Among siblings, there are four basic positions and characteristics that children occupy, depending on their birth order. Do you know the key to understanding your third or fourth born?

What You Need to Know 

There are four basic positions in the family:

  • First-born, or “Child of the Father,” more attuned to the outside world
  • Second-born, or “Child of the Mother,” more internally focused
  • Third-born, or “Child of the Marriage,” most greatly affected by family members' relationships
    • born into a complex network of relationships, where children suddenly outnumber parents
    • focus on relationship issues, to feel connected to the others
    • first and most likely to be distressed by marital or other familial relationship difficulties
    • can also be stubborn and very introspective
  • Fourth-born, or “Child of the Family”, most concerned about how the entire family functions
    • aims to perceive and understand the family as a whole
    • tends to be expressive and loving, responding to any family member's pain
    • wants everyone to get along and is happy when the family is happy

Fifths start over as firsts, sixths pick up at second, and so on.

An only child is viewed as first.

Twin birth order is based on the family's perception.

How You Can Help

In consideration of your third born:

  • Give these kids needed time to retreat from the family, withdraw and observe.
  • Offer plenty of choices, especially to help them when they're “stuck” on a matter.
  • Maker sure you help them understand reasons “why,” as they learn best when understanding principles or connections behind a task

In consideration of your fourth born:

  • Make the connection between rules and discipline and how they benefit an overall family goal.
  • Try to cut this child's tasks down to size, as she is easily overwhelmed.
  • Give this child help in paying attention to details, since fourth children usually feel more connected to the big picture.

For more on this topic, please see the full article: