Does Birth Order Matter?
Whether they're first born, in the middle, the youngest, or the one and only, children all have personality characteristics associated with their birth order.
The Middle Child
A child born second (or third or fourth or fifth) is put in a very different position than the firstborn, if for no other reason than his parents have had a child his age before and are more experienced in the fine art of parenting. Parental attention now needs to be divided, and there is an older sibling’s standard for the younger child to live up to, so it becomes clear why middle children are raised in a different environment.
To make the concept more concrete for parents of more than one child, consider whether you’ve ever learned from mistakes you made the first time around and changed your approach to such basic parenting tasks as sleeping, feeding, tantrums, or toilet training. For those of you who are middle children, try to recall if you were compared to your older sibling in school, in your athletic abilities, or in any other way. When it comes to middle children, personality characteristics seem to be less easily defined, but one thing is clear—middle children tend to move in a direction that is different from their older sibling(s) and often look outside their family to find a group (often of peers) in which they can feel special.
As you raise your own middle children, it will help to remind yourself every now and then that first and last are not the only positions of importance in the family. Try not to use your older child to set the standards of comparison for your younger children, and try to rise to meet the challenge of stocking the family photo album with as many photos of your middle children as you did with your first!
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