The Middle

Everyone takes it personally when it comes to birth order. After all, everyone is an oldest or a middle or a youngest or an only child, and even as adults we revert almost inevitably to a joke or resentment or rivalry that we’ve never quite outgrown.

Sometimes I laugh after having conversations with my brothers because I wonder how do three kids with the same parents, living in the same house, develop such distinct personalities and differences of opinion?

I realize after having my children that both children and parents alike are profoundly affected by the “constellations of siblings”; I now believe that no two children grow up in the same family, because each sibling’s experience is so different.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

I couldn’t help to remember this expression as I heard the common taunt First is the worst, second is the best…overheard on the playground.

I then came across a friend of ours that happened to be trying to teach two of his sons the value of team work.  It was funny to observe.  His eldest child refused to compromise and was stubborn while the second son did his best to try to comply to his father’s wishes.

We locked eyes for a second and laughed because as a parent it is fascinating to look at the similarities and differences between children in families according to the perspective of birth order.  Although many genetic and environmental factors contribute to differences between siblings, birth order definitely plays a role.

There are lots of expectations and assumptions about how birth order may shape our adult lives, and many of them go back ages.  Professionals like to debate whether there is any merit at all to birth-order philosophy.

But birth order isn’t the only factor that contributes to how a kid turns out, but giving it consideration might help us understand our kids’ personalities — so we can help them succeed in their own unique ways.

I started paying attention to the “birth order effect” and how it can mask differences in parental quality time received by the child. But how can we parent each birth order to the best of our ability (while dodging lasting psychological harm), especially in the dreaded middle position?

Every child has his own birth order, personality type, experiences, and learning style; consequently, students do not all learn in the same way. Since God did not design all children “learners” the same, kids benefit from a variety of instructional modes and should be taught accordingly.

First of all, no birth order is “better” or more desirable than another.  The way parents treat their children is as important as birth order.

Each learner has gifts and abilities, which need to be identified and developed. At the same time each learner has weak areas, which need to be overcome or compensated for in a constructive manner. To accomplish this requires an environment of mutual respect, which must be modeled for and expected from children so that they can appreciate and benefit from each others’ giftedness. Way easier said than done!

Instead of generalizing and exclusively categorizing certain sets of phenotype to birth order positions, it is more imperative that we go back to the thing itself and look into the discourses being made by the siblings.

There is a need to understand what has been said and talked about birth order based on the siblings own words. Looking deeper into the talks of siblings may give us a more first-hand account about the expectations, privileges, and limitations that are linked to their birth order position.

The wider impact of a person’s birth order is often underestimated. Where a child places in the birth order can have an effect on how we see ourself.  We as parents should attempt to help each child to see themselves as unique individual and avoid comparisons with siblings or others.

Live and Learn. We All Do.

Thanks for reading. Please pass this on to someone who means something to you.


About julia29

Hi. My name is Julia El-Haj. I am a Hall of Fame Athlete, an MBA, Professional Certified Marketer, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, a Specialist in Sports Nutrition and a licensed Real Estate agent. I gave up my "seat at the table" to be home with my 3 children because that's where I was needed most. I blog about everything with Wellness in mind.
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