Monday, May 5, 2008

The plight of the older sibling

Parenting a perfectionist
“We did become stricter with Joshua after Justin was born,” says Ken Jones, father to the Jones boys — Joshua is 13, and Justin is 11. “I think I was a bit rougher on Joshua. He had to do things more perfectly.”

As the Jones family, who lives in Corona, Calif., has found, and the new research confirms, being a little tougher on the oldest kid in the family often turns out a kid like Joshua — the stereotypical rule-abiding, responsible first-born.

The study showed that older siblings were much less likely to drop out of school or, in the case of girls, get pregnant, than the youngest in the family, perhaps because they’ve had a lifetime of being held to higher standards.

That stricter parenting style often shapes the first-born kid into a play-by-the rules perfectionist, so parents tend to rely more on their oldest child than the younger kids, says Kevin Leman, a Tucson, Ariz., psychologist and author of “The Birth Order Book.”

“When a job needs to get done, it’s the habit of the parent to call on the first-born, because they’re the most reliable and conscientious,” Leman says. But it's no accident that the oldest has become a responsible wonder child; it's the parenting strategy that made them that way.

I have 3 younger siblings, no wonder I'm so perfect! Thanks Mom and Dad. Click here for the rest of the story.


Texas Truth said...

I was the oldest son, but second in line from the top. (older sister, me, younger brother, younger sister). I think I am the only one who turned out okay.

MathewK said...

I'm the younger one and i admit, i'm much more of a screw-up than my older siblings. What i'd like is for parents to apply the same standards to both their children, which is not the same as making them do the same things.

Beth said...

Hey Texas Truth, I was second oldest, too, and I also turned out the best out of four, although my older sister is close.

My youngest sister is clueless.

Tapline said...

AA, Well, this was different....I was the youngest, My older sister would say we are the "Alpha and the Omega" The beginning and the end. She got the brains and I got what was left. In reality I had it easy. Everyone watched out for me......I did nothing growning up. It was done for me. Consequently, when I finally grew up with 4 children of my own I finally realized there was more to life than 3 hots and a cot. I went back to school, and it was difficult, Working full time and going to school full time. Finally completing 17 years of School. Thank God for a loving wife who stucked with me through the good and the hard times. I stuck with this because through High School No teachers said you should do something with your life, not one.... I also had an older brother, 16 years my senior who thought I shouldn't have been born. So,,,I showed them all, I would make something of myself. I completed school and became a supervisor,,,then I retired.....and I do ramble.....stay well...

The Griper said...

i got a feeling it has more to do with age itself. think about it. as the first born the parents have more time to train you but as others come they must divide their time up more. plus the added work that is involved with more than one kid. and the oldest is expected to help in the raising of his siblings.

along with this comes the two working parents so who is left to raise the younger kids?

Seane-Anna said...

I'm the baby of three. I guess that explains why I'm so imperfect! :)