Monday, April 21, 2014

Can I Switch My Child Around? Wrong Order!

Posted at   11:47 AM  |  in   The FIX

Many who never studied psychology will argue that a person’s ranks by age among their siblings affect their psychological development and personality. Alfred Adler an influential psychologist in the 1930’s believed this to be true too. Adler argued that the eldest child is socially dominant and intellectual, but tends to seek approval from others because she/he is no longer the center of attention following the birth of a sibling, that the middle child, being crammed between older and younger siblings, is competitive and diplomatic; and that the youngest child tends to be selfish and demanding, since she/he is used to being coddled. Alder also stated, although birth order is a contributory factor, it is environmental conditions, such as socioeconomic circumstances, that ultimately shape personality.

As a parent of three and a mental health provider I will have to say this is true to a small degree for my three. Yes my oldest is socially dominant, but tend to be more selfish and demanding compared to all my children. However, my middle child seems to be more of the intellectual one, but is very competitive. My youngest is more of the peacemaker, giving, and seeks approval from the eldest and the middle siblings.

There is no doubt that my husband and I treated our children differently when they were born. We devote more time to the first and last if we were honest, because the second child started off being so independent. It’s a no brainer that our first child received undivided attention because she was our first and only child. Our last child being a boy increased our satisfaction due to having two girls, plus his learning delays caused us to give him more attention.

Our eldest informed me in tears at a young age of how unfair it was for us to treat our youngest "better." She was aware he had speech issues, but wanted to be the center of attention. So what I did as a mother to prevent jealousy among them was to start having individual dates with my children so they all could have their own special time. I started going on dates with them eight years ago and they still enjoy our individual time as teens and pre-teens. They all have different personalities and like to do different activities so I find myself driving race karts, painting, or/and shopping. This helped my middle child with being less competitive with the eldest because my actions show she is equally important. My oldest no longer fight to be the center of attention because she is aware the spot is shared and she will never be overlooked. My youngest is still the peacemaker, giving, and seeks to please his sisters.

You may think this is a bad idea or impossible if you have five or ten children and lack money. I totally disagree, it is important to schedule time with each child, especially if you have a large amount of children so no one will believe or feel overlooked. This approach will bring so much peace in your home, prevent a lot of conflict, help decrease low self-esteem issues, and negative behaviors. The earlier you start the better it will be for your family. You can take them to the park, library, or free events. Create a schedule for all your children, put it in a place everyone can see, and tell each child how you can’t wait to spend time with him/her. For an example, one child will know every 1st Friday of the month will be his time. Negative behaviors will decrease, because they will not have to present negative behaviors to get your individual attention.

So if Alder asked me today if I agree with his theory, I will tell him children personality and psychological development has A LOT to do with parenting styles.

Written by Nancia Leath, MA LPC NCC – Professional Licensed Mental Health Therapist, National Certified Counselor, and owner of Inward Core Healthcare Services - 
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All Right Reserved © April 21, 2014

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About Inward Core, THE FIX Dr. Nancia Leath, MAC LPC NCC CPCS

Inward Core, THE FIX is a self-improvement site for all. The owner is Dr. Nancia Leath, MAC LPC NCC CPCS. She is a devoted wife to Boris, caring mom to Gracelyn, Brooke, and Titus, and sweet friend to many. She help others by being a Licensed Professional Mental Health Therapist, National Certified Counselor, Master Addiction Counselor, Author of two books: Feed Your Faith and Crush Your Doubts, Emancipate In Your Chair, Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life Coach and Licensed Minister. She enjoys spending time with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She have a blast when she does trainings, motivating others to thrive, encouraging youth to be strong leaders in their communities (Teen Help Other People 501c3 - TeenHOP -, and helping all to live out their God given purposes. She also have fun doing interviews and being special guest on radio or television (just to name a few - HGTV, Steve Harvey, Sweet Retreats/Disney). You may even find one of her informative notes in successful companies' newsletters/magazines. Many use her services in order to experience life changing therapy, coaching services, and superb supervision to new therapists. You will never forget Nancia Leath after meeting her, many claims "she is a true inspiration." Contact Dr. Nancia Leath, MAC LPC NCC CPCS HERE.


  1. I concur. Being a patent of 5 nd having studied psychology, I understand the concepts of Adler. Environmental had a lot to do with it as well. I am a middle child nd I am extremely competitive. I believe it is very important to spend one on one time with each of your children to give them that security so that they do not have to seek out else where. It also helps build their self esteem. As parents we sometimes do not link the 2 together. This was a very insightful article. Thanks a million.

  2. Nancia, I love this! I take time with each of my kids to talk and have that special time so they don't feel neglected. My youngest child came to me and stated, "The middle child gets no love." This was shortly after having my daughter. I try my best to give them equal time although the majority of my time is with the baby because of her age. I will try your method as well and pray I get good results. Great post!

  3. This is a great article. Having three and a fourth on the way we are always looking for ways to.make sure each child knows they are important and loved. Thanks for sharing this idea. We will definitely get better at having alone time with them


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