Family BondingChild Jealous of Parents’ Affection


Child Jealous of Parents’ Affection

Jealousy is an emotion experienced commonly by children and it can arise in various situations. One of the situations in which children may experience jealousy is when they observe affection between their parents. A crucial factor for children to develop emotionally is parental affection. Despite this, some children may experience jealousy in response to such displays of affection.

The reasons for children’s jealousy of parents’ affection can vary depending on the child’s developmental stage, personality, and past experiences. Some children are concerned that their parents’ affection towards each other will lessen the attention they are getting from their parents. Others may feel left out or misinterpret the affection they see between their parents leading to confusion and jealousy. Parents should understand the possible reasons for their child’s jealousy and find ways that can help to work out the issue in a supportive and constructive manner.

Why a Child is Feeling Jealous?

Why a child is feeling jealous

A human emotion that is commonly found and can happen regardless of age, gender, and social background is jealousy. This can occur with children as well. When a child experiences jealousy, it can be especially challenging, particularly if their parents’ loving relationship is the source of their envy. The reasons for a child feeling jealous of their parents’ affection are given below:

Looking For Attention

A critical reason for children feeling jealous of their parents’ affection is that they want most of the attention from their parents for themselves. They may also feel that their parents are not paying enough attention to them. This could lead to feeling insecure and craving attention from their parents when they see their parents giving attention to each other attention.

Fearing Abandonment

Another reason why a child may feel jealous of their parents’ affection is the fear that the affection between their parents may lead to the splitting of the family. They may feel that their parents will forget about them or abandon them. This fear can cause a child to become possessive of their parent’s time and attention and start feeling jealous when affection is shown towards each other.

Feeling Left Out

If a child feels left out because of their parent’s relationship, then there is a likelihood of them feeling jealous of the affection between them. Children could feel that their parents are preoccupied with each other. As a result, the parents are not being to pay attention to them which can result in them feeling neglected and left out.


Children may compare themselves to their parents and feel like they cannot measure up. Children could even think to themselves that they are not good enough to get most of the love from their parents despite their parents loving them unconditionally. This can lead to children feeling inadequate and jealousy comes in which causes the child to seek attention in negative ways.


Children feeling insecure about their parents’ relationships may become jealous of the affection between them. They could feel that they are not getting sufficient love and affection from their parents. This insecurity can cause a child to become possessive and jealous of any affection that their parents show towards each other.

You May like: Sons Who Treat Their Mothers Poorly

Steps For Parents to Take

Parents can take many steps in order to address the jealousy felt by their children. The numerous steps that a parent can take in such a situation are given below:

1. Don’t Feel Pressurized by Your Child’s Behavior

Parents should not give in to their child’s demands or change their behavior to reduce their jealousy as it is understandable for parents to feel overwhelmed and pressured in such a situation. Instead, it is essential to address their feelings in a supportive and constructive manner while maintaining healthy adult relationships and balancing affection with attention to their needs. It is also helpful to model healthy relationships and communication styles for their child. By not feeling pressured by the child’s behavior, a safe and supportive environment can be created where children will be able to build up their emotional development.

Dont feel pressurized by your childs behavior

2. Increase Child’s Attachment to The Other Parent

When a child is jealous of their parents’ affection then it can be helpful to try to increase their attachment to the other parent. In such a situation, encouraging the child to spend quality time with the other parent, doing activities that they enjoy, and creating positive experiences together is essential. It is important to make the children feel valued and loved by both parents and that their needs are not getting neglected. Moreover, involving the children in family activities and events can help them feel included and increase their sense of belonging. It is necessary to communicate openly and honestly with the child to know about their feelings and reassure them that both parents love and care for them sincerely. By increasing the child’s attachment to the other parent, parents can reduce their jealousy.

Increase childs attachment to the other parent

3. Engage in Fun Activities with The Child

A great way to reduce the jealousy experienced by parents’ affection is to engage in fun activities with the child. This will make the child feel the value and love that their parents have and can also help distract them from their feelings of jealousy. Parents can do activities that their child enjoys such as going to the park, playing games, or creating art together. The activities should be balanced with the child’s needs and make the child feel loved and supported. Engaging in fun activities can also provide an opportunity for parents to bond with their children and promote positive relationships.

Engage in fun activities with the child

4. Private Time with Your Partner

A child is not able to understand the romantic love between you and your partner and is often confused with familial love. That is why it sometimes might be important to show affection to your partner away from your child. You can take them out on a date and show your affection to your partner away from your child’s eye. That way they will both understand that you will not always be with them and can safely show affection to each other without your child’s jealousy possibly making the mood sour.

Private time with your partner

Is it Normal for Children to be Jealous of Parents?

It is normal for children to feel jealous because of affection between parents. When children see their parents expressing affection towards each other it can lead to feelings of insecurity and jealousy. Children who are younger or less exposed to healthy adult relationships may not fully understand the concept of romantic relationships which can result in them feeling uncomfortable with such displays of affection.

Children going through changes or facing challenges in their lives may be more prone to feeling jealous or left out. Parents should not overlook these feelings and provide support and reassurance to their children. But it is also important to differentiate between normal jealousy and excessive jealousy. Normal jealousy is a natural human emotion and can be part of a child’s emotional growth. This is typically short-lived and can be addressed with supportive and constructive communication. Excessive jealousy can cause harm to both the child and the parents alike. If a child’s jealousy is persistent or it interferes with their daily activities then it could be beneficial to seek professional help to address the issue.

When to Seek Professional Help?

When to seek professional help

It is crucial to recognize when it could be necessary to look for professional help even though jealousy due to the parents’ affection is a typical emotion experienced by children. When the child’s jealousy is excessive or impacts their daily life such as affecting their academic performance or causing behavioral problems then it is the right time to seek professional help

Another time to look for professional help could be if the child is displaying signs of anxiety or depression. The professional could come up with a plan to address the specific needs of the child. Family therapy can be beneficial in addressing jealousy of affection between parents and promoting healthy relationships within the family. Seeking professional help is a proactive step for children to develop emotionally and contribute to the well-being of the child and the family as a whole.


1. Why do children get jealous of parents showing affection?

Children may get jealous of parents showing affection because they want most of the attention from their parents for themselves, fear abandonment, or feel left out.

2. What causes extreme jealousy in a child?

Children who need constant attention, have experienced trauma, or have a history of attachment issues may also be more prone to extreme jealousy.

3. What are the signs of a jealous child?

Signs of a jealous child included increased clinginess, acting out to get attention, and being overly critical of others. They could also become moody and express feelings of inadequacy.

Final Thoughts

It can be challenging for children to cope with a strong emotion like jealousy primarily when it is directed towards their own parents. Parents should recognize such feelings of their children and help them to understand their emotions in a healthy way. Creating a positive and stable environment that supports emotional development and fosters healthy relationships is essential. Having a conversation with the children can help children build the resilience and emotional intelligence that they require. Hence, they will be able to overcome their feelings of jealousy and build a healthy relationship with their parents.

Next Attraction: Why Does My Mother Put Me Down?

Tyler S. Rios, a parent of two, shares her valuable insights into family life. Her blogs focus on parent-child relationships and navigating family conflicts. Tyler's wealth of experience empowers readers to handle family challenges with resilience and resolution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *