Birth order refers to the order a child is born into their family. Many think that birth order has a lasting effect on the psychological development of a child. Keep in mind; birth order should be viewed as just one factor that defines and shapes a person within their individual family unit.
There are some generalizations that can; however, be applied to birth order such as the first child developing natural leadership qualities and the second child benefitting from the older sibling’s mistakes.
He or she, as a middle child, may be more prepared to handle the dynamics of family life, especially his or her parents. One generalization of the middle child is that he or she is lost in the shuffle. Some consider the middle child the peacemaker and a non-confrontational member of the family.
Some generalizations can also be applied to birth order and how it impacts a person’s parenting style. For example, the first born child often is brought up by nervous and overly protective parents. No other children are around so that gives that first child a lot of attention. This can be detrimental, especially if the child suffers from a traumatic medical event early on.
The traumatic medical event could cause the first child to grow into an overly sensitive person, struggling with future illnesses and always trying to be perfect when he or she becomes a parent. They can be perfectionists and enjoy rules that apply to their life and to those who live with them.
The oldest child exceeds as long as he or she continues to do well. However, if they become discouraged, they can draw within themselves and stop trying. As a first born, he or she often will be good at creating and enforcing routines.
However, when it comes to babies, there is often a challenge because babies have their own rhythm and needs. For example, you are tired and want to go to bed and sleep but babies are teething, crying and need comforting. This can be a challenge for first born children.
The middle child parenting often focuses on “fairness” and “unfairness” issues. The middle child, as they grow up, is often highly aware of what he or she perceives to be fair or unfair. Middle children who become parents are more inclusive and social, compared to first born children.
The middle child often will stand up for a child who is being treated unfairly; at least according to their perception. Perhaps the middle child engages in these actions because he or she has observed and learned from the first child on “what to do and what not to do.”
The youngest child is given instruction and help from his parents and his or her older siblings. Because this child has many teachers, they watch and learn from all the mistakes their siblings make. The youngest child gets babied a lot. They learn early on to emphasize their helplessness so that the parents keep their attention on them.
The youngest parenting may not follow the normal rules and routines that their older siblings use on their children. The youngest parenting will often do silly things with their children such as making tents and splashing around with their children at the park. For some youngest parents, rules and routines are not to be obeyed. Therefore, their home life may be more chaotic.
The only child personality is often social, but often only with their parents. Because they are only children, they learn early on to engage in activities that adults engage in. That is, they learn early in that the only way to live is to live as an adult, fully prepared to meet the needs of the day.
As an only parent, he or she will have no experience with sibling rivalry or fighting; therefore, an only sibling may over-react if their kids are physical with each other. Because their children may be overly reactive during the days and nights, they may need more time alone to recharge their battery.
To conclude, birth order refers to the order a child is born into their family. Do you see similarities to your birth order and how you function as a parent?