www.whyville.net Nov 20, 2011 Weekly Issue

Veteran Times Writer

Birth Order: Last But Not Least

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The class clown - the popular teacher - the kid in your first grade class that always got in trouble for talking too much - they all have something in common: they are all more than likely a youngest child. Known for stealing the spotlight, making everybody laugh, and a lover of a good party, the baby of the family is an interesting person who deep down is a lot different than they may seem.

My littlest brother is the loud, silly, ornery one that tries very hard to make people laugh. He's my mother's little angel, but he certainly has a devilish side. When my parents aren't around, the baby of our family is in his prime. You can find him pestering others, laughing crazily, and bouncing off the walls wildly. He is a pain to babysit, a little stinker when he doesn't get his way, and a rascal who more than likely has a goal to drive me clinically insane. But, he is unsure of himself, timid, and the sweetest kid you'll ever meet.

Youngest children often have two halves to their personality. The side that they are best known for is the "Mommy's widdle baby," who gets every item they desire, every curfew or privilege they beg for, and all the attention in the world. In a way, this side is what shows up when you first see a youngest child. They're always fishing for laughs and people to notice them, but the act they put on isn't one derived from selfishness.

Ever since they were born, there was someone in front of them - someone a few steps ahead, and in their eyes, someone better than them. Youngest children often see themselves as behind or not as good as everybody else in the family. Because of this, they make it their goal in life to not necessarily be better than everyone else, but to be just as good.

If you are a youngest child, these classic baby-of-the-family lines may ring a bell.

"What about me?"

"Why do they get to do that but I'm not allowed?"

"It's not fair!"

Youngest children may be seen as using their "baby of the family" status to get away with things, but being the youngest is often challenging and something resented. Growing up, youngest children see their older siblings get to do new, exciting things that they aren't allowed to do yet. Being told that they are too little or young to do something has turned into a curse, and the baby of the family does not appreciate being seen as a baby.

Because of this, youngest children often have two sets of personalities.

The boisterous, fun-loving side mentioned above is only on the outside, and on the inside, youngest children often just want to be nurtured and paid attention to. Youngest children will want to have something special and unique about them. In a way, they need something that no one else has in order for them to feel worth.

Like I mentioned earlier, my seven-year-old brother is a sweetheart. You can find him calling me "a beautiful lady" and "best sister ever" quite often, and it is very much appreciated. If it wasn't for his loud and bossy side, this kid would be my best friend ever. Being an oldest child, I don't like it when people I find less qualified or younger than me think they know more than me, and it is frustrating when he acts that way.

If there are any readers out there that have younger siblings who act like that, I encourage you to ignore it. Let the insults or negative behavior roll off your back. The youngest child is probably feeling a little down on themselves, and they want to be noticed. While bullying should never be dismissed, immaturity should be. Babies of the family often don't get as much attention as other siblings do from parents, and unlike middle children who don't mind, the youngest will want to make everything equal and fair.

When I say everything, I mean it. The other day, I was making waffles for dinner. I split one of the waffles in half, and gave the equal havles to my brother and I. I then made another waffle, and cut it in half for my other two brothers, one of the boys being the youngest. That's when the yelling and fighting began.

Though I didn't realize it, I had cut about an eighth of one of the waffles halves off, and it was stuck to the other waffle. My youngest brother got the cornerless waffles, and boy did he let it be known that he was being slighted a bite. Though ripping his head off would have been a more desired approach to the fiasco, I tore the piece off of my other brother's waffle and set it on the youngest's plate, and that was that. My littlest brother simmered down instantly, and started smiling and laughing again.

Situations like this are completely unfair to youngest children. All they desire is for things to be fair. They want to get equal treatment from parents, siblings, grandparents, and teachers. The youngest child doesn't like going into school and being called "so-and-so's little brother/sister." They also don't like being mistaken for the other siblings, or being compared to their brothers and/or sisters in any way.

The youngest child is just as much a part of the family as everyone else, and slighting them of feeling accepted is wrong. Just because they are younger and haven't had as many life experiences doesn't mean that they are less of an individual.

Trust me, they'll kick and scream until they are one!


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