After a long pause, we return to the fascinating topic of birth order. And just like those baby albums that never seem to get done for the youngest kids, we almost left the babies out of our birth order series!
But I couldn’t do that, because this is my favorite one of them all! And of course it is, because I happen to be a youngest child. And youngest kids love to talk about….themselves!
Yep, birth order is a super fun topic. And no, it is not a perfect science, but yes, it is fascinating and (for my family at least–) pretty spot-on accurate much of the time.
My posts about first-borns and middle children continue to get a lot of traffic, both from social shares, and from internet searches. I always enjoy the comments — from parents having aha moments, to spouses finally understanding things about their husband or wife. I also hear from the occasional teenager who reads about their own birth order, and then spills out their heart feeling both affirmed (finally something that explains me!) and discouraged (I wish my parents understood me!)
So today we finally make our way to the last-born….The sweet baby of the family. Or (depending on your perspective…) the little rascal who gets away with murder.
Our family is doubly blessed with two babies: Since our first three boys were born close together, Luke is the original Swanson baby. But, when six years later Levi joined the family, he became the real “baby” of the family. (would that be a “Super Baby?”)
Note on spacing: Experts suggest that after a 5-6 year gap, the next child often takes on first-born characteristics, so Levi might have a few of those as well (we’ll see more as he grows up.) But so far I’m seeing mostly youngest-child characteristics in him. I believe this is the case because we homeschool all of the boys so he spends most of his days surrounded by big brothers.
As with the other posts, most of what I share here I learned from Kevin Lehman’s book: The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are*
I think Lehman does a great job of covering each of the birth orders, as well as how this affects parenting, marriage, and work. If you find this topic interesting, you would probably enjoy reading the whole book.
(Lehman also happens to be the youngest child in his family.)
A TYPICAL YOUNGEST CHILD?
Youngest children are often entertaining and funny. Because they are born into an already-busy family, they have to work extra hard to get attention. Youngest kids are often less organized, (everyone does things for them!) and quite possibly messy. They are sociable, (they’re used to being around people!) and live life with a much more carefree attitude than their older siblings. (Mom and Dad loosened up a lot between kid #1 and the baby…and more relaxed parenting = more relaxed child.) The baby of the family knows how to get by with things, often taking advantage of of mom and dad being plain and simple “parented out.” (Icouldn’tagreemore.)
^^Youngest kids are famous for making family photos an impossibility.
Youngest kids can argue til the cows come home…Persistent and determined. (One of my other most popular posts, “When your kids argues about everything” was inspired by my original youngest.)
Sometimes in their efforts to get attention the youngest will be naughty, causing trouble in school, or pushing buttons in their older siblings.
WHAT DO YOUNGEST CHILDREN GROW UP TO BE? Youngest children do well in marketing and sales. They are good at jobs where they are in the limelight; comedians, artists, and actors are often last-borns. Last born will be drawn to jobs that are interesting and full of adventure. Monotony and tedious desk jobs do not go over well with last-borns.
FAMOUS LAST-BORNS: Celine Dion, Ellen DeGeneres, Cameron Diaz, Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Stephen Colbert (youngest of 11!), Mark Twain, Billy Crystal, Drew Carey, Goldie Hawn, Steve Martin, Prince Harry, Jim Carey, Prince Harry.
What does your youngest child need most from you? Here’s a list:
- Some responsibility! The babes of the family often do less than their siblings for two reasons: 1) They are masters at ducking out of work. and 2) The rest of the family can get work done faster and better, so they just end up doing it. Give them work and make them do it! They (or their spouse) will thank you later!
- Attention! Show your youngest child some genuine interest. Don’t wait for them to get into trouble to get the attention they crave, slow down and notice them. Fill their love bucket before they need it and you might save them from a good deal of trouble.
- Recognition! Don’t overlook the youngest child’s accomplishments. Jut because you’ve already seen your other kids learn to tie their shoe or ride a bike, you still need to work up some enthusiasm for the youngest child’s “firsts.” You may already have a collection of hand-painted rocks from preschool years’ past, but this is the first one from the baby. Get excited!
- Some good books. Lehman suggests introducing your youngest child to reading at a young age. Apparently last borns tend to prefer to be read to, and will let others do all of the work if they can get away with it. Avoid that by encouraging the youngest to learn to read on their own.
- Accountability in school. Stay on top of your youngest child’s schoolwork. As we get older and tireder (that’s my words) we tend to slack off on the youngest kids in regards to their education. Dig deep, Mom and Dad, and find the energy to crack down on the youngest child’s schoolwork. They need an education just like their older siblings!
- Some records of their childhood! Don’t forget to finish the baby book (or at least gather a folder of photos on the computer) for your last born. Most of us poop out on the sentimental stuff when it comes to the babes of the family, so do what you can to make them feel like they matter too.
- A marriage partner. Lehman adds: “Along the way, pick out a nice first-born for your last born to marry. The odds are high they’ll make a great team!”
I would love to hear about the baby in your family. Is he or she typical? Do you have a comedian in the family? How does the youngest in your family get along with the older siblings? Share in comments!
And if you have enjoyed this post I would love it if you would share it with your friends using the social media share buttons! 🙂 Mahalo!
PS Another sweet book to read to your younger kids: My Youngest, There’s No One Like You (Birth Order Books)*
*I am an affiliate with Amazon so if you order a book through my links I will make a small profit. Thank you! 🙂