My childhood friends and I were sitting outside one day when suddenly, one of us pointed out, “We’re all a different kind of kid.”
He went on to explain that he is the youngest child, I am the oldest, another is the middle, and the last one is the only child in our respective families. We talked about how our different positions in our families lead to us gaining different views of the world and ourselves.
While there is already a bunch of psych research on stuff like this explaining why we feel or act a certain way, it was still really interesting (and amazing, in a small way) to compare it all. I got to share the roots of myself and more importantly, I was able to gain more insight on other perspectives.
I’ve talked about this topic with several people and below are some snippets of some of our conversations. I feel as if they are better conclusions of what being the oldest, middle, youngest, or only child means.
“I feel burdened.”
“It’s unfair because I had to learn everything on my own. Nobody helped me.”
“I’ve noticed that my older siblings are not very affectionate, or at least, they don’t show it.”
“You always have to give in. Somewhere along the way you forget how to put yourself first.”
“I end up being a people-pleaser.”
“Do you end up getting ignored?”
“I’m not super good at one thing.”
“They gang up on me!”
“I wanted to be like my older sibling. I copied everything they did. I followed them everywhere.”
“I had to watch my older sibling get to do everything first.”
“My parents always ask me where I’m going or who I’m going to be with. They don’t ask my older sibling.”
“I get babied all the time and sometimes my siblings get jealous about that, but I also want to be included in important talks and decisions.”
“I just do whatever I want.”
“It gets lonely sometimes- vacations can get boring.”
“You just start doing things on your own.”
“It’s nice sometimes. I never had to share anything, you know? Toys, food, attention, love…”
What kind of a child are you?
Does your position in the family impact who you become growing up?