Birth Order and its Consequences!

Birth Order Matters!

Ever since my girls were born, I have noticed almost on a daily basis how very different they are, and how my parenting has had SO much to do with it. I find myself scolding Cidnée, for example, for being so cautious, when with every breath I am telling her to be careful.

With Danielle, I am annoyed at her lack of organization and 'laissez-faire' attitude, when it was me who let her get away with it in the first place as I never had enough time to enforce good clean-up policy when she was little.

So many facets of my children's personality and habits have been groomed by my parenting and I believe I know why they are the way they are. Birth order has much to do with it, and birth order has everything to do with the way a mother and father parent that particular child.

In giving birth to Cidnée, I remember being incredibly overwhelmed by such a huge responsibilty. I worried about everything. Everything! Is she too hot, too cold, is she in pain, why is she looking at me like that, is she getting enough to eat? Not that I don't worry now, because I do, but certainly not like before. I remember how a sniffle or a cough could send us running to emergency with Cidnée bundled in our arms. Doctors were less than patient with us, but humored us all the same. I could very rarely relax when she was a baby. I recorded everything she did in a journal. She ate at 6, she burped at 6:30, she pooed at 7, she slept at 7:30...I'm sure you get the picture. When I brought those journals to the well-baby check-ups, I'm sure my doctor was trying hard not to laugh out loud.

I was also very adverse to letting her cry. Crying was not something I could listen to, and Cidnée learned very fast how weak mommy was in that department. As most mommies very well know, babies are very astute and, well, I paid dearly for my weakness. By the age of 6 months, Cidnée held me prisoner and it took until she was 2 years old to finally find the strength and willpower to make her an independent human being who did not need her mother for everything.

Upon reflection, I realize that my inability to let her experience natural human emotions, left her feeling insecure about herself and how she could soothe herself when she needed to. Something I had tried very hard NOT to let her feel. But her security was always found in me, and that robbed her of a very important building block in life. Security in oneself. And do not be fooled, this is a building block that begins early in life and is extremely important. And don't forget, this mistake that mothers sometimes make with first borns, can also rob a father of his ability to be an independent parent when he needs to be. This is another connection I have made. Of course in time, fathers rebond with their children and the bond grows strong quickly, but the pain and suffering that we went through to show Cidnée her independence is just not worth it. And believe me, suffering and mental pain is what we went through.

However, regardless of all that, at 6, Cidnée is a wonderful little girl. She is smart and sweet, helpful and kind. She never fights with her friends and has been awarded the pencil of 'good behaviour' several times throughout the school year.

But Cidnée is also a little worrier, just like her mother. She is afraid to climb too high, terrified of hurting herself and takes very little risks in life. Though this trait in her is a relief at times, I know that it will hold her back in life and so her father and I are slowly trying to undo what we have done. When she falls on the pavement and scrapes her knee now, we try not to make a big deal out of it because she makes a big enough deal herself. And when she is trying something new, I try not to yell out 'BE CAREFUL!!!', although the words are always at the tip of my tongue. I would never want to change who Cidnée is, never. But I know that her fear was fostered by me and that is what I am trying to change. And little by little, we are seeing it come about.

My regret about Cidnée's younger years is that I worried so much about everything, that I couldn't enjoy anything.

When Danielle was born, my life was hectic. Cidnée was difficult (as mentioned above), and I simply did not have time to be the same mother to Dani as I was to Cidnée. Now there can be two sides to that coin. Danielle was the most independent baby. She slept on her own, rarely cried and was altogether a very 'whatever' baby. She was content on her own, or in someone's arms, and those arms did not have to be mommys. We marveled at her and felt so lucky to have such a wonderful baby who demanded very little of us. It was a huge change and we took full advantage of it.

As Dani grew, she stayed the same. Loving and calm, and really funny, and she never really asked anything of us. I was still wrapped up in the nuances of Cidnée and the act of trying to extract her from my arms 24/7, so I never had the chance to teach Dani the same things I had taught Cidnée. And when I did teach her things, if she refused to do what I told her to do, I would usually let it go, because I didn't have time to make her do it, and I would tell myself, 'she is so good anyway, it doesn't matter this time!'

Today Danielle is still the loving and calm child of her early years. She is very outgoing and unafraid of new people or situations. This, as a parent, is very scarey at times because we need to instill in her that she cannot trust everyone without making her afraid. But what we know of Dani is that if a stranger asked her to help him look for a cat, she would not think twice. We are currently working with her on this. She is not really great at cleaning up or helping around the house, but we are also working on that.

One thing about Dani is her devil-may-care attitude. She falls and picks herself up again. She rarely makes a big deal out of it. She doesn't necessarily watch where she's going and so injures herself much more often than her older sister, but she lets it go and doesn't dwell on it and that is a wonderful thing.

My regret in Dani's younger years is that I didn't have the time to enjoy her, because I was too busy worrying about Cidnée, but I am certainly enjoying her now.

Now with my little Maksim, I like to think I have changed. And I honestly believe I have. I don't often worry, I play with him and forget the housework for a while (something I have only just begun to be able to do). I take him everywhere and don't pay mind to any kind of schedule pertaining to naps and such. I leave him with his grandparents so I can take care of myself at the gym, and though I think of him constantly, I know I need to let him be with other people so that he knows that others can care for him and that he will be fine no matter what. I let his father give him a bottle and I don't feel jealous that Maksim enjoys it, and I let him fuss in his bed because I know he's tired and that he needs to sleep. I'm not sure what this kind of parenting will turn out in Maksim, but I know for me that I feel a lot better about it and life is good.

Birth order is certainly a factor in how our children relate to the world around them, there is no doubt about that. Though there are things that I wish I wouldn't have done in raising my children, it must be a universal parental mistake or else there wouldn't be so many books written on the subject. So the next time you're feeling guilty about how you may be responsible for your child's behaviour, remember, there are millions of parents who did the exact same thing as you! Including me! :)

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Comments 8 comments

Auntie Corey 7 years ago

Hi Megan, I can relate with your blog on the first two babies, but their own personalities will dictate to you how it will play out. My firstborn, Caitlyn, had and still has a very strong will, where as Madeline is and was always sweet and willing to let Caitlyn have the spot light. Now they are 25 and 23 respectively and both I can still say the same things about. You will discover as your kids grow that you will never be able to treat them in the same manner, where one punishment works it is simply an inconvenience for the other. Life is never dull when you have kids! Wait until you have six and see what life brings!! You realize with a smirk that the 'little things' are just that...

Love ya.


mom/dad 7 years ago

yAgain, Megan, good writing. Most mothers will be able to relate to this. Aunty Cory proves it out with her comment and I will prove it out with mine. Ally-strong-willed and cautious; Shawndra, easy-going and not demanding. Since we had a mix-up by having Ricki and Kathy - Ricki, demanding; Kathy, loving and easy-going. We had it twice. What is it? Birth order or parenting or both? Interesting question since with the first child, everything is new and you are just learning. They break the way for the others the whole way. The others come along and sorta' follow the pattern and since the eldest already did that and freaked you out, you aren't so freaked out when the second and third do the same thing so they get an easier time of it. Thus, the difference in personality? Good conversation. Love you, sweety - mom


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

This is a really good hub, you write very well.

I wonder, though, if you might be taking too much blame on yourself for mothering "wrongly" when you did nothing of the kind.

My mother, for example, strongly believed you can't spoil a newborn baby (up to 9 to 12 months) and with all 4 of us, didn't let us cry, and we spent a lot of time in a sling on her front. We all turned out different, but none of us were clingy or cautious.


megs78 profile image

megs78 7 years ago from quebec Author

Hey LondonGirl

Thanks so much for commenting and the compliment on my writing, I really appreciate it.

It is certainly a fault of mine to overthink things and to analyze maybe a little too deeply at times. But I figured since I can put those feelings to words, possibly I could let someone else who is feeling like me at ease knowing that they are not alone in their thoughts.

I also realize that my firstborns personality has a lot to do with her cautiousness, I just don't think that I helped with being so cautious myself and so worried all the time.Thanks again for your words, they are encouraging! :)

Megs


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California

Very nice and interesting insights. I love Canada; I spent my Honeymoon over twenty years ago in beautiful Quebec and now I sell books to Canada. You might like my Hub on Drawing Easter Rabbits with your Children. Great pictures of you and your children, by the way! -Garnet


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney

I'm not a mother but I can see both sides of the coin here - I think it's probably a mix if inborn personality and parenting. I'm one of four girls and parenting certainly played a part - my parents started out as old-fashioned, strict Scottish parents and got progressively less strict with each arrival (probably due to lack of time!). My oldest sister had no freedom at all, and my youngest sister had too much of it, and both were the worse for it. But hey, no one prepares you for parenting - it's just the way life is.


megs78 profile image

megs78 6 years ago from quebec Author

I agree with that Marisa. The same thing happened in my family. and I think that its true to say that we get less strict as we have more kids because we do have less time to enforce rules. I can see it happening with my children, though I am forcing myself to fix it. Parenting is certainly not simple. Thanks for commenting!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Dear megs78: Birth order is such a fascinating subject. Most parents are inexperienced and cautious with their firstborn as the firstborn is "the trial child." A parent is new at this time and he/she wants to raise a perfect child as the parent has more children, his/her attitude becomes more relaxed. As the youngest child arrives, the parent's attitude is been there, done that!

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