There was a Berenstein Bears book that I used to read to the kids called “The Green-Eyed Monster,” and it’s about jealousy.

Jealousy can cause people to act in crazy ways and I suspect that it is one of the main emotions behind some bullying.  It’s one of those emotions that causes the tangled ball to become more complicated because people and even kids are often skilled at covering the jealousy with emotions like anger and intolerance.  When a person is jealous they will do anything to pull the other person down.  Anything.  And sometimes, they’re so good at it, that they get others in on the act and watch out.  The target has no chance.
By the time the bullying is in full swing, no one realizes that it started with jealousy.  It was the seed that poisoned a domino effect of actions.  The poor victim often doesn’t even know that it was because they have a talent or a trait that inspires jealousy.
It often works well for the bully because they have diminished their target and the talent is now secondary.  Of course, bullying does not always start out with jealousy but it’s something we should watch for in our kids.  Some kids just have a more jealous streak than others.
Jealousy, like so many of the challenging traits we’re all born with, can be identified and worked on.  It’s also one of those traits that you have to be aware of and work on for your entire lifetime.  One of the most satisfying things I have heard as a parent, is one of my children saying, “Oh, I know why I’m so mad.  I’m just jealous.”   I applaud that because as long as they know, they won’t make others suffer for this mean spirited emotion.
And who hasn’t been jealous?  It’s something that most of us can relate to and it’s a matter of degrees.  (I have to admit to being jealous over people’s beautiful houses and I’m not even a material person, necessarily.  It’s just that I don’t have the domestic talent to pull it off and I have to keep my jealousy in check.)
It’s a good thing to explain to kids when they’re little.  Thanks to the Berenstein Bears for giving it a name.  Give your kids a big hug when they say, “I’m feeling like the Green-Eyed Monster!”  because once they call it out, the monster moves on.

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