Parenting Tips for All Birth Orders

These tips will help you parent all of your children no matter what their birth order is. Some tips just apply to all children.

Family running through the park

In The Birth Order Book, Kevin Leman has a chapter for parenting each birth order, but before he gets to those, he starts with a chapter for tips that work for all birth orders.

This means that these tips generally work for all birth orders no matter your child’s birth order.

There are many things you will tweak and adjust based on your child’s personality or birth order placement in the family. A firstborn child will have different needs than a middle child or later born children.

But these tips work for all birth orders.

Know Your Parenting Style

Leman points out that most parents parent the way they were parented (page 253). I think that is true, though there are a fair number of people who parent the extreme opposite of how they were parented. 

Take some time to analyze your parenting style. Here are some basics:

  • Authoritarian: I like Leman’s way of putting Authoritarian. He says this is based on a warped idea of limits. These parents believe the more limits the better.
  • Permissive: Again, Leman’s take is a good one. This is based on a warped sense of love. All the child needs is love–nothing else. Especially not limits. 
  • Inconsistent: Many parents bounce back and forth between these two styles. Or maybe one spouse is authoritarian and one is permissive, causing inconsistency in the child’s life.
  • Authoritative: Basically, this is the middle of the road between Authoritarian and Permissive. You don’t make all of the decisions for your child, and your child doesn’t make all of the decisions himself.

You need to know your tendencies so you can monitor your self appropriately. If you are authoritarian, you need to work to back off. If you are permissive, you need to set some boundaries.

>>>Read: Understanding the 4 Types of Parenting Styles

Use Logical Consequences

Leman spends some time discussing his book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. I have posts on the book: making children mind (each post linked below).

He calls his discipline method “reality discipline” and it is most easily summed up as a book about applying logical consequences. 

Logical consequences are my favorite, also. I find allowing logical consequences to take place to be very effective in helping children change behavior. For help on this, see 10 Guidelines for Using Logical Consequences.

Everyone is Different

Leman says we should not treat our children all the same.

I totally agree. We need to treat our children as individuals.

No one method works for every child–even if implemented by the same parent.

Leman says

“…being truly fair does not mean treating each child in exactly the same way. It means treating each child differently as that child’s individual needs and differences at certain times in that child’s life and development demand”. 

(page 261)

 Your children are all very different from each other, and need to be treated as such.

This can seem like frustrating advice considering this post is all about advice that works for “all” birth orders.

But we need to parent all birth orders as individuals. Each child needs to be parented as an individual no matter what our preconceived notions are.

We need to be aware as parents that we need to look at each child as an individual and adjust for the child.

Birth order position will definitely impact who your child is. The age gap between siblings will impact who your child is. Emotional stability of the individual will impact who your child is.

Your child’s age effects who she is. Family dynamics will impact each child. The circle of friends will change your child. You will see family size effects.

Your child will have natural talents and natural weaknesses.

All of these and more will impact who your child is as an individual. You need to be aware and work with these things.

 You are the Parent

You are the parent. Other adults in your child’s life can have a profound affect on his or her life, but do not defer to them nor expect them to raise your child for you.

Think about who you have as your five year old’s coach, teacher, or dance instructor. Do not make those decisions lightly.

Don’t overbook your children, and don’t simply hand them off to strangers to train them up.

You need to spend time with your child. As Leman says, “Nobody can teach your kids better than you can” (page 266).

So remember you are the parent and be the parent.


Birth order effects are real. Birth order has a real impact on everything from school performance to your child’s openness to experience. You can easily see birth order differences among your children.

I find birth order theories fascinating and see so much consistency (and often humor) in looking at different birth orders.

However, I love the advice Leman gives here. Birth order isn’t everything.

Be aware of your parenting style and how that is impacting your children. Focus on logical consequences as your discipline method.

Understand that everyone is different. Just because typically later borns can get bad grades and/or not have great performance in school doesn’t mean that will be the case for your children. The way you parent and good discipline can change that.

 And always remember you are the parent. Stay engaged and involved. These things will help you raise all of your children, no matter the birth order.

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