Monday, March 21, 2011

Birth Order and Parenting

I have read quite a bit about birth order and how it plays a significant role in the roles/personalities/emotions of people. I have also read quite a bit about parenting... not nearly enough, though. Can you ever know enough about something this complicated!?!?
I am the 2nd of 4 kids. So, technically, I am a middle child. I think that I have quite a few characteristics of a middle child. I married an only child, so I often leave the "only child" / "first born" stuff to him (like decision making, rule enforcing, super social stuff...).  I am seeing a lot of the birth order personality traits coming through with my three girls. I am also seeing how those traits impact their relationships.
I am currently pondering the idea of how my birth order (as the mother) may be impacting / screwing up / influencing my children and the people they are becoming. The thing that I am struggling with is how I am parenting my children differently... Am I? Should I be? Should I not be? Am I totally screwing them up?
A few thoughts that are running through my head:
-It is difficult to parent a first born.
-It is difficult to watch an only child parent a first born (they are so similar that it makes for an interesting combination)
-It is heart-wrenching to be a middle child and watch your middle child hurt (Obviously, it is awful for me to see any of my children hurting. However, it hurts my heart when I see her hurting. My oldest is so much better at expressing her pain and asking for what she needs to make it better). I just want to yell, "It is ok to ask for what you need! Please tell us what is making you so sad. What can we do to make it better? What is causing this anxiety?"
-It is easy to spoil the baby.
-I feel like maybe I treat the baby differently because of how much she has already had to endure in her super short life. Like she is our "special miracle", but that is unfair to the other girls. They are certainly miracles too.

So, what do I do?
Is it ok to treat your kids differently?
To take their personalities into account when making decisions?
To have discipline and consequences match their personailities?
To have higher expectations for one?
To hurt more for another?


  1. all of the above. Every child is different - because of her birth order and personality.

    Keep reading and learning and trying the best you can.

  2. I feel like it's hard with girls and boys too. I treat Blaire different sometimes because she is the baby and my sweet girl. So hard but I agree with Casey we just have to do the best we can. I take each day at a time and sometimes I fail miserably. I do wonder though if we have another baby if Blaire will be the in between kiddo and struggle with's all interesting.

  3. i have always loved middle children. they are some of my favorite people.

    i don't think my kids are at the age yet where i can say there are differences in the way i treat them. i'm sure there will be some, though. i can already tell tru's personality is more like mine and ty's more like darin's.

    i guess we just have to keep wrestling with the tough questions and, as has already been said, being the best moms we can be. you know i think you're doing a great job and probably much of what worries you is not even felt by your girls. they're going to turn out beautifully.