Do you find yourself dealing with stereotypical parenting issues from child to child because of birth order? You’re not alone! Parenting educator Patti Propper Aretz gave Breezy Mama the personality traits that are typical with people based on when they came into their family and tips on how to parent accordingly.
If you ever need to jump start a conversation, ask this: “What number child are you in the family?” You will be off and running. “#1,” (a serious expression flits across the eyes). “Middle child.” (eye roll goes with that). “The baby!” (big smile). “Only,” says the one who was very adept at talking to adults and putting a napkin in her lap early.
Oh boy, everyone has something to say about their birth order experience. Well, here’s what I’ve learned.
Every burp, every smile, every milestone or pebble is meticulous recorded in a leather bound hurricane proof volume. We have one eye on our friend’s baby as we gauge our new miracle’s progress. Our dreams are pinned on numero uno.
As they grow, their traits are typically: leadership, cooperative, organized, ambitious, and academic. 22 presidents are firstborn sons. (Don’t let that scare you).
No matter how old #1 is when #2 comes along, they are now, “big.” “You are a big brother,” we say to the 20 month old staring at us with the leaky poopie diaper sagging down his thighs. “What a great big sister you are!” we exclaim to the 2 1/2 year old between tantrums. Our expectation of greatness never waivers.
-Be careful of reinforcing perfectionism as a goal. Big uh oh.
-Don’t jump up to examine every little scratch. Allow him to learn to self-sooth.
-Do not pile on the responsibilities as other children join the family. He’s not “the little man,’ when Daddy’s not around, and she should not “know better.” They are entitled to be children and make mistakes.
-Keep your dreams to yourself. They are entitled, obligated to have their own.
We seem to have #2 and often stay focused on #1. How will they take the new baby? Will their forgiveness cost us a new bike, an American Girl doll, the Wii? Your focus is on the growing family you all share in. Everyone takes part in welcoming the new baby into the family. #1 will adjust better if you low key the gift portion of the first few weeks and focus on the loving one for all and all for one motto.
Middles need pictures too! When they are older they will look for pictures of themselves. Make sure you have them.
Typical traits of #2: diplomatic, independent thinkers, they have reasonable expectations, they can keep a secret. If you are #1 obsessed, they can be sneaky.