Older son jealous of younger son’s grades
Final Excerpt From--
For Your Most
Challenging Discipline Problems
By Grandma Jeddah
By Grandma Jeddah
I have 2 sons, 5 and 6. They both do very well in school, Alhamdulillah. However, while my 5-year-old is always at the top of his class, my 6-year-old is usually among the first 5. Now I don’t have a problem with this but my older son does. I try to re-assure him that both me and his dad are okay with his performance in school, but I don’t think he is convinced. He thinks he has to be first all the time like his brother. The school makes it worse because the top students in class are recognized by the entire school with special gifts. This weekend, the school plans to take the top students on a field trip. My older son feels bad because he is not a part of it. I don’t know what to do. Should I stop my younger son from going on the field trip? How do I reassure my older son? Jazakillahkhairan.
It sounds like you are handling the problem with your older son in a reasonable way by accepting his abilities even though they may be less than his brother’s. The problem you are experiencing from your older son presents an opportunity for you to implant important life skills. We will all, at some time or another, encounter situations in which we feel inferior to others. It’s important for us to remember what makes one superior to another is his obedience to Allah.
Let both your sons know that it’s important that we strive to be the best that we can in our endeavors. Achieving accomplishments in this world is something that can help us feel good about ourselves. Accomplishments can also give us the desire to struggle harder and strive further. These are all good things. For centuries Muslims were known for being leaders and trendsetters in virtually all areas of learning, including science, math and social spheres. We want to encourage our children to excel, be productive, and do their very best. But we also want to make clear that none of these factors is what makes them superior human beings. There are plenty of people who are intelligent but lack morals. What makes us superior is taqwa--our fear and obedience to Allah.
When you teach your sons the concept that superiority is in obedience to Allah, it helps them minimize the superficial aspects of this world. It helps them put their deficiency into its proper perspective. This is not to say that your son will immediately develop positive feelings about himself regarding the academic issue. But it’s a teaching mechanism for life time skills . . . for when he grows up, insha’Allah.
There are some practical things that you can do now while he is young to help him feel better about himself. One thing you can do is contact your 6-year-old son’s teacher or principal to find out if they have other activities besides academics in class that students are recognized for. If they don’t, you can suggest to them ideas such as recognition for attendance, sports, character, etc. This gives students who may not excel in academics the opportunity to be recognized for other qualities.
Another thing you can do is develop incentive programs for your sons at home. Some ideas might be for the following:
Ø Going to bed on time for a week
Ø Finishing chores for a week
Ø Remembering to brush teeth in the morning before getting dressed, for a week
Ø Completing homework before bed time, for a week
Ø Reciting Quran every day for a week
You can present your own certificates and awards to your sons for completing these tasks. Or, you can reward them in other ways by taking them shopping for an inexpensive toy, spending extra time with them, taking them to the park to play, cooking a special meal, visiting amusement parks, etc.
For incentives and rewards, you might be interested in my e-book Good Muslim Certificates. Inside you will find 34 colorful, printable incentive certificates, many specifically Islamic based. http://shop.grandmajeddah.com/Discipline-without-DisrespectingGood-Muslim-Certificates-e-book-128.htm
If they both achieve success with the home incentives, that’s not a problem. What I mean is that you don’t have to focus on finding something that your 6-year-old excels in that your 5-year-old doesn’t. In fact, if you can find ways in which they can work together to achieve awards, that’s a positive thing, as well. This will take the focus off of competition and place it on cooperation, insha’Allah.
In addition to the above ideas, you can also do what the Prophet (saw) told us to do when we see someone who has more than us. Remind your son to look at the one below him. Mention to him some of the areas in which he excels others, including his brother (you don’t want to mention specifically that he is better than his brother, however.) This will help him to realize his own blessings, insha’Allah.
Keep in mind that your 6-year-old may continue to express his displeasure at not being at the top of his class like his younger brother. Some problems aren’t resolved overnight. Look at it more as a lifelong coping skill you are trying to instill in your son—how to be patient with jealous feelings, or feelings of inadequacy.
Regarding allowing your younger son to go to the outing, you should certainly allow him to go. He earned it, and he should be able to enjoy the success of his accomplishments.
Remember to regularly make dua asking Allah to guide you to the best solutions for managing your sons in this situation and others.
Order and read the entire book today, insha'Allah at: http://grandmajeddah.com/Discipline-Pearls-For-Your-Most-Challenging-Discipline-Problems-136.htm
Grandma Jeddah is the mother of 11 children and 13 grandchildren. She has taught hundreds of students for over 30 years at an Islamic school in Los Angeles, California.She is the author of, Discipline without Disrespecting: Discover the Hidden Secrets of How to Effectively Discipline Your Muslim Child--And Keep Your Peace of Mind while at It. Order her e-books at: http://www.grandmajeddah.com/