I really enjoyed the article! As the youngest of four, with the even more interesting variable of two of us being adopted (my brother and oldest sister), we’ve talked a lot about birth order and parenting. I know beyond a doubt that my mother favors her first-born, the third child. This has much more to do with the life choices my sister has made and how my mother respects her lifestyle and less to do with just being born first, IMO. She was also quite pretty as a child and was careful not to do anything that embarrased my mom, who really saw us as a reflection of herself.
I’m not jealous of the favoritism, and I’d say that maybe it’s even a burden for my sister, who can’t let her down. It’s a big responsibility to have that expectation. I, on the other hand, being known as the free-spirit (which falls in line w/ the article’s casting of the youngest), have the freedom to try and fail and try something else. I think my mom admires that freedom.
A bit a further, I think that who a child resembles and what that elicits in the parent, can influence how that parent reacts to the child. I look a lot like my dad, so my mom has a soft-spot, because she associates me with the charm she felt from him. It gets me out of trouble quite often. My sister, on the other hand, looks like my mom’s side of the family for the most part and that adds to the unspoken expectation that she will be successful and practical. To go deeper, I have some personality traits that are the same as ones my mother dislikes in herself, and so she can’t handle seeing them in me. I took that personally until I became an adult, not understanding why she reacted so strongly.
It’s all so interesting. My oldest sister has some health issues and is kind of free from the roles… but the next sister carries traits of the first-born, oldest and middle child. I fall right into the youngest role. My mom favors her first-born. I wonder, though, had I led a life she could identify more with, would the relationships be more balanced? My father and I were very close and had a lot more common interests and personality traits, so who’s to say. Did the birth order make the personality, which made the relationship. Or would the personality have been the same regardless?
We always joke: My sister says my parents had her and said, “Look how great we did! Let’s do this again.” And I say they had her and said, “We can do so much better than this!”
I can’t imagine life w/o them, no matter who got favored for what.