Tips for Parenting the Baby of the Family

Get tips for parenting the youngest child. Know what to do to and what not to do so your kiddo grows up well!

Family walking. 4 children and two parents.

I find the Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman very interesting. I especially, right now, find his chapter on the youngest child and how to parent them very interesting.

After reading this book, I was pretty sure McKenna would indeed be our last child because she really fits the mold of the “youngest” as described by Leman well.

He says,

“If last borns aren’t getting away with murder, they are at least trying to manipulate, clown, or entertain, and are often likely to be found disturbing somebody’s peace” .

(page 323)

That sums up McKenna well. She loves to entertain and loves to have fun, and if fun isn’t available, she will do what she can to get a rise out of people around her.

But now here I sit with a child younger than McKenna. It will be interesting to see if she sticks with this same personality or if now being a true middle child will affect her personality some. 

How to Parent the Youngest Child

For your youngest child, Leman (a baby himself) has some tips on how to parent:

  • Don’t baby too much. You will “render that child useless, or at least cripple him in one way or another” (page 328). Give your last born her fair share of responsibilities around the house.
  • Make sure your last born is held to the standards of the family. She should be required to follow the rules of the home just like her siblings.
  • Don’t allow the baby to “get clobbered” (page 336). This means don’t let the older kids push the baby around–physically or emotionally.
  • Make a big deal out of the baby’s accomplishments. Apparently some people don’t get that excited about the baby’s “firsts” because they have seen it all before. I guess to an extent there is truth there for me–I don’t think Brinley is a complete genius just because she smiled. BUT I definitely pay attention to all of her firsts and take note of them. This is in all likelihood the last time I will have a baby smile for the first time, so while it is different than it was with Brayden, it is no less special or documented.
  • Read to your child very early. Apparently youngest children are known for being the poorest readers in the family. This could be because there are plenty of people to read to her, so she doesn’t need to push herself to read if she wants to have extra story time in the day. 
  • Call the bluff. Don’t let the youngest manipulate you. I have often had to do this with McKenna. I have had to look at her tear-streaked face and inform her that I will not have an emotionally manipulative daughter and that someday her husband could thank me for that. She stopped crying immediately and was fine. 
  • Complete the baby book before she is 21. “Let other things go if necessary to be sure you provide time for each child” (page 337)–though it seems maybe baby books would be something you would let go?

So, if you are a youngest, what rings true to you here? If you are parenting a youngest, what do you see as great advice?

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