Oedipus And Jocasta: The Reason For Childhood Jealousy

“Mommy is mine” or “Daddy is mine” are not fighting phrases only between siblings, they are also symptoms of childhood jealousy, how many times have you heard your children saying them

Alicia is 3 years old, an only child, and loves spending as much time as she can with her parents. She adores her dad, but she doesn’t like him to kiss mom or hold her hand, she always complains saying he’s “her dad” and that she doesn’t want to share him. Magda, his mother, no longer knows how to make him understand that the love between her and her husband is natural, beautiful and a good thing, so they must hide to greet each other, hold hands and even to be hugged. Things in the house have become a bit tense as Alicia looks like a detective and throws a tantrum every time she sees them together.

Surely, more than one of us had to read at school about the Greek tragedy Oedipus the King , written by Sophocles, in which the protagonist tries to escape his destiny and ends up marrying his own mother. Although it may sound exaggerated for the current time, many psychologists have used it as an example to represent the infatuation that boys and girls feel towards their parents, and the importance of working to control jealousy. It is essential to make it clear that jealousy is the way in which frustration manifests itself for not feeling sentimentally reciprocated.

So, if you are looking for a suitable way for your children to accept the love between their parents, then apply these tips:

1. Your love is not divided: it multiplies

Jealousy often starts because our children feel that by loving mom or dad, we have less love for them. So the first step is to explain that love only multiplies, in no case is it divided. The same is true when a new baby enters the family and the older sibling feels displaced or ignored.

2. You are a mother, but first a wife

When children fall in love with one of their parents, they feel that the other person is in abundance, so they express their disapproval through tantrums or complaints every time both parents are together. To make them understand that this situation is natural between mom and dad, which expresses the love they have, it is essential not to move away from each other, but to tell them that after kissing or hugging, they will also kiss or hug them.

3. Don’t give in to emotional blackmail

There are children who take advantage of the situation and seek to “blackmail” their parents through a disconsolate cry that they justify by feeling lonely, ignored or sad. For this reason, it is important to differentiate when a situation is affecting you and when you are using it for personal benefits, such as a movie trip or a gift. So take a couple of minutes to discuss the situation with him or her and find a viable solution for everyone that does not involve giving in to their demands.

Read: Don’t let your child’s tantrums become a problem for life

4. Recognize positive behaviors

Generally we focus on criticizing the negative side of things, assuming that the positive “must” be this way, so we do not recognize it or act differently in the face of it. In this sense, when there are problems of jealousy and most of the time there is a conflict between those involved, it is essential that the child is told all the good things he or she is doing instead of the things they are doing wrong. For example, if the parents are hugging and the daughter pushes Mom to hug her, instead of reprimanding the push, explain to her that she doesn’t need to do that to get attention, that she just needs to express what she needs.

Adjust your expectations, be a better mother

5. Give him syrup of love

The best remedy against all evil is love, and jealousy is no exception. Stay calm no matter how loud your child screams, once he has calmed down, listen to what he has to say and then hug him tightly, let him feel that despite what happens, they will always love him. Show him that love is a beautiful feeling that deserves to be shared not only between children and parents, but also between parents and siblings.

As you can imagine, the solution to the story I told you at the beginning was not simple or fast. Months passed before Alicia fully accepted the love between her parents, but the tension between them diminished from the moment they changed their attitude. Today it is common to see Magda holding hands with Carlos without Alicia’s disapproving look, quite the contrary, now she smiles at them.

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