By Jenna Pennrose, Art by Gudetama
Do elements of our personality get shaped by the order of our birth?
Oldest (or only child)- As a firstborn myself, I can say that I took plenty upon my own shoulders as a child, and I thought of myself as the moral leader of my little brothers and cousins. I had gotten the full attention of my parents and grandparents from the beginning, and I was used to it. This caused me to develop in precociousness and maturity.
You may find your first born to be responsible, bossy, domineering, sensitive, competitive, spoiled, a natural leader, negotiator, and sometimes selfish. According to the Dr. Gayle Gross writing for the Huffington Post, "Because they have had so much control and attention from their first-time parents, they are over-responsible, reliable, well-behaved, careful and smaller versions of their own parents"
Tip for parenting an oldest child- Help your oldest child get clear on their own dreams, and then get behind them. Oldest children are in danger of taking on their parents' dreams and ideals at the sacrifice of their own. Do not live vicariously through them!
Middle child- My brother who was born second, poor guy, seemed to always get the short end of the stick in terms of attention. I distinctly remember him complaining about his elbow itching or being sick, and nobody paying any attention to him. Justice and moral character became a real passion for him, maybe because he did not feel like he was treated fairly in comparison to his siblings. I will also say, however, that he has grown up to be the most traditionally successful of the bunch (a highly specialized lawyer and tech entrepreneur), maybe because he had something to prove?
You may find that your middle child is easy going, content to play on their own, does not need their needs met as much, and so is more satisfied with little. According to Dr. Gross, "If you are a middle child, you are probably understanding, cooperative and flexible, yet competitive. You are concerned with fairness. In fact, as a middle child, you are likely to pick an intimate circle of friends to represent your extended family. It is here that you will find the attention likely lacking in your family of origin. As a middle child, you receive the least amount of attention from family"
Tip for parenting a middle child- Carve out specific time to spend one on one with your middle child. Whether this be a meal, a day at the park, or a trip to the grocery store, make an effort to give your middle child your undivided attention!
Check out this book to help maximize the raising of your middle child...
The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities
Youngest child- The youngest brother in my family is naturally the coolest and most charismatic of us all. Fashion forward and charming, he excelled in social situations, but was not fond of anything that required responsibility. He has always had the help and support of his two older siblings to scaffold him whenever he needed to do school work or be responsible, so as a result, he hasn't fully developed organization or executive functioning skills.
You may find that your youngest child is less affected by psychological rigidity, taking on less of the energy patterns of the parents or older children. Younger children are cooler, ahead of the game socially (and in sports and games), and are more laid back. According to Dr Gross, "If you’re the baby, your parents are already confident in their role as caregiver, and therefore are more lenient and don’t necessarily pay attention to your every move or milestone as they did with your older siblings. Thus, you’ve learned how to seduce the crowd with charm and likability."
Tip for parenting a youngest child- Make sure the innocence of a long childhood is not cut short by trying to be like their older siblings. Keep the same timeline that you did with their older brothers and sisters, and don't let them grow up too fast!
Check out this book on keeping the whole family woke and conscious....
The Awakened Family: How to Raise Empowered, Resilient, and Conscious Children
Where do YOU fall in the birth order of your family? Are these true for you and your siblings or your children? Let us know in the comments!