Steps and Stairs

Do you think that grown-up children retain or cast off the fact of their place in the family order?

I got to thinking about this today when I was looking at some old photographs of our family. I’m the youngest of three and ย I must say I still tend to see myself as ‘the baby’ in lots of ways.

The Three of Us Photo: Frank Tubridy
The Three of Us
Photo: Frank Tubridy

I’ve no concept of what it would be like to be the eldest or in the middle or indeed one of a large family.

Given that we have just one ‘child,’ I’ve come to learn a fair bit about ‘only’ children.

When I say about feeling like the eternal ‘baby,’ I find that quite reassuring and like the security of knowing that the others are there ‘looking out’ for me. I also think that being the youngest may have been a factor in the closeness of my relationship with my parents as I was the last to fly the nest and was an ‘only’ child for quite a few years while the other two were away at school and college.

I’d love to hear your perspectives on this.ย 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

26 thoughts on “Steps and Stairs”

      1. I actually did not know what it meant to have sibs – although I soemtimes wished for someone close who I couldtalk to, i’ve also seen many sibs who argue constantly and hate each other. to me there wasn’t a great benefit looking form the outside in.

  1. I’m the baby too, of three children as well, and also have only one child of my own.
    Oddly, even though I am the youngest, I am the one everyone goes to for counsel and support in our family. I’m not sure how that happened. I like to tease that my parents ‘saved the best for last’ haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I’m an only child Jean so no sibling rivalry for me! I think being an only child probably helped me to become a writer, because I had a lot of solitude and learned how to amuse myself – on the other hand, I think there is a sense of loneliness that comes from being an only child – and I think my mother was over-protective because of it ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Andrea, thanks for commenting. I wonder if only children are more likely than others to get into writing. Now that would be a lovely piece of research!
      As for the protectiveness, I can understand where your mother was coming from. I think only kids probably share that element of over protectiveness pretty universally. On the other hand, it strikes me that they tend to be pretty independent types who know the meaning of friendship more than most.

  3. I am the youngest of three girls and although I am the “baby” I act more like the “oldest” because my sisters have been away from home since I was 13 yrs. old. They are 5 and 7 years older than me. I read a great book entitled, “The Birth Order Book” by Dr. Kevin Leman. It explained many of the dynamics of my family and was helpful in so many ways!

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