By Dr. Kim Grengs, Parent Coach
Do you ever wonder why your children are so different, but have the same biological parents? I do! I have three children, the youngest is 18 and the oldest is 23; two boys and a girl- she is the oldest. They are all so different in many ways, so what I would do for one to help and support would be different than the other two. Why are my kids so different? Is it because of their birth order or how I parented them- or both? I always thought that I would be better at parenting with each child. I was totally wrong.
All three are very different in temperament. For example ,my daughter was very strong willed and still is to this day. My middle child is very driven in being the best at everything and will push himself, sometimes too hard, to be the best. And my youngest, who was the one that had tantrums as a toddler, is my most mellow young adult ever. He goes with the flow and doesn’t let much bother him at all. So as I was realizing that my children were all very different and had the same mom and dad, I looked into birth order.
So is it true that birth order has an impact on children? Birth order can have a big impact on a child’s emotions and actions. Because of where they are in the family order it may cause them to have different experiences. For example, parents have high expectations for the first born because they have nothing to compare it to so they shoot for the moon. An example of this is thinking my oldest would be potty trained by two and by the last child I was happy if he was potty trained by four years of age.
OLDEST CHILD (DAUGHTER):
A trait of the oldest child is taking on the leadership role. My daughter also took on the parenting role when her brothers were born. She wanted to hold and feed them, and change their diaper like her parents.
MIDDLE CHILD (SON):
The middle child is doesn’t get the attention like the first born because there are two children now instead of one. So the middle child finds a way to get the attention from others, which may be friends or others. My middle child did exactly that and still has an intimate group of friends that he has had since fourth grade. They also experience the older sibling getting attention for trying new things that they are unable to do yet and the youngest getting attention because they cannot physically do the same things as the other two. Being the oldest boy, he took on the leadership role too. He is ambitious and studies all the time. But when we have a family meeting or disagreement he is always the first one to try and make peace with everyone.
YOUNGEST CHILD (SON):
- Fun Loving
Last, but not least, the youngest child is usually the crowd pleaser. They usually were coddled from the older siblings and given a lot of attention based on their birth order. On the other hand, parents were more lenient because they have more experience in parenting. As a result of having two other children the youngest usually was expected to go and do whatever everyone else in the family was doing. This gave them the opportunity to reach out and be social with more people than the other two. This explains my third child because he is the one that is very social and outgoing. He is the best at communicating with others and will go out of his way to say hi to people.
Why are my kids so different?
The lesson learned for me is that I need to respond differently with all of them. How I respond needs to be unique to that child. The best thing a parent can do is to provide each child with their own time and making sure to know them as individuals.
If you still feel like you need more support or a listening ear please know that parent coaching may be the perfect fit for you. Parent coaching is available to support you with another perspective and help you make confident decisions in parenting. Schedule your free consultation today!
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