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It is believed that older children should take care of younger children, and younger children should help older people. If a child is the only one in the family, then, as many people believe, she is lazy and capricious. Many psychologists have spent years studying the psychology of children living in large families. There are different types of sisters and brothers, which can be divided into children in the order of their birth, offering on the basis of rich practical and theoretical material and thinking about this little-studied problem in psychology.
Importance of Knowledge of Birth Order
It is known that the character and future destiny of a child is influenced not only by genetics, but also by the "position" of the child in the family, i.e. the presence or absence of siblings and the order of their birth. The order of birth is a factor that determines the patterns of behavior of children depending on their age relationship with siblings. Freud's follower Alfred Adler was the first to single out "order positions." He included the following:
the only child;
senior in the family;
the youngest of two children;
the youngest of three or more children.
According to A. Adler, each position determines the differences between people in character, attitude to themselves, other people and the world. The order of birth is important to consider in the context of a particular family situation and the natural inclinations of the child. It only determines the child's propensity for a certain pattern of behavior, not determines it. According to A. Adler, the position of the firstborn is special, as long as he is the only child, "the center of the universe" in his family (“What to Know About Birth Order”). Receiving boundless love and care from his parents, he enjoys his safe and carefree existence.
The appearance of the second child dramatically changes the situation, causing shock and surprise to the firstborn, even psychologists call this moment "overthrow from the throne." And if the difference between children is less than five or six years, the impact of stress is multiplied (Voo). After all, all the child's feelings at this point are reduced to the idea that her place in the heart and thoughts of the parents was taken by someone else, and she herself lost her boundless power over them. In addition to age, the situation is complicated if the second child is of the same sex as the firstborn. When it comes to personality traits, researchers say that older children usually:
responsible (and the sense of responsibility may be inflated, which in some cases leads to excessive anxiety);
tend to follow the rules;
they learn better (their IQ tests are almost always above average, due not only to high intelligence, but also ambition, desire to be first, strong motivation to succeed) (“What to Know About Birth Order”).
Usually, it is on the first child that parents experience different, often contradictory, educational measures, which can lead to emotional instability of the firstborn. In addition, firstborns are usually prone to perfectionism, the roots of which lie in the feeling of neglect and loss of parental love after the birth of a young child. To facilitate the child's transition to the role of senior, psychologists recommend:
create a personal space for the child;
provide tactile contact;
abandon notations on the topic "well, you're older";
allow you to openly express your feelings (Voo).
Psychological and emotional development is extremely important to the child. It is vital for parents to keep balance regardless of the birth order. By understanding and applying the roles depending on the children’s age, a parent creates a safe and accessible environment to the child on all levels.
As we can see, every child is born in certain conditions that affect his emotions, behavior and character traits. When raising an only child, it is important to remove the burden of inflated expectations and allow the child to choose independently: friends, hobbies and hobbies. Since the only child is deprived of the opportunity to play the role of "teacher" and "elder" for their younger siblings, psychologists advise that her friends include not only peers but also children with whom she will feel like an adult, smart, strong and caring. But no matter how many children in the family, experts recommend building a separate line of relationships with each child, try to pay enough attention to children and emphasize their importance.
"What To Know About Birth Order". WebMD, 2022, https://www.webmd.com/parenting/what-to-know-about-birth-order.
Voo, Jocelyn. "Birth Order Traits: Your Guide To Sibling Personality Differences". Parents, 2020, https://www.parents.com/baby/development/social/birth-order-and-personality/.
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