Making Sense of Birth Order: Tips For Parenting Very Different Kids

My three children have the same parents; the same opportunities; the same challenges; the same dietary options; and the same DNA.

But they are not the same. Not even close.

birth order

As every parent quickly discovers, all children are wired differently. The A-HA moment for us came within an hour of Baby #2’s birth. The nurse brought her to us, wrapped in soft, plush blankets, looking so peaceful and gentle, and said, “Before I hand you this baby, I want to warn you – some baby’s are more difficult than others. You have to adjust. Just be prepared!”

With panic-stricken faces, we thought about her older brother, the shy, quiet child who would visit later in the morning. Then we looked at that baby-bundle and shivered. What had we created? Could they really be that different.

They were, of course. Baby #2 was NOT (unusually) difficult, but she was different than her brother. And later, when Baby #3 showed up, she was completely different from both of the others. (She showed up with a smile on her face, patting everyone on the back, just happy to be here).

I say all of that to say this – those parents who, like me, have several different children, should really take a few minutes to peruse THIS ARTICLE by Dr. Kevin Leman in the latest issue of THRIVING FAMILY MAGAZINE.

The article explores one of Dr. Leman’s favorite topics – birth order – and it includes some helpful tips for parenting kids with different personalities.

His insight into birth order and personality is almost creepy. Here is his description of conventional birth-order differences in kids:

  • Firstborns and only children: Reliable and conscientious, they tend to be list makers and black-and-white thinkings. They have a keen sense of right and wrong and believe there is a right way to do things. They are natural leaders and achievement-oriented.
  • Middleborns: They’re the hardest to pin down of all the birth orders, but they’ll be the opposite of the child above them in the family. If the firstborn is very conventional, the second will be unconventional. Middle children walk to the beat of a different drummer. They are competitive, loyal, and big on friendships. The middle child of the family is often the negotiator who tried to keep the peace.
  • Lastborns: These social, outgoing creatures have never met a stranger. They are uncomplicated, spontaneous, humorous and high on people skills. To them, life’s a party. They’re the child in the family who is most likely to get away with murder and the least likely to be punished. They often retain their pet name.

No kidding – Dr. Leman could have been describing my family. That’s why, for me, perhaps the most helpful part of the article is a section at the end where he lists 8 practical tips for parenting firstborns and only children, and 6 tips each for parenting middle and lastborns.

This is good stuff. It really made a different to me.

What about you? Do your kids follow Dr. Leman’s descriptions?

birth order 2

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One Response to Making Sense of Birth Order: Tips For Parenting Very Different Kids

  1. Kim Kahl says:

    This is soooo true! Crazy true!

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