Birth order personality triaits.

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Birth order personality triaits

It is easy to wonder how two children from the same family can turn out so differently, with completely different personalities and ways of solving problems. Recognizing the immense influence of family dynamics on young children can clear up a lot of the confusion. For example, eldest children look to their parents as role models for their behavior, and may become perfectionistic as parents expect them to act like little adults. Middle children may become more dependent on peer approval and their friends because they tend to get relatively less attention within their families. And youngest children may use humor as a way of securing their parents' attention.

However, birth order actually plays a subtler role than the above examples may suggest. Not all middle children are very gregarious and social, and not all youngest children play the clown. Before assuming that because your middle child is a perfectionist, birth order cannot play a role in your family, you should take a look at some of the factors that may influence how birth order affects your family. Most important is the spacing of children. If children are more than five years apart, it is more like the parents have two separate families than as if they have two children, an oldest and a youngest. You can expect your ten-year-old to act like an only child, your three-year-old like another oldest child in the family, and your one-year-old to act like the youngest. This is because birth order influences personality the most during the first five years of life. By the same token, if a child is adopted after the age of five, he or she will tend to retain the birth-order characteristics of his place in his original family.

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"Special children" can also play an important role in the family dynamic that may partially offset other factors. A "special child" is, for example, the only girl in a family of five, or a physically or mentally handicapped child. Essentially, any child that receives a disproportionate share of family attention is a "special child." With special children, parents need to pay specific attention if there is a middle child just older than the special child. Much attention that might have gone to this child will likely be diverted by the special child, and this is something that parents need to ...

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