The Sweet Side of Life

Wyatt Wins the Jealousy Monster | Kids & Emotions

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This morning Wyatt woke up first, as usual. A few minutes later, Cash comes walking out of his room, nonchalantly carrying his 2 quarters from the Tooth Fairy, positively beaming with a smile from ear to ear. He was proud and wanted to show me. As he did, Wyatt burst into tears. Giant, crocodile tears that we all know come from true heartache, or Jealousy.

Big Brother has Tooth Fairy Money

Per my elaborate back story of jealousy that had been building among the boys, this was apparently the final straw. Cash has even more money now than Wyatt. {Ooh… There’s more. I had just bought the boys these adorable wallets to keep their Easter Bunny Money in} Now “Cash has more wallet money too!” The wheels had fallen off the bus over dinosaur oatmeal.

Wyatt met the Jealousy Monster

I scooped Wyatt up and sat him on the counter trying to console him. Cash was there, not knowing what to do. He was proud, now he’s upset too, not knowing why his brother isn’t happy for him.

I ask Wyatt, “Are you sad or are you maybe jealous?”

Wyatt: I’m ANGRRRRY… I didn’t get any coins and now Cash has MORE than me.

Me: Buddy, Cash lost his tooth and the Tooth Fairy brought that for him. When you lose a tooth she’ll bring you coins too. You didn’t do anything wrong. She didn’t forget you, you just have to lose a tooth and trade her.

Wyatt: PULL OUT MY TOOTH!

Me: Sorry buddy, they’ll come out when they’re ready. But let’s go talk about being jealous.

My opinion on Jealousy

Jealousy is a real thing. It’s a hard emotion that is totally human to feel and one should not be made to feel as if they’re wrong for being jealous. Instead, I think the “wrong” part is allowing your jealousy to ruin the joy of someone else. Handling jealousy is the life skill to learn, and not by eliminating it or denying that it exists. My intention when these hard emotions come up with my kids is to walk them through it beginning to end. Acknowledgment, Strategy, Recovery.

The conversation continues:

Me: I think you might be feeling jealous buddy and that’s a really hard feeling to have because you don’t know where to put it.

{We’ve talked about The Heart Jar a lot at home}

It’s like you’ve got an invisible monster in your own Heart Jar eating up all the pom-poms {that would make a lot more sense to you if you knew our metaphor}

Wyatt: How do I make it stop!? It HURTS!

Me: I know it does. Jealousy makes us feel really icky inside. We work really hard to build up our Heart Jars and then out of nowhere you feel it being emptied from the inside. There is nothing we can do to remove the monster, he’s always there, and he’s always hungry. But what we CAN do is start saving the pom-poms. If you give them away he can’t eat them. Then I know eventually you’ll get them back.

Wyatt: How do I do that? [calming down considerably and no longer crying into his oatmeal. A glimmer of hope on the horizon]

Me: Well you should start storing them in Cash’s Heart Jar. Tell him you’re proud of him for being brave when his tooth came out. Or tell him you’re excited for him. Tell him you’re happy that he was a good boy and the Tooth Fairy gave him two coins instead of one. All those things add pom-poms to Cash’s jar. You build Cash up when you say those things.

Even when Jealousy is there inside your Heart Jar, you can give your pom-poms to Cash to hold for you. Or me. Tell me how much you like oatmeal! I can hold pom-poms for you all day too. Clear your Heart Jar, empty it into others around you and then we’ll fill it back up for you when Jealousy leaves.
I promise. He can’t eat away at your happiness if it’s temporarily being held by those who love you. Let us help you handle him.

What Wyatt Learned

My elaborate, excessively metaphorical explanation of Jealousy and how to vanquish him seemed to be working. Cash even jumped in to explain Jealousy as a villain sneaking around in your body that can only be stopped by the forces of Team Work. We somehow got all the way to Ghost Busters where Cash emphatically pretended to be blasting Jealousy with a proton ray and sucking him into a tiny little box {Cash has mastered emotional metaphor by age 5 #hismetaphorgameisstrong} By then we were laughing and out the door to school.

What Wyatt Did

After dropping Cash off, Wyatt and I came home and he asked if he could EARN any money today. I of course said, “Sure Buddy! That’s a great way to handle this.” Me, feeling encouraged and enthusiastic about his willingness to earn money and not yank out his teeth.

I told him he could polka dot confetti in the Etsy Shop and I would give him a quarter for every 25 polka dots. He diligently worked right next to me all morning, eventually {took him 3 hours} cutting 100 polka dots, earning himself a whole dollar bill. Although he didn’t want the bill he insisted I give him 4 quarters, which I did.

We went to get Cash from school

At pick up, Wyatt ran up to Cash and told him all about the polka dot marathon he just did and how he earned 4 quarters. They talked about it the whole way home. Wyatt explained the counting chart, how many miss-cuts he made, what he dropped on the floor and had to throw away, etc.

We get home, both boys run out of the car, into the house and to the counter where the 4 quarters are.

Cash: WOW! Good job Wyatt! That’s so MANY!

Wyatt: Yep! Here you go. [Hands all 4 quarters to Cash] You keep them. [runs out the door shouting] Now let’s go ride our bikes!!!!!

#EndStory #WhatJustHappened #MySweetandSticky

Now I’m standing there in the kitchen completely stunned thinking I’m either the most awesome parent ever, or I’m on some hidden camera Sitcom. But isn’t that how it always goes? The Sticky then the Sweet. I’ll never be able to keep up… Thanks for reading.

Let me hear your strategies for teaching emotions or handling sibling jealousy in the comments below:


Like what you read?

Hi There! I’m Kandice
Wife, WAHM and mother to 2 Hooligan boys, sharing my Sweet & Sticky Story of Motherhood.
Life changes after 2 Toddlers {obviously} so now I’m sharing how I turn those every day #MomProblems into a Story of #MomWinning by building new Small Systems, Organizing Mom Routines and Making Mommy Money Online by Blogging.

Affiliate Disclaimer: My blog is heavily monetized with numerous affiliate links throughout. If you click on these links and make a purchase I earn a small commission. THANK YOU for helping me build the boys’ college savings accounts! Please feel free to visit all of our affiliates and read the entire disclosure/disclaimer HERE

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