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Title: Does Birth Order Make a Difference In Our Children?

Category: Positive Parenting


      In reading Kevin Leman's  book, THE BIRTH ORDER, a few times I am convinced that birth order does have a remarkable affect on personality.  It affects the way our children act and think, their relationships with their peers, and with their future bosses, their choices of friends, and even the type mate they will chose.      Typically a first born child gets a large amount of attention.  They are usually quick to crawl and walk for their parents and are anxious to do everything well.  The parents frequently over- parent, over-restrict, and over-protect these first borns.  Because of this the first born will usually be an over-achiever, easy to discipline and a perfectionist.  The parents notice everything that first child does; their first word, their first two words put together, their first step, etc.  They will have piles of family photo albums of that child.  Then along comes the second born.  Suddenly all the excess attention ends and the first born must adjust to having another child in the home to share Mom and Dad's attention.  The second born doesn't have to perform up to the standards of the first born and usually doesn't.  The parents are not as anxious to say "My child walked at age such and such or talked at age such and such."  So the second born grows up under a lot less pressure.  They usually have less picture albums.  They decide right off that they don't want to compete with their "over-achiever" first born sibling who is perfect at everything.  They are usually not into over-achieving and are less likely to seek a perfectionist professional career such as engineering, accounting, or architecture as the first born.  They are usually very social and get along well with others.  They usually have lots of friends.  They are frequently mediators, particularly if they are sandwiched in between a first born and a third born.  Second borns can certainly be outstanding and they frequently are, but usually in different areas than their first born sibling.

      Third borns are frequently "the baby" and get lots of attention.  They tend to be spoiled.  They are usually engaging, precocious, and persuasive.  They are very hard to say no to and make very good salesmen.  They know how to use social skills to their advantage.

      What can parents do to help each of these unique children who are different because of their birth order?  Remember that each birth order has it's weaknesses and strengths.  Since first borns tend to be perfectionists, we might strive as parents to tone them down a little.  Remind them to take brakes and not let them push themselves.   Remind them that you as a parent are not perfect and that you have failed and that it's ok for them to fail.  Hopefully they will balance themselves out as they grow up and not be an ultra-perfectionist with problems associated with that characteristic. 

      Middle children simply need to be reminded that they are special and unique.  Though it's true that they may have less pictures in the album and seem to receive less attention they must be convinced that they are just as important and just as loved as their older and younger sibling.  Since they are not driven by perfectionism and since they have lots of friends, they probably don't need as much help to find a happy balance in their lives.  Occasionally they may need a nudge of motivation to push them along in the areas where their unique talents are special.

      The third child or baby, since he is usually spoiled, needs to be taught responsibility.  He certainly doesn't need extra attention, he usually gets plenty.  He does need a little more structure in his lifestyle and to be taught that one way or another he is responsible for his actions and his future.

    Being good parents means being a little different and providing a little different parenting style for each of our children.  In Proverbs it says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  One way of interpreting this is to train up a child according to his unique needs and to help him grow up healthy, well-balanced, and ready for the world mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Understanding the unique personality of each of your children can only help you to be a better parent to each of them.  I suggest you read Kevin Leman's book and several other good books in this field.