- Family and Parenting
How Children Are Affected by Their Birth Order
BIRTH ORDER, ONE OF THE MAJOR INFLUENCES IN A PERSON'S LIFE
Celebrated Oldest Children
Roles Children Assume Within the Family Constellation
This was not meant to be a hub. I was writing this piece to answer a question nevertheless, here is my hub. A child's place in the family constellation is one of the main determinants besides socioeconomic class and education which the type of person a child becomes. Birth order definitely influences children. Firstborn children were first the center of their parent's universe; however, another person arrived and he/she is dethroned. As a result of this, the firstborn later develop characteristics of overachievement, being a leader, and being a helper. As Teri Joseph in Soul Food said to the middle sister, Maxine, " I am the oldest, I am the responsible one!"
In small to medium sized families, the firstborn child assumes the role of leader and executive. In medium -large, large, and very large families, the firstborn child, especially if she is a girl, is assigned as in loco parentis or a surrogate parent. .These roles are usually forced upon firstborn children of large to very large families and as a result, the firstborn children begin to resent their parents and younger siblings. Such firstborn children begin to resent their leadership status, viewing it as onerous. This leads to many firstborns want to avoid leadership roles at all counts. Many firstborn daughters in large families resent and/or hate their mothers for placing them in such a predicament. Famous firstborns include James Franco, the late Helena Rubenstein, Hillary Clinton and William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, Penelope Cruz, Jane Fonda, Vanessa L. Williams, Juliet Mills, Mira Sorvino, Susan Sarandon, Kim Wayans, John Stamos, Luci Arnaz, Liza Minnelli, Marisa Berenson, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Joan Hart, Vanessa Redgrave, Patty Davis, Michael Douglas, and Victoria Principal.
The middle child is the least individualized child in the family constellation. He/she is always known as so-and-so's older sibling or as so-and-so's younger sibling. He/she is not known for himself/herself. As Jan Brady, the quintessential middle child laments, " It is always Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" In medium-sized families, the middle child is not usually overshadowed by his/her older and younger siblings and some parental attention to paid to him/her. However, in medium-large, large, and very large families, the middle child or some cases, middle children can be overlooked by their parents and overshadowed by their older and younger siblings. Many middle children have no sense of self and develop into non-entities, fading into the background because it is safer that way. However, quite a few middle children become very attention-seeking and vocal in order for them to be noticed and not to be overlooked. Famous middle children include the late Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, M'onique, the late Charles Bronson, the late Grace Kelly and her son, Prince Albert Grimaldi, Sarah Jessica Parker, the late John F. Kennedy, the late Richard Burton,the late Bob Guccione, Donald Trump, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Gabrielle Union, and the late Ronald Reagan.
The youngest child in the family is the baby. This is it, no more children. Parents usually baby their youngest child long after he/she can reasonably take care of himself/herself. In small to medium size families, the youngest child is not babied so much. However, in medium-large, large, and very large families, the youngest child is babied, pampered, and spoiled, not only by the parents but their older siblings. Youngest children in large and to very large families can be described as bratty and attention seeking. They often do not have the responsibilities that older siblings have and they often do get away with murder. Since their older siblings have taken center stage so to speak, youngest children either rebel and try new ground or they just coast along in life, believing since everyone in the family did this, they do not have to make an effort. Many times the youngest child in a family is bullied by older siblings who resent taking care of them and/or for the attention and adoration they receive from their parents. Famous youngest children include Mark Wahlberg, Janet Jackson, Ben Stiller, the late Marlene Dietrich,the late Anne Frank, Mel Brooks, Robert Clary, Tommy Davidson, Eddie Murphy, Goldie Hawn, Lana Wood, Barry Williams, John Travolta, Dr. Wayne Dyer, the lateTed Kennedy, Nicholas Turturro, and Kathy Griffin.
Yes, the only child. While the only child is the MOST maligned birth order, it is the most individualized of birth orders. Furthermore, the only child is the freest birth order in that the only child can develop his/her human potential to the utmost. The only child is not pigeonholed into rigid, familial roles as the firstborn, middle born, and youngest children are.
The only child has nothing to fear for when he/she is born, he/she broke the mold. The only child will never be dethroned and will always be the center of their parent's world. As a result of being surrounded by adults, the only child is very mature and adult-like from a young age. Also only children has an advanced vocabulary as a result of being around adults. Only children either feel comfortable in the company of adults and/or older children. Being with same aged peers and younger children are not the only child's cup of tea. Only children also are superconscientious, superambitious, and inordinately successful because of high parental expectations.
Only children are also the most independent and individualistic of all birth orders. Only children are quite comfortable being alone for long periods of time. Only children are the children who can contentedly play by themselves and they are highly creative and imaginative more so than children with siblings. Famous onlies include Charlize Theron, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Aniston, Robert DiNiro, Maria Riva, Betty White, Swoosie Kurtz, Cynthia Nixon, Kristine Davis, the late Margaret Truman, Chelsea Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, Rudolph Giuliani,the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Natalie Portman, Alicia Keyes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nancy Reagan, Judy Licht, former anchorperson, the late Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, Laura Bush, Megan Mullaly, Larry Hagman, the late Susan Pleshette, the late James Brown, Robin Williams, Jerry Lewis, Anthony Hopkins, the late Hedy Lamarr, the late Carroll O' Connor, and Melissa Rivers. In summary, a child's place within the family constellation is one of the most influential determinants in developing his/her present and future persona.
CELEBRATED MIDDLE CHILDREN
CELEBRATED YOUNGEST CHILDREN
CELEBRATED ONLY CHILDREN
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams