Q&A on Firstborn Parenting

1. What are some typical behaviors of the oldest child?

Oftentimes, oldest children tend to be driven and ambitious. In addition, they can have a strong sense of responsibility, along with a healthy amount of self-confidence.

2. How does an oldest child tend to interact with siblings?

When interacting with siblings, the oldest child is often the leader, the one “looking out” for his/her siblings. Historically, the eldest child would also help with raising and parenting the younger siblings. This sometimes goes unappreciated by the younger bothers and sisters, as you’ll often hear middle or youngest siblings describe their older brother/sister as “pushy” or “bossy.”

3. Do you have any advice for parents on raising/interacting with oldest versus other children in the family?

There are a great many factors to consider when parenting, and — despite sharing a birth mother — one child is often vastly different from another. For example, one sibling might be naturally athletic and rambunctious; while another might be quiet and bookish.

Kids also have different sensitivities. One might thrive in a chaotic environment, while another might become stressed out in environments with too much activity or noise. Or, one child might like roughhousing while another is so physically sensitive that he or she gets agitated by the tags on his or her undershirts.

Parents should remember that what works for connecting with (and parenting) one child, might not work for another. I think, in the grand scheme of being a parent, considering the effect of birth other is pretty negligible.

Have any other parenting questions? Leave a comment below — we might just make your question the topic of our newest blog post!

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Dr. Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore, PhD

Anthony Centore, PhD, is Founder and Chair at Thriveworks — a counseling practice focused on premium client care, with 340+ locations across the US. Anthony is a Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and author of "How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice". He is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

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