Sunday, February 8, 2015


    ('Hello beautiful faces' photo)

There are many theories regarding how our personality and attitudes are affected by where we are in the family line-up, and there are always exceptions to the above commonly observed behaviors.

If you are a parent you will remember the heavy responsibility you felt when child number one arrived.  For one thing, even though in your own family you may have had younger siblings, when it comes to your own child it is a whole new ball game.  You have great expectations of yourselves as new parents as well as high expectations for that first child as he/she develops.  You often have to admit you really don't know what you are doing, never having been a parent before. By the time the second or third child comes along, parents are much more relaxed and often older siblings are heard to say, "It's not fair!  Johnny is a spoiled brat.  He gets away with everything."

My oldest child, a son, is a rather serious boy, always keen to do the right thing.  When he was only 5 years-old I used to say, as he went out the door to go to school, "Be good."  One day the teacher told me to stop saying that because she found him sitting there, cross-legged, frightened he would do something wrong!  Oh dear!   He was also a perfectionist.  Many a half-finished assignment was screwed up and thrown in the trash before he was really satisfied. (This was before the age of computers!)  He felt responsible, hardly ever put a foot wrong at school, liked to please and he obeyed rules.

Our daughter was/is easy-going, strong-willed (which worked out well in the fact that she never gave in to the temptation of taking drugs or doing other vices).  She is flexible and sociable, generous, and doesn't back down when she feels strongly about something.  When there are three or four children, the oldest is expected to be a good example and the baby gets most of the attention.  Those in the middle are suddenly not the baby any more and often feel lost in the mix especially same gender children.

The chart above says that a third child is more likely to be a risk taker.  Parents often hover over them to the point that they may not develop much initiative.  Child three has the benefit of parents who are now more relaxed and perhaps have less time to be quite so protective.  The results show that this child is more likely to be outgoing, funny and competitive. 

Only children often have similar behaviors as first children.  Sometimes they find it difficult to see themselves as anything but the center of the family as opposed to being part of the family.  This is partly due to parents having no other children to share their time with.  Only children are usually more adept with speech and often reflect the fact that they have grown up with undiluted adult company.  However, there are some only children that are very 'babied' and act immaturely because everything is done for them.

I think my children have very different personalities in many ways and this does seem strange when they both come from exactly the same family environment and have grown up with similar parental expectations.  However, each child is born with a different temperament and this affects their personality development, but this doesn't account for every difference.  Perhaps birth order really does have more effect on our children's demeanor and behavior than we realize!

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC


This article, posted and shared over 86,000 times on Face Book, has sparked off a tirade of positive and negative comments from the public, both adults and teens.  The judge is responding to teens who are bought before him in court, complaining that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go, intimating that this is the reason why they get into trouble with the law!

Here are some responses.  Many talked about making their own fun and one said that if they complained about being bored at home their Mom very quickly made a list of things for them to do around the home.  One girl said that she was so busy mowing the lawns she never had time to 'build a raft!'

The Judge was really addressing kids who got into trouble because of a lack of effort on their part to be useful and productive citizens at home and in their community.  The following comment from one teen blames others for not encouraging inspiration.

                 "DON'T YOU SEE? This judge and this college principal are the cry babies. All they do is 
                  just whine to be handed a different, better brand of young people. They just demand that 
                  the world be different, but they don't want to motivate or inspire. They don't want to lead 
                  by example. It's just self-righteous and bigoted. These people should be collecting money 
                  for a basketball court or helping school kids to understand math instead of barking their 
                  'mow my lawn'.


  1. Be great positive role models to your kids.
  2. Be interested in your kids' lives and support and encourage their endeavors.
  3. Teach each child the world does not revolve around them.  They are part of the family. 
  4. Create clear expectation that each family member helps in the home.
  5. Give kids value by acknowledging their contributions to the family. 
  6. Praise them regularly.
  7. Give kids time and encourage one-on-one talk times so kids can express their feelings.

  1. Fulfill your parents' expectations without complaining.
  2. Understand that when everyone helps with family chores, everyone gets to have fun.
  3. Appreciate that by learning to do household chores, your parents are preparing you for  adult life.
  4. Realize the household does not revolve around you, but that you have equal value within the family.
  5. Talk to your parents regularly and ask for their help and wisdom.
  6. Thank your parents for supporting you.  This gives parents value, too.  Believe me, they need it!
Written by Sally and Brian Burgess, Forefront Families LLC