Jealousy is all too common among teens. While it would be ideal if all teen relationships were simple and harmonious, that is not always the case. As a mom, you can help your teen cope with her jealousy as well as the jealousy of her peers by understanding better how jealousy works in teen relationships and what can be done to overcome this potentially relationship-ruining problem.
Jealousy and Gender
While no gender holds the patent on jealous behavior, girls are more likely to become jealous than boys, reports the American Psychiatric Association. No one has been able to pinpoint the specific reason why female teens are cattier than their male counterparts, but the same source reports that it could be because they have higher expectations for relationships and care more about what others are doing, saying or wearing.
Jealousy in Relationships
When jealousy enters a teen relationship, it could be a sign of bumpy roads ahead. Often, teens who have little experience with love assume that if their partner is jealous it must mean that he loves them. As Counselling Resources website reports, jealousy, while temporarily flattering, is not a sign that someone else loves you. Instead, it is a sign that they are trying to control you and your actions. Someone who is continually jealous is likely insecure, reports Counselling Resources. Teens who are confronted with a partner who behaves in this manner should be leery and cautious as they continue on with the relationship.
Impact of Jealousy
While common, jealousy can lead to serious problems if left unchecked. The American Psychiatric Association reports that teens who report being jealous frequently are also more likely to struggle with feelings of loneliness and, ultimately, resort to violence. Teens who are chronically jealous commonly have a deflated sense of self-worth and do not feel they are valuable contributors to society. As such, they are more likely to withdraw from peers and, ultimately, more likely to act violently toward their peers.
Jealousy is a natural emotion and, with work, can be overcome. If your teen says or does things that indicates that she is likely jealous of another individual, you can help her get over this feeling. Encourage her to communicate both to you and to the person of whom she is jealous. In all likelihood, she admires the source of her jealousy and, if she communicated with the individual, could have a healthy relationship with this person. Also point out her own self-worth. Remind her that she is a valuable person who makes a difference. Remind her that she does not need anyone else to make her complete and that she is a wonderful person all on her own. By doing these things, reports the All About Life Changes website, you can enable your teen to put an end to her jealousy.
Growing from Jealousy
Instead of allowing jealousy to be a bad thing, individuals who are jealous can actually grow from the experience. If your teen is jealous of someone, she likely thinks that something about that person is enviable. Ask your teen to list the things that the cause of her jealousy has or does. Inspect this list with your teen and help her consider how she could get some of these things for herself. For example, if she is jealous of a teen who has fancy jeans, she could do some chores, earn some cash, and buy a pair for herself so she no longer has to envy the original wearer.
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