Today is National Siblings Day. I learned only recently that this day existed; but it’s fitting, because exactly one year ago, on this day, I gave my daughter her first and only sibling. In the year since he has been born, I have thought many times of stories my mom told about how I regressed to babyhood at 2 1/2 when my sister was born. Lucie is 2 years and 3 months older than Asher, so the age difference is similar. She’s jealous, but she also loves her brother. Sometimes, she loves him so much she scares me — especially when she hugs him so tight she chokes him! Even if we don’t always get along, I wouldn’t trade my siblings for anything — and I hope my children feel the same way about each other.
Our siblings can make a difference in how we see ourselves — it takes a younger sibling to make you the oldest, and so on. I have two siblings myself, and I am the eldest. My sister and brother and I are all surprisingly stereotypical representations of our birth order. I’m curious to see if my children follow suit.
According to the Child Development Institute, this is what your birth order may say about you:
Because the oldest child used to be an only child, they are often used to being the center of attention. Sometimes the oldest child will respond to the birth of the second child by feeling neglected. They may act out by regressing or by misbehaving to gain attention. Oldest children may feel superior; they can be controlling and have a need to be right all the time. At the same time, the oldest child strives to please, and can be protective and helpful.
A second child may act as if they are in a race, trying to catch up with their older sibling. They rarely have their parents’ undivided attention and are always behind their older sibling, so they may take on the opposite personality traits as a way to differentiate themselves. They may be a bit of a rebel. If a younger sibling comes along, the second child may feel squeezed out and may push down other siblings.
Middle children may feel life is unfair. They have neither the rights of the oldest or the privileges of the youngest “baby,” so they may feel they don’t have a place in the family. They can become discouraged and a problem child, but they are highly adaptable, and will learn to deal with both the oldest and youngest sibling. Middle children of three may be more competitive than middle children in a larger family, as in larger families children learn to cooperate.
The youngest child behaves very similarly to an only child. They can become spoiled and pampered as “the baby.” When they do not get their own way, they feel as if they are being treated unfairly and may refuse to cooperate. The youngest may also play “divide and conquer” between other siblings and their parents to get their own way. If the youngest of three, they can ally with one sibling against another, often the oldest against the middle.
Where do you fall in birth order? Do you fit the stereotypical traits of birth order?