#207 – Episode 207 – Birth Order and Why It Matters


Chip and Veronica dive into the subject of birth order, how it affects us, how it impacts us as adults and why it matters to our sobriety.

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about this episode

Without a doubt, people are affected by the order in which they’re born

Contrary to what many parents say, every child has a different experience. There are so many variables. You have the classics – only child, the oldest child, middle child, and youngest child – but then there are factors like having a sibling that’s very ill or very big age gaps that impact the dynamics significantly.

In this episode, Chip and I discuss how these dynamics play out and their impact on your sobriety and society as a whole.key highlights

Making Connections

We learn how to interact with other people from our family experiences. As we get older, that affects the connections and friendships we make and how we show up in these relationships.

In researching this topic, I realized that I am a classic only child, having all the traits associated with them. When only children grow up in a dysfunctional home, there’s often a feeling of extreme isolation, with no one to share the burden. On the other side, in a functional home, only children can reap the benefits independently without having to worry about sharing attention and resources.

Essentially raising two only children at two very different times, Chip saw these dynamics play out with his children.


Resentment Between Siblings

Even in a healthy family situation, our parenting styles naturally change from one child to the other. The eldest child for every parent is basically an experiment. We have no idea what we’re doing and can often be overprotective.

By the time siblings are born, they tend to get less of this type of interaction and grow up tougher and more independent. Almost inevitably, the youngest ones get away with so much more, and that can leave the oldest ones feeling resentful.

Although Chip was the third of four children, his younger brother had a big age gap at ten years younger. The dynamic between his younger brother and his parents was worlds away from Chip’s experience. That led to resentment and feeling left out and wondering what it was about him that made his parents treat him so differently.


Missed Opportunities

In my work as a therapist, one of the things that hurts my heart the most is when I have a client who has siblings, and they’re either estranged or in a negative relationship. It’s a massive tragedy and missed opportunity. While in some cases there are good, justifiable reasons, it’s primarily because of a failure of parenting.

My goal with my kids is to nurture their bond. I want their relationship with each other and their step-siblings to be strong and for them to be able to rely on each other throughout their lives.


Your experience

How do you feel your birth order and experiences with or without siblings has affected you? Let us know what you think!

I’m curious to hear about your experiences in birth order and your relationship with your siblings and I hope to see some of you at the Sobriety Habit training at the end of January 2023. See you soon!

resources mentioned

Mentioned in the episode

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