Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Parenting Tips Based on Birth Order

As the firstborn in a family of five girls, I've always been aware of how my role has shaped me into who I am today. There are many firstborn characteristics that I have because I had my parents sole attention for 18 months and then had to help with four younger sisters as they grew up. Words like: perfectionist, reliable, list maker, organized, driven, leader, critical, and unspontaneous match my personality well. I recently read The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Lehman and learned how birth order can affect marriages and parenting as well.

Parenting tips based on birth order

 There are many variables that can affect your actual birth order such as spacing, sex of the child, adoption, blending families, special needs, sibling death and even birth order of the parents. We have two boys followed by one girl. This means that our daughter is not only the lastborn but has characteristics of a firstborn as she is the first girl. A space of five or six years can create a new "family" too! The order in which you are born is just one of the influences that can affect personality traits.

Parenting tips based on birth order

In regards to parenting, Dr. Lehman offers tips for parenting each child in your family. It is important to note that every birth order has strengths and weaknesses and hopefully parents can help children by encouraging the positive traits and working on their struggles.


1. Watch your "shoulds" when disciplining as firstborns often struggle with perfectionism. Firstborns are very sensitive to criticism.
2. Don't improve everything they say or do.
3. Understand that firstborns need to know the rules.
4. The firstborn should get some special privileges (like staying up later) for more responsibilities.
5. Have one on one time with the child.
6. Make sure that younger children also get some of the responsibilities.
7. Let your child know about your own imperfections and apologize when needed.
8. Prepare your child well for the arrival of the second (put toys aside that baby can't have, point out what that baby can't do, and allow the older sibling to help).
9.Avoid comparisons.

*Those struggling with perfectionism need to learn to work towards seeking excellence instead; go easier on others and you will lighten up on yourself as well.


1. They often feel like everyone is controlling their life so need to be able to make decisions.
2. May need some time to share their feelings if they are an avoider.
3. Give some special privileges and new items rather than hand-me-downs.
4. Listen to their answers to try to figure out the whole story as they may want to avoid others getting in trouble.
5. Get photos of the middle child for that photo album and not always with another sibling.
6. Understand that they will likely be quite social and that friends are very important.

*Middleborn personalities are difficult to pinpoint but they often influenced most by the child above them.


1. Lastborns often feel that nothing they do is important–recognize what they do.
2. Make sure the lastborn has responsibilities around the house.
3. Be sure to remain consistent with the amount of discipline and expectations–the youngest often gets away with a lot more.
4. Don't forget to read with the youngest child.

*These tips are to try to build up responsibility.

I enjoy learning new parenting techniques and perspectives and this was an easy read. There are several chapters dedicated to firstborns and the struggle with perfectionism that I found interesting as a firstborn who also expects a lot from my own firstborn. Finally, Dr. Kevin Leman offers insight into how birth order affects marriages–did you know that marrying someone with a different birth order is often the best combination (especially firstborn women with lastborn men)? Did you know that lastborns tend to struggle living on a tight budget? Did you know that middleborns have the best record for lasting marriages?

What is your birth order? Do any of these tips ring true for you?


Pin here for later:
Tips and tricks on how to parent each of your children based on birth order.


  1. I am such a stereotypical first born, and I think Henry will be too. Brayd is also the oldest and so far it works ;)

  2. Nice article, thank you for the sharing