Birth Order: What Youngest Kids Need Most from their Parents
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! 🙂
We have four kiddos ages 11 to 6. We implemented “person of the day!”
Person of the day has to to any little extra tasks for the day like taking the trash bins out, feeding the dog, etc. They also get to have the first turn at something, make the fun choices like where will we eat, have the extra donut etc. That way everyone takes turns having responsibility and the youngest doesn’t get skipped over. I’m no expert 😆….but it helps a lot in our family! Thank you for all of your wisdom and insight. It’s been a game changer in the way I relate to my 3 boys!
I love the person of the day idea! Thank you for sharing. So glad to have you here!! 🙂
So, I’m going to say I have 7 that are the youngest. Boy, 48, girl, 38, boy, 31, boy, 27(came to our family at 5), girl, 23(sibling of boy 27), boy, 17, girl, 12(sibling of boy 17). Last 4 are adopted of course, 2 sets of siblings, 3 as babies. I’ve been homeschooling for 16 years. Such fun with these children and now most are adults! The youngest is by far the most like the last born but all have some traits. I’ve got this!
wow, you ARE superwoman!! That is quite a family! Way to go and love that you still call it fun! 😉 Blessings to you. Aloha-
I’m the first born and the only daughter. My brother is 9 years younger than me! I don’t understand why he functions as a last born!
Hello. Our baby is a boy with 3 sisters/moms & me “head mom.” 2 older kids are 16 & 15. Our 3 child is 9, but has the soul of a teenager. Therefore our son is 100% “the baby” and treated as such. He gets away with everything… Everyone is always on the go and there is always someone willing to do whatever it is for him in order to go and he knows it. He is very set in his ways, doesn’t like to lose, always wants to be first. But at the same time he is very loving, looks out for his sisters and funny. I better go finish the photo album… project box. 😏
Two boys….the youngest is my unpredictable one. Emotional, funny, messy, ducks out of chores. The oldest did not prepare me for the youngest. 🙂 This week the youngest ran the best track meet he had. 4th place in a 4x 100 relay. All he wanted was his brother’s praise. The eldest was in his own world at the time. Hurt feelings and a failed attempt by the eldest to try to make it right (“Mom put you up to this.”) I felt for both if them. The two of them get along most of the time but the youngest definitely craves that recognition I think even more from his brother than us. I am the youngest of 3 so can completely understand. Birth order definitely matters.
Yes Laura, you’ve got a good case study there as well. (and I’m youngest of three as well, :)) Good examples and you are wise to be aware of things and see the different factors that affect your boys. Keep up the intentional parenting! 😉 XO
Thank you Monica.
I too have four sons. The first three close together and the baby arriving 6years after the third! My baby is actually very neat and is a rule follower. He seems to have more traits of a first born, but he is definitely a joy and makes us all laugh. He’s loud too, because he has to try so hard to be heard. He is very friendly and outgoing.
Wow Sheri–We have the same exact family plan! Haha. Love it. It would be fascinating to compare all of our boys from first to last…Fun stuff! Thanks so much for sharing. Much aloha-
A very entertaining and useful article! Many thanks. Our baby just turned 6 and drives his big brothers crazy with his demands on their time. He is absolutely the boss of the house and makes life hard on those around him if he doesn’t get his own way. He is also the most loving, charming, caring, nurturing and entertaining little man and we all adore him!
Sounds a LOT like my 6 yr old!! 🙂 Thanks for taking time to comment and share! ALOHA-
This is a great post, and so true!
Hi Stephanie, same exact thing with my last-born of 3. She’s just 18 months younger than her sister. She’s usually super helpful, pushy even. She’s also the most aggressive and wants to win at everything, but just the same get super sad when her feelings are hurt. She’s organized as well with her things, at least more than her older sister. I also slacked off with discipline with #3 which is why she acts out so much now that she’s 8 🙁 …sometimes I’m so tired I just give in but have to work at that! thanks for sharing Monica
Thank goodness for the babies, they bring so much joy to the family. Our youngest, of 4, is always making us laugh. I love it. He also happens to be the most aggressive and athletic. Always picking fights with his older brothers. But I have to admit, I really have to focus on parenting to make sure he gets disciplined when needed. Its usually the older brothers who get the reprimand. The only thing about our baby, that is different from what is written above, is that he is organized and loves putting things away in an orderly fashion…more than his brothers, at least. Thanks Monica for your post!
This is so fascinating. My baby is definitely the ham of the family!