Make us your home page

Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Is birth order destiny?



pregnantbelly.jpgI have a friend who is looking forward to having her third child but fretting that this will now sentence her current baby to Middle Child Syndrome. Having been a middle child herself who felt bossed around by the oldest and neglected in favor of the baby, she worries about the baggage that comes with the middle.

Obviously there will be exceptions  to any of these birth order rules, but I have noticed that in general first borns can be bossy (and most CEOs and most of our presidents were first borns or only children). Middle kids do tend to be the people pleasers who mediate disputes (and tend to be entrepreneurs because of their ability to read people). And the babies of the families, well it's no surprise that most comedians were the youngest.

But I have another twist on this birth order theory, and it points to us parents.  I think what we call Middle Child Syndrome should be called Middle Parenting Syndrome. Look at this way:

First child (or only): Highly anticipated child, parents are very nervous and unsure of themselves, but also very devoted. This child is cherished and knows it. Child tends to deal well with adults and seems very grown up at a young age because there are no other kids in the house at first.

Middle child: Parents are more sure of themselves and therefore more relaxed. Child is sometimes more easygoing as a result. The kid gets dragged around to older sibling's activities and therefore learns to be more flexible. The baby book starts to get thinner as busy parents lose track and don't keep up

Baby: Parents are very confident and therefore yawn when the kid does something they used to freak out over. Creates an easygoing kid. They are also nostalgic because it's their last one so the baby book is packed with pictures and precious baby is the family entertainer.

See how parents create these syndromes? So rather than worry that you or your child is a victim of birth order realize you have the power to reverse it. Demand your baby do chores. Give your middle child some extra attention and his own baby book. Give your oldest permission to talk a day off sometime.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma

[Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 12:00pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours