Being the youngest child is tough, no doubt about it. By the time we’ve popped out, our parents are… uh… busy, normally. With our older siblings. So we’re let to fend for ourselves, the babies of the family fighting to get into the pecking order.
You know the struggles. Family vacation? We’re on the floor (or, if we’re lucky, we get the couch! Oh glorious day). Big milestone in our life? Big deal- our older siblings have already done it, and our graduations, licenses, and drinking ages pass without so much as a fanfare, given less attention than the fact that we’re wearing threadbare hand-me-downs that were out of style before we even got into them.
As if that’s not enough, we’re taken for granted outside of our families as well- the common wisdom is that the baby of the family is spoiled, pampered, and generally fawned over by their parents. Who came up with that? Clearly not a youngest kid, let me tell you. We are the babies of the family- that much is true. But we weren’t pampered and spoiled- we were mercilessly tormented by our older siblings and half-forgotten by our parents and relatives, forever destined to be in the shadow of our older siblings.
(Throughout high school my name was “Kevin’s Brother.” I don’t think anyone in high school knew my real name, not even the people in my grade.)
And to top it all off? Those smug older siblings. My brother Kevin was lavished with all the attention that everyone says the youngest gets- and as a result he’s every bit as confident and precise as every parenting article says he should be. I have no doubt that when I ask him to share this article, he’ll research the best time to share it for maximum exposure. That’s just the type of guy he is.
But the kicker? I can do that, if I have too. I can also be wild, fun, and free when I want to be- something he struggles with, as most older siblings do. Because the unique trials and tribulations that younger siblings go through make us the most well-rounded of all the siblings- like hardened steel, forged in the fires of our older siblings locking us in closets and our parents ignoring us, we are the ones that have learned to adapt and thrive!
As a youngest sibling, you’ve had to play every position to find your place in the family, and the results almost always speak for themselves.
You instinctively need people to like you, but you know how to do it without seeming insincere.
That need for people to like us? That comes from being the youngest and needing people to see us shine shine so we could extend our range of influence throughout the family- your older siblings liking you could mean the difference between them sitting on your face for fun or sharing their toys, and your cuteness could get you some extra dessert from your parents.
And the best part? You’re great at it, since you’ve been doing it all your life. Your family members are the best lie detectors when it comes to you- but you’re not lying. You sincerely like people and you can charm a room based on that sincerity if you have to.
You tend to be overly critical of yourself, but you can also self-motivate to correct those flaws.
It’s true that you’re overly critical of yourself- that comes from those older siblings always putting you down, and never getting the lavish praise showered on your that your older siblings got- they were the first, so your achievements never looked quite so amazing in the shadow of theirs, and as a result you tend to be more critical of yourself as a result.
But that means that you also never were pushed from the outside- you always had to do it yourself, and nobody was going to do things for you. So you’ve become self-motivating and self-reliant- when you see that you’re not doing something well, you get down to brass tacks and you do it without needing anyone to push you.
You know that you have great potential- but you don’t always use it to its maximum ability.
Your older siblings were good at something- maybe even great at something. (Not that you’d give them that much credit). Which means that while you might be as good at it as them, you’d never get the recognition that they would because they got there first.
Which means that your entire childhood was spent in counterpoint to them- trying to maneuver to do something better that they couldn’t do. That means that you have great potential, but sometimes that jack of all trades approach leaves you knowing that you aren’t always using that great potential to its maximum ability.
You’re creative and good at thinking on your feet, but you can stand back and organize if you have to.
Your status as the youngest means that you’ve had to be pretty creative to shine in the limelight against your older siblings (not to mention survive against them growing up). You’re quick on your feet, both verbally and intellectually, and it’s rare that anyone catches you so off-guard that you don’t have a prompt reply or plan sketched out quickly.
But that doesn’t always get you through the day, and so you can plan when you need to- especially when it’s something really important. You’re flexible, unlike your older siblings- when the chips are down you can perform, but you also know that it’s important to be prepared for any situation!
So there you have it. Youngest siblings are the best- it’s true! Our older siblings might seem more confident and poised, but they never had to go through what we went through: and what we went through means that we’re the best and most versatile of our siblings!