Birth Order: Your Second Child

Your second child arrives into the family to discover that, along with adults, there is a small person who is only a bit ahead in size and abilities. While the Oldest is comparing herself to the adults and striving to be like them, this  Second in  birth order is intent on catching up and surpassing his bother or sister

Some possible personality traits that second born children might develop? Competitive, risk taking, fun oriented, enjoys challenges, dislikes being directed or bossed around, less interested in being responsible or following all the rules, and often finds and uses indirect ways to get parent to punish the sister or brother.

I remember a commercial some years back by Avis, a company who was, at that time, the second largest car rental company, trailing the larger Hertz. Their slogan? “Avis Is Number 2. We try harder.” It was a successful advertising campaign because the truth that #2 does try  harder resonated with people across the country.

Parents, by the time number two arrives, have accumulated experience. As a result, they are more relaxes and less demanding. They are also busier, now that there are two, which means they have less energy and time.

Second children, like their older brother or sister, are anxious to discover ways to gain their parents love and attention in ways that make them unique. No second born wants to be “almost as good but not quite.” So he will gravitate toward ways to be different. If the oldest is studious, number two  might become athletic. If number one is shy, we might see a gregarious second child.

And whatever birth order may contribute toward this child’s personality development will depend on the extent of encouragement or discouragement the child feels in gaining parents approval. Here are some hints.

✓Avoid comparing child to other children

✓Encourage friends and activities which are independent of the older child

✓Help this child find his own areas of success

✓Avoid making the older child responsible for taking care of the younger child




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