Birth order: does it shape who you are?

Happy Family


Birth order refers to a person’s place in the family.

Typical characteristics of being the oldest, middle or baby of the family has intrigued psychologists and may have an impact on our personal development.

As parents it can often baffle us as to why our children are so different. After all they have the same parents, have grown up in the same household and yet are poles apart in personality.

Family circumstances, relationships and attitudes can change over time so the firstborn child may have a different experience from siblings born later on.

Other variables which may affect the typical birth order characteristics of a first, middle and last child are:



  • Spacing (the number of years between siblings). If the children are more than 5 years apart in age, birth order characteristics may not apply. Both children in the family may be typical ‘firstborns’.
  • Gender – this can have an impact. A youngest boy with three older siblings may have a different family position to a youngest boy with 3 older brothers.
  • Family Structures – blending of families due to divorce, death etc can influence patterns.
  • Parental birth order – this can have an impact on the home environment.
  • Medical needs – physical differences or special medical needs for a child can skew typical characteristics.

New Family


First time parents try their hardest to make sure they do everything right. They tend to document the child’s every accomplishment and parents typically spend more time with their firstborn. Their attention is focussed only on one, they have time to play and encourage their child. This encouragement enables the firstborn to become very skilled at knowing what parents want and may increase the child’s desire to achieve and receive praise but it can also raise the pressure to succeed.
They are goal oriented and tend to exhibit a strong attention to detail. In addition since the family also may rely on the oldest child to look after younger siblings they are often viewed as a leader.
The desire to please as a firstborn also presents disadvantages as some may fear failure. Expectations may be high as the firstborn you are expected to lead by example and rules for behaviour may be tighter and stricter even when subsequent children are born.


The middle child can often tend to feel forgotten. If you glance at a family photo album you may see an abundance of pictures of the oldest child, some pictures of the youngest and very few in comparison for the middle child. This lack of individual attention can sometimes make the middle child feel unloved. They are not the prized firstborn or the baby of the family.
The characteristics for a middle child may vary hugely. They may be shy and quiet or friendly and outgoing. They may be a mediator or try and avoid conflict altogether.  They may try and compete with their older sibling or avoid competition. Often, the middle child will choose to excel in something the firstborn does not. For example, if the oldest child is doing well at school, the middle child may seek out sport and excel in this.
This position in the family by some may be deemed to be the toughest. However, a middle child can have the best of both worlds, as they can be both a big and little sister/brother at the same time. Middle-born children tend to be more people oriented because of the mediating role they have in the family and tend to acquire many friends.

brother and sister


The ‘baby’ of the family will be forever known as this, even as they approach their 30th birthday! To get attention from other family members the youngest child often likes to perform and is generally outgoing and thought of by the family as the affectionate one or as a charmer.
The youngest child can often receive a lot of attention as older siblings enjoy playing with the baby. However, because of this attention they may display more unfavourable characteristics such as being impatient and spoilt.
Since the ‘baby’ also has older siblings to depend on and view as leaders they may also shy away from responsibility and making their own decisions and not be an independent thinker.


In addition to your birth order, the combinations of gender and number of children can vary in many ways which can affect a child’s personal development. Knowing the birth order of who we interact with may help us understand why both we and they are the way we are. 
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Boys vs Girls. Is one gender easier to raise?

Boy or Girl


Whether you are a parent or not, it seems everyone has their own theory as to why one gender perhaps is more difficult to raise than the other. 

Boys seem to have developed a stereotype when they’re little as being active, boisterous and accident-prone, whilst girls seem to be more problematic in the tween years when friendship and body image issues come to the fore. The teenage years are supposed to be horrible for both sexes.

So, is there any truth in these stereotypes or are they just clichés? Let’s find out:
1. Why does it seem that communicating with boys can be like talking to a brick wall?
From birth there is evidence that boys do no hear as well as girls. A 2007 study in Stockholm of 30,000 newborn babies found girls’ hearing is, “slightly but significantly” better than boys.
2. Do girls and boys think differently?
Yes. Research has found the wiring of 80% of brains is gender specific. Male brains are 6% to 10% larger, on average, than female brains but there are more connections in female brains. In addition, the connecting area between the left and right sides of the brain is bigger in girls, which may mean females are able to use both sides of the brain more easily.
3. Why do boys seem more likely to want to play with something mechanical than a doll?
Research conducted at the University of Cambridge in the UK found boys prefer to watch mechanical motion over human motion.  They gave 12-month-old boys the option of looking at people talking or windshield wipers moving and they were riveted by the wipers. In addition, research has found boys are about 2 months ahead of understanding motion laws, for example what happens if a ball is pushed.
4. Are boys more accident prone?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2002-2003, there were 42,600 hospitalisations for injuries of boys, and 25,400 of girls. Boys aged 10 to 14 years had more than twice as many hospitalisations for injury as girls of the same age.
5. Do girls master language quicker than boys?
Research demonstrates girls talk sooner and more clearly than boys. The average 20 month old girl has twice the vocabulary as an average 20 month old boy. Whilst vocabulary knowledge seems to have no gender differences, girls do tend to be more advanced at spelling and grammar skills.
6. Is it true boys are less likely to have self-esteem issues?
Gender researchers have claimed that girls tend to grow up less confident and more insecure than boys because they are programmed to be “people pleasers”. But whether that programming is from some gender-specific brain wiring or from cultural pressure on girls to put others’ needs first is unknown.
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Top Ten Baby Names in Australia



It seems the top ten baby names in Australia for 2011 are derived from a diverse range of cultures.

Seven boys names out of the top ten and nine girls names are derived from different origins.




1. William (French, German, English) 1. Lily (Old German)
2. Jack (English, Hebrew) 2. Ruby (Latin, French)
3. Ethan (Hebrew) 3. Chloe (Greek)
4. Oliver (English) 4. Mia (Hebrew, Latin)
5. Lucas (English) 5. Olivia (Latin)
6. Noah (Hebrew) 6. Isabella (Italian)
7. Lachlan (Scottish) 7. Charlotte (French, Italian)
8. Cooper (Latin) 8. Sophie (Greek, Danish)
9. Thomas (Greek, Hebrew) 9. Sienna (Italian, Irish)
10. James (Hebrew, English) 10. Ella (Old English, Old German)

Click below to view the full list of the Top 100 Baby Names in Australia for 2011's_top_100_baby_names_2011/

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Getting Ready for The Baby Gift Onslaught!

Mum and new babyHOW TO BE PREPARED

Everyone loves a baby! Having a baby is such an exciting time for everyone, and as a new mother you often end up with a load of goodwill in the form of presents, flowers, baby clothes and homecooked meals. It seems like the whole world wants to show their joy!

This is great, but then comes the problem- how to thank all these generous people?

Baby photo thank you cards are a fantastic way of introducing your new baby girl or baby boy to friends and family or simply to say thanks for the presents and flowers. Having a photo on the card creates a beautiful keepsake for the receiver and is a lovely gesture as people can pop these into their photo albums and you can put the baby card into your baby's treasure chest for later. It also is the best way to involve even the most distant relative in the joy of a new little person arriving into the world. 


In order to prepare yourself for the gift onslaught and to stay as organised as possible, it is best to create yourself "a little thank you box" before the birth. Gather up all your addresses and contacts and make sure you have them all in one place so you don't have to go searching. In your thank you box you will need:

  • A good pen
  • A box of stamps
  • A list of all your contacts, including name, address, postcode, space to note down gift received and extra pages for those unexpected surprise baby gifts
  • Any glitter or stickers you are planning on using

This may seem a simple thing, but in the post-natal haze of having a new baby in the house, you will be so grateful to have all these things on hand, in the one place, especially the stamps!

As the presents come in, note down the gift they gave you on your list. Then, it's the fun task of choosing your card, uploading your photo, writing your personal message and creating your cards online. When your baby cards arrive, you simply sign, lick and stamp!

Keeping it simple is the key to making sure that everyone gets a peek at the new baby and you have as much time as possible to rest up and enjoy time with your new addition.

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Photography Tips for Perfect Baby Photos

Baby Photos


Taking a photo of a baby can be a tricky and time consuming business. However, with the advancement in digital camera technology in recent years, the job just got a little bit easier since you can click away until you finally get the perfect photo.

Babies tend to be naturals in front of the cameras, they often have great facial expressions and it's great to be able to look back in years to come at some great baby photos. Below are some tips to help you take the perfect pictures:

Tip 1 - Take Plenty of Pictures

The greater the number of pictures taken, the greater the likelihood of attaining the perfect baby photos. So keep clicking away and eventually you will capture the perfect shot.

Tip 2 - Find a Partner to Help You

Of course you can always take the pictures yourself but sometimes it is often helpful to have a partner to assist you. They can play Peek-a-Boo or shake a favourite toy to try and make your baby giggle and smile. Having a partner to help you often makes the process more enjoyable and fun. the burst mode or sports mode on your digital camera can often be a great help as you can take a number of photos in quick succession to ensure you capture all those perfect baby smiles and cute facial expressions.

Right Light

Tip 3 - Choose the Right Light

To get great baby photos it is important to capture them in the right light. If you are taking photos outside the best time of day to do this is early in the morning in partial shade or early in the evening. These times of day experience softer light and capture warmer tones, plus you have the added benefit of your baby not squinting to avoid sunlight.

If you are taking pictures inside try to use natural light. Window light is great and diffused lighting provides for a softer feel. Try to avoid taking pictures with the flash. Flash can often wash out colours and babies in particular are sensitive to bright light.

Tip 4 - Avoid Distracting Backgrounds and Colours

Place your baby on a neutral rug or against a neutral background to obtain the best baby photos. Avoid bright toys in the shot as these can often detract from the main focus, which is of course your baby. Dress your baby in simple clothes for the same reason as noisy, bright clothes can leave your baby's skn tones looking washed out.

Right TimeTip 5 - Choose the Right Time

Before you attempt to take your baby photos make sure your baby is well rested and fed to guarantee lots of smiles. Make photographing your baby fun for both of you and try not to set your expectations too high, know when to put the camera away! There will always be another time. When your baby is tired after their photo shoot, it's always an idea to use this naptime to get some great shots of your little one sleeping like a baby!

Tip 6 - Add Family and Friends

Photos of your baby with someone special create a great story and are great to look back on. Be creative with your photos, they can be tiny fingers against an adults hand, or pictures of family welcoming the new arrival.

Tip 7 - Explore Black and White Photos

Black and white photos are timeless and often add a feeling of fine art and capture features and subtle details which are often missed in colour. Why not take a collage of black and white photos and use them to tell a story.

You've read some useful tips on digital photography so now it's time to put them to the test and see if you can capture the perfect baby photo.


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The History of the Baby Shower


You may think the concept of a Baby Shower is a relatively modern custom but in actual fact the origins can be traced back many hundreds of years. Many historians believe the celebration of birth can be traced back as far as Roman and Egyptian times.

Traditionally, baby showers took place after the birth of a baby, usually at around one month of age. The newborn baby would be introduced to all the mothers friends and family and people would bring gifts, often handmade items such as clothing, blankets and even some food items for the new mother. Traditionally, only women were invited to attend the gathering.

The modern party we celebrate today became a popular custom after World War Two. Female friends and family would gather together to celebrate the birth of a new baby. In more recent years the gathering has begun to occur around one month before the baby's arrival. Although traditionally the party is still held for females, many gatherings now extend the invitation to include male family members, including the expectant father.

A modern day Baby Shower involves the bringing of gifts for the new baby, some fun party games, party food and of course lots of talk about babies! It is often hosted by a female family member but never usually hosted by the expectant mother, the expectant mother's mother or their mother in law. In today's changing world the modern family has many different identities and each family will find their own unique way which is right for them.

Regardless of the history and it's evolving customs the true meaning remains constant. A Baby Shower is a celebration to welcome a new life. Few things in life compare to the overwhelming excitement and joy a new baby brings to the family and this special occasion offers the perfect opportunity for families to get together and celebrate new life, love and family values.

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