I was reading this article The Born Identity and got to thinking, I do believe there is something to be said for birth order. While that article is written in a country and culture foreign to me and many of you reading I think it still mirrors a lot of what happens in American homes.
The Oldest has more responsibility and Authority
The Middle is a bit lost in it all.
The baby is more free-spirited.
When my husband and I had our third child a few years ago we started to notice a change in our son, the middle child. He retreated a bit and was getting lost in doing just what his older sister liked and seemed to lack independence. We made sure to focus on him and help him find those things he loves beyond his sisters and is thriving and independent now. Along came our 4th child and wouldn’t you know it, our second daughter is the one who needs to find her feet. She is very dependent on her older siblings and parents and a bit lost in the middle too. We are helping her do the things she loves such as work books and reading with her and creative things.
So how is our oldest daughter the first born. She talks about remembering how it was when she was 6 years old and an only child and how she misses it use just being three of us. She is quick to tell us she loves her siblings but that it is hard being the oldest and having to be so responsible. They always want to do what she is doing and always want to have the same freedoms she has. Each child though has their own needs and so what is fair is not always the same for each child. Fair in our opinion is not always about getting the same thing or doing the same thing, it is about getting what you need and that might be different than a sibling. One child might need time outside and another might need extra help finishing up homework.
One thing is certain for us, our oldest child is the test child. We have relaxed more with the younger children in some ways. There is a new commercial on that shows a first time mother in a restaurant trying hard to nurse a baby under a blanket and then the same mother a few years later at the same place opening nursing her baby confidently with no cover and when the waiter notices what the baby is doing she simply says “eyes up here” and the screen pans over to the older brother. It is a disposable diaper commercial and one of the best I have ever seen. I love it. I think it is the luvs commercial? I have only seen it once so I could be wrong. Does a more confident mother have something to do with how birth order affects children?
I can’t give you a study showing that birth order theory is true. I can however give you an example in my own family.
First Born – Me Married Young, 4 children, happy.
Second Born – brother in and out of jail, not married, and finding his way.
Third Born – little sister – Fun loving, had a baby with a guy who left her, and now married to a girl she adores. Daddy’s Girl
My Step Siblings
Oldest – Now married, also 4 children, going back to school.
Middle – Did school but now seems a bit lost, not married, no kids, two cats, 30 and physically injured. Still finding her way?
Third born – once the sweet one, now married to the mother of his second child and happy but not what I would call the sweet one anymore. Daddy’s Boy
I see patterns in my own family and others. In my siblings and in my own children.
I have to wonder how it works with large families and many children all growing up together! There are simply just so many factors I know but there is something to birth order shaping ones personality and life.