I have eight siblings, and not because my parents were fundamentalist Mormon or practiced the Rhythm Method. My parents have both been married and divorced a few times, and my Dad had kids with each of his first three wives.
Three kids from the first marriage, two kids from the second marriage, and four kids from the third marriage. We’re all connected and spend time together, but growing up the bulk of my time was spent with me and my sister. (We’re the second set.)
I was the oldest and fit the mold. I was the responsible one, and put in charge of taking care of my sister. She was the baby, and there’s nothing my Mom won’t do for her. I had to do a paper on birth order back in college and boy, are we textbook in so many ways.
When it comes to our own kids, as much as we try not to make their family experience different because of their birth order, sometimes it’s just the way it goes.
Our oldest child, a son, is wired in many ways like I am. He is cautious, he is responsible, and he has no problem being a leader. Because he is the oldest and is old enough to be left in charge of the other two when I run errands, it kind of feeds into those characteristics.
Our third child, a daughter, is the “baby” of the family. We don’t “baby” her as many do, but some of it happens due to her placement in the family. She is the youngest and has different needs. She is also a girl, which causes different needs than her brothers. She has two older brothers who have been put in charge of looking out for her, so she’s used to being taken care of.
Our second child is the stereotypical Middle Child. His older brother gets attention for being the oldest and his younger sister gets attention for being the baby. We give him responsibilities of his own and he gets some “baby” attention for being the youngest boy, but it’s not quite enough. He is very much a LOOK AT ME, kid, as so many middle kids are.
How has birth order affected how you treat your kids? Do they fit the profile, or are they breaking stereotypes?
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