Parenting Mistakes that Cause Jealousy Between Siblings

Today we're going to share some common parenting mistakes that can cause jealousy between children. Keep reading to learn more.
Parenting Mistakes that Cause Jealousy Between Siblings
Ana Couñago

Written and verified by the psychologist Ana Couñago.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Parents don’t get an instruction manual that they can follow to a T when it comes to raising their children. In fact, there are many mistakes they can make when it comes to parenting. For example, it’s very common for parents to do certain things that can cause jealousy between siblings.

What things are we talking about? In today’s article, we’ll explain some of them in detail. Take note so you can try to avoid them!

Parenting mistakes that cause jealousy between siblings

According to the pediatricians Recuero Gonzalo and Bonet de Luna (2005), jealousy refers to “complex emotions formed by fear, sadness, anger, and self-criticism that children can feel when another sibling is born.”

Jealousy in younger siblings.

Some parents’ behavior, although totally unconscious, can cause jealousy between siblings. Let’s take a look at some of the behaviors that can cause those emotions.

Labeling children

Labeling children is a very dangerous habit that parents should avoid at all costs. Continually telling a child that they’re “shy,” “lazy,” “clueless,” “stubborn,” etc. can have a very negative effect on their personality development and self-esteem. That’s because they’ll start to internalize those adjectives and will think that they really are those things. They want to fit the labels the adults in their lives are giving them.

Also, positive labels like “smart,” “fun,” “responsible,” etc. are just as damaging. Those labels will also condition your child’s behavior, and those expectations can be very frustrating.

In addition, these labels can cause jealousy between siblings because one may feel less valued than the other.

Making unnecessary comparisons between your children

A lot of the jealous feelings between siblings arise because their parents are continually comparing them. As a result, there’s an insane rivalry between them, and they always try to one-up one another. This is harmful behavior that parents should avoid because it can cause a lot of harm to their children. 

Giving the younger sibling excessive attention

In some homes, the youngest child is the family’s protege and, therefore, gets more attention. In addition to the extra attention, they may also receive more affection from their parents. This causes the other children to feel left out and they’ll begin to be jealous of their younger sibling. 

Giving the older child more responsibility

When a new sibling arrives, many parents decide to give their older children more responsibilities. Often, these are new tasks that they didn’t need to complete before the arrival of their younger sibling.

jealous child

Suddenly, the older sibling’s life changes significantly. As a result, they may blame their younger sibling and develop feelings of jealousy toward them.


Every parent should work to avoid the behaviors we’ve mentioned. It’s been proven that these behaviors will only harm the relationship between your children and can cause jealousy between siblings.

No one said it was easy to raise children, but you have to work hard and try your best. To do so, it’s essential that you remember to treat all your children equally and to give each of them the attention and affection they deserve.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  •  Recuero Gonzaloa , R. y Bonet de Luna, C. (2005). Los celos infantiles. Pediatría Atención Primaria7(27), 53-61.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.