by Kerry Rivera
Astrology, birth order theory, numerology. Not sure if I believe in any of these things, but in the absence of securing Super Nanny for a visit, I’m hoping these varying worlds will give me a glimmer of insight into my dear, but very strong-willed, second-born son.
According to a few birth order books I’ve read, “second-born children are often born into a competitive atmosphere, due to the pressure exerted by the eldest. They tend to adopt behaviors and characteristics that are the exact opposite of the first-born and in some cases exert more a rebellious spirit.”
I’m one of three kids, and now have two of my own, so I most definitely know each child dances to a different beat. You’re not supposed to compare. In fact, you’ll likely need to modify your parenting style at times to synch up with your unique offspring. I get that … I do, but I’m at a loss at how to handle my little three-year-old ball of anger.
His tantrums are insane. He wants everything NOW. And he is definitely physical when it comes to sharing his frustrations. Usually, I can handle his outbursts, but on one recent morning when I was at home by myself and trying to get my two kids out the door, I started to crumble.
He was upset about everything … breakfast, trying to find an old McDonald’s toy, having to go to the potty, not wanting to go to pre-school. I think he had five mini-breakdowns all before 6:30 a.m. There were timeouts and scoldings and trying to reason. By the time I got started on my 45-minute commute into the office at 7:50 a.m., I was exhausted. Next time I’m going to tape him on my Flip Cam so I can either a) show him how crazy he gets or b) show my friends so they can empathize with me.
Several of my mommy friends have commented that their second-born kids are also very “strong-willed.” That is the nice word we use, but in our minds we’re trying to figure out how our sweet little babes are so intensely fierce. I keep wondering if this is a “three-year-old thing” or a “second-born thing” or the “forever personality” of my spirited young boy.
I’m also trying to figure out how I should adjust my style from first-born to second-born. Do we send him to a different pre-school? Sign him up for karate or mortal combat to burn off his aggression? Is he getting enough 1v1 time with Mom and Dad? Does he need to be tested for some crazy anger gene?
I try to rationalize these fierce traits will eventually translate into a personality where he stands up for what he believes in, emits an air of confidence and knows he can take on the world. In the interim, I just need to find a way to handle the tantrums … ear plugs, a padded room and glass of wine sound like a promising fix.
How about you? Do your second-born kids have a lot of punch? Any tips on how to adjust your parenting style to effectively work with a little spitfire?
I do have to disclaim my youngest can also be the sweetest and most loving little boy too. He is the first to say, “I love you Mommy” and always wants to snuggle under the blankets when we’re watching TV. I already know he’s going to be an amazing, and tough-as-nails, little kid. I just need to figure out how to be there for him in those fits of three-year-old rage.