It was the face that launched a thousand… memes?
When cameras caught Giants quarterback and two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning watching older brother Peyton lead the Broncos to a final touchdown sealing their win in Super Bowl 50, Eli had a seemingly dejected look on his face. The Internet dubbed his expression “Super Bowl face,” and fans shared memes poking fun at Eli’s forlorn countenance while the rest of the family celebrated. Here’s one of the memes:
Eli Manning.. pic.twitter.com/u9JUxkMyHK
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) February 8, 2016
And here’s a Vine of Eli in the midst of the celebration:
Was Eli really jealous of Peyton’s success? Of course not. Eli was watching the game like a quarterback on the sidelines. He was watching and waiting to see if the Broncos were going to go for the two-point conversion, a move which ultimately gave them a commanding two touchdown lead.
But that so many fans interpreted Eli’s expression as jealousy suggests most people have some personal experience with sibling rivalry. So for those parents who are currently helping their kids through the in-fighting and competition associated with brothers and sisters, let me share five ideas on how to cope:
1. Teach mutual respect.
Don’t allow your children to insult one another. Words are extremely powerful, and cuttingh comments can damage deeply. Experts say every negative comment needs at least five positive remarks to even out. Teach your children to be kind and to appreciate each other.
2. Do not play favorites.
All children are created equal, but not all children are the same. Recognize and praise each child’s individual skills, strengths and accomplishments without implying that one child is somehow better.
3. Teach conflict management.
Don’t deny your child’s feelings, but help him learn to express emotions in an appropriate way. If you see your child acting jealously, encourage him to identify the emotion by saying, “I understand that you feel bad because…” or “I know you hurt because.…” Helping your children figure out the causes of their actions will help them learn how to deal with problems in the future.
4. Reward good behavior.
Notice your children playing nicely together and reward them with praise. Be sure each child receives adequate parental interest and quality time.
5. Show appreciation for who your child is, not what he does.
When a child feels valuable merely for his performance, he will feel the need to prove his worth. Instead, praise your child for his God-given traits such as compassion or a tender heart. By fostering their self-esteem you’ll help your children learn to respect themselves and others.
These five points were gleaned from the first article in our excellent online series, “Sibling Rivalry: Teaching Kids to be Kind.” I highly recommend you check out those articles! Another Focus resource on the topic comes from our parenting podcast, which explored sibling rivalry in “Managing Sibling Conflict” – you can listen to part one and part two online.