of this and they are both left feeling awful. My coworker doesn’t know how to handle it because you don’t want to make one feel bad about participating and winning and you don’t want the other feeling like they aren’t good enough. It’s heartbreaking, really.
It just so happened that I started reading Siblings Without Rivalry right after we talked about this and I discovered the most amazing tip…
The book suggested you “save praise for the ears of the deserving child”. This blew me away! I had never thought of doing this but I can see how it could be super effective in this situation. And it keeps them from feeling like their accomplishments only mean something in relation to their sibling.
I started thinking of the logistics of this because I’m sure it’s hard when they are both coming at you with their report card or their projects or awards. In my mind, I could simply say “I know you both want to talk about X and I want to also! Let’s get settled and then I’ll talk to you each individually about X”. My kids are very young but I want to practice this now so it comes easily later when things get harder and the stakes are higher. What do you think? Do you have any tricks to prevent comparison meltdown?Photo credit to Kerem Tapani Gültekin