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Old 08-12-2017, 05:20 PM
 
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Bada Bing, Mike.


Our theory is proven.


;-)
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post

By the time there are 4 kids in the family the last one gets away with murder as the parents are exhausted and burned out on the first three. In my own family I've seen this repeated for two generations, and in related families.
There are only three kids in my family, but I know my sister and I felt like Mom was much easier on our brother and had different rules/expectations for him than she did for us. Funny thing is though, now that we're all adults, he's turned out to be the one who's the most well-adjusted and "normal"......our sister and I both ended up having a lot of issues.

Last edited by Diane de Poitiers; 08-12-2017 at 09:52 PM.. Reason: forgot to add something
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:55 PM
 
Location: The World
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I'm the first-born, and my mom always expected a lot out of me academically and otherwise. She was very hard on me about behavior, expected me to get straight A's, required me to do a ton of chores and expected me to take care of my younger brother a lot.

My brother is six years younger than I am and has always been the "baby." He was really a "problem child" even when he was very young -- things like not listening at all, refusing to eat unless it was junk food, getting in trouble in elementary school and being sent home, etc. etc. I can't imagine what would have happened to me if I would have done even a tiny percentage of the crap that he did, but he always pretty much got away with it. He's turning 23 this year and is still babied by my mom more than ever.

Along with being the "baby," though, I think there's more at play. My mom lost her first son (I was four at the time) when he was a baby. Then, she had a very, very high-risk pregnancy with my younger brother...they weren't sure he'd make it. I always wonder if that's part of it.

Also, as I'm thinking about it now...my parents' marriage was never necessarily "good" from what I can understand, but it started to get bad while she was pregnant with my brother and after. I wonder if taking care of her baby helped her through that or something? Who knows.

Last edited by lkmax; 08-12-2017 at 11:09 PM..
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:05 PM
 
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I'm sure what your mom went through had a lot to do with how she parented your brother, he was especially dear to her given the circumstances.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
The Curse of the First-Born Child is what I call the family dynamic where the first-born has all of the parents hopes and dreams heaped onto him or her. Often the parents live vicariously through this child, who really gets all sorts of attention, pressure and push to succeed, as if the parents get a merit badge for having high achieving kids.

I've seen many first-borns who are either big successes or big failures, rarely an average so-so outcome; usually either heroes or neurotics.

By the time there are 4 kids in the family the last one gets away with murder as the parents are exhausted and burned out on the first three. In my own family I've seen this repeated for two generations, and in related families.

It certainly doesn't happen in all families, but I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this sort of family dynamic, or if it's recognized as such by family counseling professionals.

I was the first born and none of that happened to me. I am the tallest and smartest of the four of us. I am the only one to graduate college, but I did that on my own. I am the only one to have two successful careers and retire with two pensions. One brother died dead broke and the other two don't have much of a future. As my youngest brother says, his retirement is death or disability. But you are right about getting away with murder. Number four had it easy compared to the rest of us.
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:31 PM
 
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Default A firstborn child’s inherited guilt trip

There's an article in the WaPo today that aligns pretty much with my thesis here....eldest daughter expected to tend to her parents, little sister is off gallivanting around Europe. Link to article click here.
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Old 04-06-2018, 03:54 PM
 
Location: The analog world
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Eh, I'm a Gen-Xer and so is my husband. As a generation, we were basically raised by wolves, so I'm not sure this paradigm applies to my generational peers.
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Old 04-06-2018, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
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None of what posters here jibes with my life experience. I am the first born, and while I am definitely responsible, I am not an over achiever! That does describe my second born sibling, though. Although her achieving is in line with her high functioning brain, so, she has not actually over achieved. Youngest was a bit spoiled, but is responsible and is quite self reliant.

Of my three kids, the oldest is responsible and is a humanitarian. My second is a excellent parent with a good disposition. My third is a self starter, career minded person, who also does charitable work for a third world country.

A few generalizations about birth order are probably valid, but I don’t think dependence and dysfunction are among them.
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Old Yesterday, 07:58 PM
 
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Thanks for all the replies so far...today my wife found something that lends support to "the curse" as I call it.

For sure this is not present in all families as each one is different and now there's a new book out called "The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why" by Dalton Conley, Director of Social Science Research at New York University. Among the findings:


- Those with the worst chance for financial success are middle kids and kids with skin darker than siblings.

- The struggle for parental attention in large families creates identities that stick throughout life.

- Kids from large families feel more pressure to stand out by achieving more or by rebelling and making trouble.

- In families with 3 or more kids, there is often a drastic difference in the kids' financial outcome. One sibling tends to be a lot richer than the others.

- When it comes to divorce, it's hardest on the oldest child. Especially if the eldest child is a girl, because she often takes on more housework, cares for younger siblings, and gives emotional support to the single parent. That oldest daughter often gets trapped in that sacrifice role and ends up having a harder life than her younger siblings.

- In families with a stay-at-home mom, brothers get more college degrees than sisters. When the mother works outside the home, those differences disappear.


These are not rules, just statistics based on hundreds of thousands of families studied.
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Old Today, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^I find that last the most interesting of all. In today's world, there are more women than men in college. I guess it's all the working moms these past few decades.

The experience of my husband's family and mine are similar, but different than the "conventional wisdom" about older kids/younger kids. In both cases, the oldest (DH's oldest brother and me, respectively) went to college for "career" education, engineering and nursing, respectively. DH (#3) and my brother (#2) went to college to "learn". DH ended up with a PhD in physics, my bro ended up with a bachelor's in history as his highest degree. One time shortly after he graduated my bro asked rhetorically "what good is this degree" and my mom answered that it showed he could do the work and persevere. That was never the goal for me! Her goal for me was a profession.

DH's oldest bro ended up with an MBA for his highest degree, the middle got a BSEE, and then DH got his PhD because I think his parents had the same ideas as my mom for the first two. By #3, they let him follow his abilities and interests more.

Just some anecdotal evidence.
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