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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jealousy and the Eleven Plus

As the eldest child of the family enters the eleven plus year these is often a shift within the family. All concerned are aware that the eleven year old needs considerable attention. The problem is that that not all the family feel that this is fair.

We remember the section in Othello (Act 3 Scene 3) where Iago tries to upset Othello and says:

“O beware my lord of jealousy,
It is the green eyed monster which does
Mock the meat it feeds on.”

The youngest could aggrieved that so much attention is being offered to the eldest – when for long it has been the preserve of the youngest to garner as much attention as possible. (The eleven year old eldest would call the youngest a little pest.) The youngest is always jealous of the privileges awarded to the eldest.

All middle children would feel resentful that they did not have the privileges of the eldest or the attention offered to the youngest. The middle child would also be burdened with those unloved Eleven Plus words: “It will be your turn soon.”

The only child will feel that there is simply too much pressure – and that too much is expected of him (or her) in the lead up to the eleven plus. There is no one to divert the attention of the parents. It is all very well remembering that the first born children go on to become astronauts, captains of industry and members of parliament. This does not help the eleven year to feel less jealous of children who are allowed more play time and contact with other children.

All parents can do is to try to keep the balance.

That green eyed monster does not go away simply because the child is in the eleven plus year. Jealousy does not remember the adult stating: “I treat all my children exactly the same way.”

How many second of third children are given the already used eleven plus papers?

The very prestige of being an eleven plus candidate is onerous enough without illicit manifestations of jealousy.

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