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The Birth Order Thing is Real!

According to birth order experts, the first child encapsulates all your hopes and dreams for the future. Because they are the first, your life is totally taken up with them, and they are totally taken up with you. They don't have any older siblings to stare at or to watch, they only watch you.

Thus, they tend to become the overachievers, the ones who want to please the parents. They have strict standards for themselves, and are far more likely to be perfectionists than other kids.

When the second one comes along, though, the parents are looking for something else. They want someone who can meet their emotional needs, instead of their dreams in the long-term. So the second born is a little more carefree. And it makes sense, because as a baby they're not primarily being stimulated by over anxious parents. They're watching a toddler fall all over themselves.

Nothing is set in stone, of course, but this is a pretty good guess as to what your children will be like.

And mine fit it to a T. Rebecca is my overachiever. It's hard to get her to do something if she's afraid she may fail. Right now the homeschoolers are trying to put together a soccer team, and though she loves soccer she doesn't want to play because she doesn't think she'll be good enough. But they need her for the numbers!

My Katie, on the other hand, I have to push to get her to try and do something well. One I have to push to not try so hard; and one I have to push to try at all.

Often Katie's schoolwork is sub par, and I know she could do better, but she rushes through it. And Becca? She tries too hard.

One thing that we're really struggling with Katie with right now is piano. She can play by ear, so we have her taking lessons to learn to play by chord sheet. But she's also taking the traditional lessons, and she hates counting. Just hates it. She cries when we make her count, and she whispers it, and I just can't understand it. Can someone have a learning disability about counting? Someone who is three grade levels ahead in math? Does that make any sense?

I hate the fact that we always butt heads over piano, and I always lose my cool. But she drives me nuts sometimes. She's my cuddly baby, and she's the one that in some ways is my emotionally close one, but Rebecca is closest to my personality. Rebecca is more the one that I understand, because I am a firstborn, and my husband is a firstborn, and my mother is a firstborn, and my father is a firstborn, and Keith's father is a firstborn, and Keith's mother was the last girl followed by a string of boys that she had to raise, so she has firstborn tendencies. And then there's little Katie that none of us can figure out.

It's not her fault. And I do love her dearly. I just don't know how to motivate her because we are so different. So that is my main topic of prayer this week: how to mother her better. I don't think I'm doing a good job when it comes to motivating her for piano or schoolwork because I can't figure her out. So if you could say a prayer for me, and leave a comment, that would be great!

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At 9:26 AM , Blogger Tracey said…

I too totally believe in birth order. I was the last born, but have many "only" child characteristes because of the age differences in our family. My husband is a typical middel child (thank God).


At 9:37 AM , Blogger Jen said…

So glad to have found your blog...I loved your column when it was in the local paper, (so real and honest), and missed it when it was gone.

I have always wondered about the birth order thing, as I had always been told I was not a typical middle child.
Hearing your explanation I am seeing some of these traits in my kids.
2 boys then 2 girls...and it is almost like raising two first borns and two second children. Neat, to see the reasoning.

My second son sounds similar to your Katie, when it comes to piano...he had such an ear, he would listen to something...(like theme for Little House on the Prairie, and the one for Mario games), and just pick out the song on the piano. He'd work away until he had it perfect. We decided to get him lessons to give him the theory side of it.
It was fine, but he could read notes from school, and suddenly, something he loved to sit an hour or more at a time and do, became a chore....and he wasn't having fun with it anymore.
We decided after a year, that, since music was supposed to bring joy and be fun...we'd stop the lessons. He was getting the theory in school anyway, and learning saxophone.
I know for my second born to do really well at something, he has to be passionate about it, and the lessons seemed to be stealing his first love for the music....I figure, if he wants to become a concert pianist, his passion will lead him there, and he has the basics to pursue that....otherwise, I want him to love music and have it bring joy to him...whatever instrument he ends up choosing...guitar is his latest focus.
By the way, he started enjoying piano again and spending time at it, when it was no longer a chore.

This may not help with your situation, but I can relate to the frustration.

Praying for wisdom for your's different for every family after all.


At 10:26 AM , Blogger Dena @ Green Acres said…

I always find birth order discussions fascinating, because my oldest are twins...identical twins. They look identical, but their personalities are as different as night and day.
They were delivered in an emergency c-section, and had they been born naturally, I think the order they were delivered would have been different. Because the one delivered first by c-section is my more laid back, easy going, carefree child, where as #2 in the delivery is a perfectionist, very driven, and very hard on herself. So when it comes to the topic of birth order, mine appear to be reversed. Is that due to circumstance or are they just "backwards"? I don't know.


At 12:21 PM , Blogger Juls said…

My first is the sweetest little girl, who wants nothing more then to serve people, travel, and let her dreams carry her. I believe whole heartedly that she will do and be everything she dreams.
My some...WOW! He makes life fun and he is way more snuggly.
Avery has a free spirit where Paiden always longs to be near me.


At 1:41 PM , Anonymous Farrah said…

So true! Wonder what they say about a 3rd child...


At 5:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

But how does the birth order thing work with triplets? I always wondered that!


At 1:00 AM , Blogger Julie said…


I know you've posted about this before, and maybe I'm just from a different planet ;0), but...

Are the piano lessons really That Big of a Deal?

Couldn't each girl play the way (method) she learns best? Yes, I know the difference (I play myself). But is this going to be her life's work, or a hobby?

Just asking - not judging,


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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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