Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our Middle Child

One of the things I worried about the most with being pregnant is that Abigail would become the middle child. I majored in Psych and I remember studying Adler's theories on birth order. It was pretty interesting how birth order and sibling relationships contribute to personality traits and self-esteem. I started reading all I could about "middle child syndrome."

The first step to avoiding it is to be aware...done! I know that having 3 kids will mean less individual attention. But I think this is where being a teacher is going to be so helpful; I'm used to not only dividing my attention, but being able to pinpoint who needs what (and quickly) is a strength of mine. Within the first few hours of being in a classroom I can spot who needs what. I love the saying that fairness isn't giving everyone the same thing; it's giving everyone what they need. My babies are going to need different things...that has been apparent with just having 2 (very different) girls! I can say that I am very in-tune with their needs and I feel very confident that that will continue.

The second issue I read a lot about was how to avoid favoritism. This is a little tricky, because I identify more with Audrey at this point. I basically like 4 better than 2, lol. I empathize with Audrey more when Abigail does something to piss her off. I try not to take sides during an argument...I now simply separate them and that usually does the trick. I talk to them after we've all cooled down. After all, they are learning to get along but they're at two completely different stages in their cognitive development. Again, I try to give them what they need, whether it be reassurance, a shoulder to cry on, or a stern talking-to :)

I think sibling rivalry is going to be the hardest issue to tackle. Sometimes when I'm snuggling with Abby and telling her how much I love her, Audrey will say, "Do you love me, too?" HA! As if she really has to ask...but I completely understand where she's coming from. I know they're going to have different strengths...all I can do is foster those and never compare them. They will compare themselves enough on their own. It's important for us to encourage them to support each other, teach each other, and cheer each other on.

After all my reading, I feel much better about Abigail. I'm "forewarned and forearmed." My babies will absolutely not live out the negative stereotypes of their birth order (for example, this last baby will NOT be spoiled rotten!) Middle child syndrome stems from parenting that falls short. And that will certainly not be the case for us.

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