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So Selfish, So Young

Questioner

U (30_female_UK)

Reply Date

Aug 17, 2018

Question

How can I deal with a jealous child who likes to have everything for himself and hates his brother and sisters?

Counselor

Answer


Selfish

In this counseling answer:

•Give him more responsibility (if you are not doing that now) so that he may share some of the decision-making or home duties.

•When you bring him toys, select toys that must be played by more than one child, so that he will have to involve his brother or sister.

•When you teach his younger brother or sister, encourage him to come and teach them with you and praise him for his mastery of a particular topic.


As-salamu `alaykum,

Thank you for entrusting us with your question. We ask Allah Most High to guide us to the right way.

My answer to your questions would have benefited from some more detail regarding your son’s behavior with his schoolmates and his family peers, as this could indicate the source of his problem: Is he self-centered and thus spends most of the time by himself or is he more of a social child?

If he lacks the will or tendency to play with his peers in school and wants everything for himself, this can be the result of many things including a disorder of childhood that is characterized by a marked deficit in communication and social interaction; preoccupation with fantasy; language impairment; abnormal behavior such as repetitive acts and excessive attachment to certain objects.

Intellectual impairment or emotional neglect can be a reason. Such children always prefer to be alone; they usually have no friends, as they do not share in playing or socializing. They also avoid group situations and are reluctant to talk in public so that others will not discredit them or make fun of them. Even a bad diet can have a negative effect on behavior.

The most common case is the jealousy found between brothers and sisters, which results from excessive pampering by parents; then, if this pampering suddenly stops, children usually attribute this to a newborn sister or brother who, they think, took all the family’s attention. They want the attention that they have been used to and resent the change.


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Another possibility is that your son may be feeling a bit lost between two siblings. His older brother is the oldest child and you may be treating him as a grown-up by getting him to share in decision-making; whereas the middle child does not share the same involvement because of his age. His younger brother or sister takes (he feels) all your love and affection from him, so he ends up with no responsibility and no attention!

As for the treatment, if you think his case is more an autism or disorder case, then I recommend that you take him to a specialist. However, if you think that it may be a normal feeling of jealousy, then you can try the following tips:

•If you blame him for misbehaving, then stop at once. Don’t say things like “why do you hate your brothers and sisters? Why do you want everything for yourself?” Rather, imply this without referring directly to him, as this will cause him to persist in his behavior.

•Give him more responsibility (if you are not doing that now) so that he may share some of the decision-making or home duties.

•When you bring him toys, select toys that must be played by more than one child, so that he will have to involve his brother or sister.

•When you teach his younger brother or sister, encourage him to come and teach them with you and praise him for his mastery of a particular topic.

•Tell him stories from the Qur’an, especially the story of Yusuf (peace and blessings be upon him) and his brothers, and indirectly explain to him how Satan made the brothers hate Yusuf.

•Try to get him into friendly relationships, particularly within the family context.

Finally, we would like to wish you all the best with your son. Please don’t hesitate to contact us again on this issue or any other.

Salam

***

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