Second child syndrome: Is it that bad?

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I am beginning to wonder if I need to redefine second child syndrome. I’ve always thought of the second child as the one who follows in the shadow of their older sibling. Mum and dad can’t remember how much they weighed when they were born, they wear hand me downs and there are only two or three photographs on display of them in the house compared to numerous images of the older child.

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Izzy looks out across a harbour pondering what to watch on TV and knowing her entire family will help her with homework.

A casual, passing comment by Helen, our eldest daughter, has made me question this. When the kids are watching TV, they often Chromecast programmes and videos from a computer that’s in another room.

Helen happened to remark that Izzy (child No2) never, ever gets off her bottom to go and change channels. Helen always does it, leaving Izzy comfortably sat on the sofa waiting for the next show or video to begin.

While mum and dad help both kids with their homework, Izzy has the benefit of a third helper, one who knows the school system much better than us parents. Yes, you’ve no doubt worked it, Helen sometimes leaps in and helps Izzy with her out.

I also recall a comment made by a childminder I know. She once remarked that younger children often progress more slowly at school because the rest of the family helps them out and so they don’t have to work things out for themselves.

Based on Izzy’s recent parent’s evening, I don’t think that’s the case in this household. Even so, I can see how that could happen and think there’s probably something in what she said.

Izzy gets to play with her older sister’s friends. She also benefits from the fact Mrs Adams and I have the experience of raising Helen and getting her settled into school. We’ve had our successes, but we’ve certainly made our mistakes along the way, mistakes we don’t repeat with Izzy.

I won’t deny it, I can tell you exactly what time of day Helen was Born. With Izzy, I can give you an approximation within 30 minutes of the time she entered the world. I know how much Helen weighed when she was born, but I am struggling to recall how much Izzy weighed.

Having always thought that second child syndrome was a negative thing, I’m beginning to question if that’s a rather simplistic way of looking at things. Sure, it may be a bit tough at times, but it looks to me like it comes with some great benefits.

What do you think? Is second child syndrome all that bad? Maybe you were the second child? Did you feel like you were always in your siblings’ shadow or do you think it came with lots of benefits?

DIY Daddy

10 thoughts on “Second child syndrome: Is it that bad?”

  1. I was a first child myself. That said, I’d have to say there are benefits to being second or third child. But I also wouldn’t say the benefits of being second outweigh the benefits of being first- just different!

    1. Yeah I’m getting quite a few comments like this. It seems there are pros and cons, no one place in the family is better than another.

  2. I was/am the eldest and my sister has and still does complain about the effects of second child syndrome – in fact she bangs on and on about it ! My parents have clearly disagreed for years but having recently downsized we were invited to claim various things they had stored in the family home for decades including family photographs. My sister was proved right – there were barely any photos of her for the first 4 years of her life! My mother swore they must have been misplaced! The argument is ongoing… There are pros and cons to the syndrome – as parents having been through the whole school shenanigans once it is fab to be able to flaunt that “been there done that” tshirt but in terms of the benefits between the two siblings it has been worthless. My youngest’s weakest subject is maths which is my eldest’s strongest yet he has proved to be totally useless in terms of helping his sister – even with an A* at A’level he still claims he can’t remember how to do algebraic fractions when my youngest facetimes him for help at university. John I could write an essay….#thatfridaylinky

  3. Sadie | Be Your Own Example

    I’ve got three kids, and I think they’ve all had their advantages and disadvantages from their place in the running order. I think for the most part they all balance out. People always say it’s funny how different your kids can be from each other, and that’s true, but I also think it’s funny how different you as a parent can be too.

    1. Yeah, there are pros and cons wherever you come in the family pecking order. I possibly hadn’t given that enough thought but glad to hear it balances out.

  4. It’s a difficult one for me this although I think everybody wherever they are placed first second, third all positions have advantages and disadvantages. Funny thing is with twins neither gets a better deal it just a natural thing that both get equal of everything time, or help. And actually help us equally. Your posts always get me thinking very thought provoking Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    1. I like to get people thinking Nigel! I hadn’t even thought of twins (or multiples). That’s just a whole other realm! You have a point though, there a pluses and minuses wherever you come in the family.

  5. Jo - Pickle & Poppet

    It depends how you look at it I guess My sister was the youngest and she had less photos but that was probably it. With our children I do not think being second has had a negative impact at all, if anything she is getting a better deal. She crawled and walked quicker because she wanted to chase her brother. She has someone to play with all the time and play as children play. So if this carries on she could be getting much more than our first did……. #ThatFridayLinky

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