Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Birth Order Book

I bought this book for my husband as he has always been fascinated by family dynamics.  He's an only child and his parents aren't very close to their siblings for various reasons and I think that is why.

He doesn't read often but really enjoyed this book.  He spent most of the time reading it psychoanalyzing the rest of us and after quoting and summarizing large sections insisted that I should read it too. Before I even started reading it, I knew our kids fit the stereotypes for their birth order.  While this book is not meant as a parenting book, it can certainly be read as one.  The author encourages you to find out the birth order of the people you are close with (either professionally or personally) arguing that knowing their birth order will help you understand why they are the way the are, and then can help you relate to them.  Obviously that works with parenting as well.

His tips for our little family of 5
1.  It's ok to treat each child differently.  What works for one may not work for the others.  Also just because one child gets something (in terms of material stuff or privileges doesn't all need to get the same)
2.  Make as much time as possible for one on one time with your children.
3.  The middle child often feels squeezed or neglected between the oldest (who is often an ambitious conscientious child) and the baby of the family (who gets attention due to probably needing more help.  The middle child often feels they can't measure up to older sibling but also gets frustrated that the younger sibling gets away with things they can't.  Tip number 2 is especially true of child #2.  They really crave they attention that the other siblings get, and I have been trying to do more for my Little Hugger.  She's a sweet loving little girl, and I know when she acts out it's because she feels ignored.
4. Treat the baby of the family the same way you treated the firstborn at that age.  Meaning, don't let them get away with things just because they are the baby.  Give them responsibilities that are age appropriate so the older ones don't feel they are doing all the work, but also to teach the youngest that he needs to help out too.
5.  Make sure to take time to read to the youngest.  Story time at bedtime was a nightly occurence with our firstborn, and fairly regular with our second.  Unfortunately nighttime routines take longer and we often skip bedtime stories to try to get everyone to bed on time.  When that happens I do make more of an effort to read to him in the daytime when his sisters are at school, and to their credit they often read to him in the car.

None of the above tips are earthshattering and I could probably have come up with them all myself, but sometimes it helps to get a reminder

It was an interesting read although I have to say that while most of the people I know fit their birth order type right on, I don't feel that there is a very accurate portrayal of the second born of a two child family - me.  I don't fit the regular baby mold, and am in many ways (but not all) a first born type even though I'm only 2 1/2 years younger than my sister.

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