Parenting Your Youngest Child – What to Expect and Do

Your youngest child is your last child and to some degree every parent wants to keep them young. Last born children are driven to catch up with their older siblings. Youngest children always have someone to play with and as a result tend to be social. They also have a chance to develop their silly side, since the older siblings usually shoulder most of the responsibility. For these reasons youngest children have some unique characteristics.

Last-born Traits

  • Risk takers
  • Outgoing
  • Creative – idea person
  • Strong people skills – love to talk to others
  • Extrovert
  • Competitive – pushes themselves to keep up with older siblings
  • Financially irresponsible
  • May be spoiled and self-centered
  • Strong fear of rejection
  • Feels small and weaker
  • Sense of humor – likes to make others laugh
  • Short attention span and get bored quickly
  • Expects others to do things for them
  • Gets their own way
  • May be jealous of older siblings
  • May use manipulation to get their way
  • May be the class clown

Parenting the Last-born Child

Enforce the Rules
Statistics show that last-born children get away with more and are least likely to be disciplined. It is no wonder that they are known to be greater risk takers. Make sure that you enforce the same rules that you did for your older children.

Teach Responsibility
The youngest child is often seen as too small and helpless to work. Psychologist Kevin Leman in his book “The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are” reminds parents, “You want to raise a confident, self-reliant child so don’t promote this helpless image.”

Applaud Accomplishments
Leman says that lastborns are well known for feeling that nothing they do is good enough. So make a big deal out of their accomplishments, you may have seen your older children tie their shoe but for your youngest this is their first time.

Don’t Baby Them
Parents often encourage their youngest to keep some negative baby behaviors. Leman says, “The last born is the one who will probably still have a pet name although he’s 29 and has a masters degree.” Doing things for your child, that he can do for himself, will become a habit that will grow with them. Teach your child to do things for himself and become self-sufficient.

Fun Last-born Facts

Many writers, autobiographers, and family historians are youngest children.

Youngest children tend to be rule breakers like Copernicus who said that the earth revolves around the sun in an age where this was opposite what people believed.

Harriet Tubman was also a youngest child. When she was 30 she escaped slavery and traveled north. She established an underground railroad, which helped free about 300 slaves.

Youngest children often like to entertain so many actors and comedians are the youngest children in their families, examples include: Drew Carey, Jim Carey, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Rosie O’Donnell, Goldie Hawn, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Other Blogs on Birth Order
“Does Birth Order Affect Personality?”
“Parenting Your Oldest Child – What to Expect and Do”.
“Parenting Your Middle Child – What to Expect and Do.”
“Parenting Your Only Child – What to Expect and Do.”

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About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Families.com. Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.

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