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How to Use Envy to Build Your Child's Self-Esteem

parenting hacks May 19, 2021

It's awful when our kid's come to us feeling down on themselves because of a peer. We see our kids and value them more than anything, and when THEY don't see that, it really hurts. So today, I want to build on a concept I shared a few weeks ago: we can use our feelings of envy to investigate and discover what matters to us. Guess what? We can teach our kids to do the same thing.

For example, your child comes in from school and is clearly downcast. Shoulders slumped, depressed. You learn someone in their class got asked to play guitar for a new band. Your child plays guitar, and it was a gut-punch they didn't get asked. They express feelings of not being good enough, and are exhibiting other negative ideas about them as a person vs their skill level.

Here's what you can do:

1. Empathize - "it's so hard when we don't get picked. We all hate that feeling. I'm here with you." 

2. Ask questions, starting with guitar. Do you love playing it? What about a band is appealing to you? What about the other person's skill do you want? 

3. Use their answers to identify what's important to your child and help them verbalize it. Maybe they didn't realize how much they wanted to be good, and they need more time to practice. You can help them reschedule their time so they can put in more practice hours. OR, they could realize that the effort it would take in practice isn't worth it to them. The IDEA of a band is cool, but what it actually involves (hours of daily practice) might not be what they really want. Either way, it's your chance to use their feelings of envy to help them with self-discovery, and it's a tool they'll use the rest of their life.

What does this accomplish? The goal is for your child to walk away knowing they are capable of doing what it is they want, and they get to decide what they want to go after. Feeling empowered is a HUGE confidence boost, and kid's crave it. It's one of the best ways to build their self-esteem. 

 I want to hear from you! Will you try this?

-Dr Shannon


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