Saturday, April 29, 2006

Number 2

In another forum I have been discussing child raising with a few friends. I am not a parent but having 4 younger brothers gave me a lot of insight into the process. It all made me think about how my early childhood influenced who I am.

A topic that came up is that parents learn different things with each child and therefor treat them differently. The first child is rarely left unattended. Number 1 is the child parents are worried to death will die if not constantly tended to. Good parents will eventually figure out that kids are made of rubber and have remarkable healing powers and stop fussing too much over the little one's every move. Hopefully, not too much damage has been done by the time they figure it out.

I was number 2. Parents have learned through the first child (unless something terrible happened to number 1) that kids are pretty rugged things and can take lumps and recover pretty well. As number 2, I was given more time to myslef and left to do what I wanted (often whatever my older sister wanted) and I assumed the role of kid who fought for attention. Number 1 already had trained my folks that she needed constant praise and attention. I am the one who is always going to be OK. I was given the role of the independent one from a very early age. I did not like that role.

I fought for attention constantly. When my sister learned to read, I learned to read better. When my sister brought an art project home from school, I would work madly to copy a picture from a real artist so that it could go up on the fridge. I had to out do my sister. She was not competitive and at some point she gave up. She was held back a year in school and I was advanced so that we ended up in the same grade. This lead to even more attention being given to my sister's problems and having a younger brother at home just made it harder for me.

More kids came and as time went on I did all sorts of things. Instead of remaining competitve ,since I assumed the role of eldest child once I had been in the same grade as my sister, I started acting up and getting into trouble. Not only did I get attention that made me feel important but it was fun to be bad. A lot of fun.

Now that I am older (I hope wiser) I wonder how much of my personality and the way I act is influenced by my younger years. I know I am not the same person but I know that I still try to "out do" people and do things I know are wrong from time to time. How are we all affected by our early development and how does that affect how we view the world?

1 comment:

elisenator said...

heya mikey! email me or someone that has my email address & i'll tell ya where i work now. i have web-stalker problems!