I am still straddling the two worlds of public school and homeschool even now that both of my girls are officially homeschooling. My experience with homeschooling has been that age is not a factor in friendships. Lilah is as much a friend to a 10 year old girl we see often as her 10 year old sister is. Granted, when the age gap is great, siblings seem to pair off by age, but no one is left out. For the most part, playdates include all children. This summer when Grace was invited to the beach with the older girls, we hosted a pool party for the younger siblings. It is balanced, which you know is my new favorite word!
Of course Grace will be keeping her school friends. This can throw things out of balance. Today she was invited to watch the Teen Choice Awards at her friend’s house. Lilah was not invited. Things suddenly were out of balance. Lilah was intensely jealous. So jealous, she did not know how to handle her feelings. Her perspective is that her sister has the best of both worlds.
I don’t know how to handle this situation. We talked about friendships and the friends she has spend time with recently. I told Lilah that when I was young I had three best friends. That’s all. Her comment was “ugh, that was so long ago”. It is not about how many freinds we have, but that our friends are who we want to be with. This did nothing to relieve the fact she wanted to be with her sister and her sister's friends and she could not.
How do I handle the intense feelings she is experiencing? Do I just hold her while she cries knowing that there will be times when Grace gets to do things simply because she is older? Grace will drive first. Grace will get a job first. Even though for most things I have raised them like twins, they are not. Grace is two years older. Life is not fair and there are times when there is nothing you can do to make it fair.
I was the first born. I cannot quite relate to what Lilah is feeling. Of course, I never thought of my sister’s feelings when I was 10 and my sister was 8. I am doing my best to soothe her hurt feelings, hold her while she cries and remind her of all the things she has done lately that her sister has not. Like just today she was featured in our local Natural Awakenings Magazine for part of Two Coyotes. Grace was jealous feeling that Lilah was now “famous”!.
I know that these feelings are part of being a sibling and growing up as a sibling. But it does not make it easier for the parent.
What do you do when your children experience jealousy? How do you help them handle strong emotions?