One of our most popular topics has been Birth Order, and its fascinating and predictable results on our children’s personalities. Here is an overview of the basic positions in the family.
- Firsts, or oldest, can be serious, responsible and over achieving/bossy. They want results. "Child of the Father"
- Seconds often more emotional, may feel overlooked, can be trouble-making. They want to "fit in." "Child of the Mother"
- Thirds are worried about relationships and sometimes viewed as "spacey." They want choices. “Child of the Marriage"
- Fourths are concerned about the entire family functions. Often spoiled, indulged, never give up being "the baby."
- Fifth children start over as first, sixth is second, and so on.
An only child is viewed as first.
Twin birth order is a matter of family perception.
So what are firstborn children like?
Firstborns tend to focus on the parent who makes an impact in the world – in traditional families, the father. They often are the focus of intense, high expectations. With a first child, parents set out to prove to themselves and to the world that they are capable of being successful parents. Firsts tend to uphold family values; they use logic and order to make sense of the values.
What specific things can parents keep in mind to make it easier to parent firstborn children?
Firsts have trouble making sense of the whole. They tend to focus on details. They often have a particular need for clear expectations. Parents should reassure them they are loved for who they are, not what they do. Otherwise, they tend to feel inadequate. They may appear distant and non-expressive emotionally, but have the same need for affection and approval.
How about second children?
Remember, if you are a 6 th child, you would have the same characteristics as 2 nd children. Seconds tend to focus on the internal, emotional life in the family. They identify with the parent whose presence is most significant within the family - in traditional families, the mother. Emotionally they can become overwhelmed or confused about whose feelings they are feeling, like a radio picking up to many signals. Seconds may be sensitive to discrepancies about what people say and how they feel.
What should parents keep in mind for second-born children?
Second children need discipline based on clear, explicit limits. It's often best if parents are emotionally low-key. Seconds need their parents to help them make sense of the emotional world -- what people say and how they feel. At times of difficulty, they need affectionate reassurance that they hold a special "place" in the family.
For more information on relationships, call 553-3000 or toll-free (877) 553-3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted with the permission of the Heartland Family Service. © 2008 Heartland Family Service
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Graduation Inspiration: Top 10 Graduation Quotes
- Child Development Theories
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory