How many times have parents been accused of allowing their youngest child to get away with absolutely everything? Often older siblings compare the treatment they receive to that of the last born with exaggerated testimony, but clearly there is some credibility to their claims. The youngest sibling can benefit from parents who are more relaxed and willing to bend the rules for peace of mind.
Frequently saying “Yes” or skipping the lecture or doing the delegated chore yourself becomes far easier than going yet another round in a parent/child disagreement. Obviously, parenting has an effect on siblings, shaping the persons they become. So if the parent displays the classic behavior described, does it mean that the youngest child now becomes the textbook example of the famous birth order premise?
Alfred Adler an Austrian medical doctor, psychologist and early associate of Sigmund Freud is credited as one of the first to theorize on the effects birth order has on siblings personalities. Of course, it has to be acknowledged that all psychologists do not completely agree with this theory and there are many individual exceptions and variables that must be taken into consideration.
However, it is an interesting subject to explore using real life personalities (siblings, relatives, friends and children) as your subjects. Since the youngest is never “dethroned” as the baby, they are put in the position of dictator of the household. Parents and older siblings are always doing for the youngest, first out of necessity, then out of habit. Because of this, the youngest child expects others to make decisions and take responsibility for them. Even as adults, older siblings can still feel responsible for their “baby” brother or sister.
When they achieve the normal childhood milestones, parents have a tendency to overlook their significance. First time activities for the last born are simply repeats for the parents and enthusiasm can suffer. The youngest may experience a sense of loneliness and unfairness because they believe they are being easily dismissed.
Some of the characteristics are: Feels as if they are weaker and therefore not taken seriously; more of a risk taker because of the leniency in discipline; Outgoing, social and many times a “joker”; Persistent and used to getting their way and struggles for independence away from family. I wonder Freud thought about Bipolar Disorder or ADHD, or did he totally miss that class.
All these characteristics affect the marriage of the parents and can become very exhausting to any couple. Freud could have at least offered some insight on the youngest “depressed” sibling. I guess he didn’t see that one coming either. If you are a parent of a teenager who may have depression, I want you to know these two important facts: You are not alone and there is help for your teen and family.
Parents know their teen has depression by seeing a doctor who can diagnose teen depression. There is no other way around that. Unlike a stomach virus or the common cold that can be treated with a home remedy like chicken soup, teen depression needs to be diagnosed by a doctor, as there are different causes of depression.
Any and all of these characteristics can hijack a marriage but of course are limited to just the before mentioned behaviors. We have to mention anger. While anger is a feeling that is often justified, teens who act out on their anger with violent actions toward the object of their anger, or toward someone else like their parents when they are unable to act out on the object of their anger, are not justified.
Teens that get angry and then act out need to be taught that it is not acceptable behavior. They need to be shown that anger and their violent behavior are not one in the same thing; one does not cause the other. Walking on egg shell and avoiding confronting them is not a way to handle it. That may reinforce the behaviors. Then it may not be until they are 16 and it then dawns on you that you’ve been hijacked. Because in order to not make waves you have given into much of what the child wants for years. Most importantly, support each other through those trying times.