Does birth position really make a difference?

There are lots of theories about how birth order influence relationships, roles and developing personalities in siblings.

The oldest child has more responsibilities at home: helping with chores and looking out for the younger siblings etc. They tend to be more domineering because they learned to follow the parents’ lead while they were only children. When the new baby (the second child) is born, they experience loss: loss of attention and sometimes property. Parents are stricter with the oldest child: "you should know better, you are the oldest." Parents are also more careful and cautious with the first child; they are more worried about their health and cautious that they don't get hurt.

The middle child also gets a lot of attention while being the baby in the home, until the third child is born. It is believed that middle children are more competitive. They often try to acquire the same skills the older sibling has already mastered.

Because middle children are not the oldest or youngest, they feel they are denied privileges because the oldest child is more likely to be trusted with chores and responsibilities and the youngest is favoured.

The 'baby' gets more attention for a longer time. Parents are often more relaxed and lenient with this child. But youngest children have parents plus older siblings looking out for them and correcting them whenever they get the chance.

Theories has it that middle children have low self-esteem as they are viewed as the sibling who got less attention, but in many cases middle children have proved this theory wrong.

Theories also suggest that the oldest child is the responsible one while the youngest child is the relaxed sport of the family. Once again this theory isn't proved to be correct.

The roles of the children, their unique personalities, parental behaviour and parenting styles play a major role in the sibling dynamics. No two children are the same, just as no two families are the same.

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