5 Reasons It's Great to Be the Youngest

by Laurie Ulster
Originally Published: 

All over the Web, there are articles about how birth order affects your life. Having an older sister makes you less competitive, being the middle child makes you more successful, being the oldest makes you a good leader, and more. But this one caught my eye because it’s not about how it makes you a certain type of person, it’s just about why being the youngest in your family rocks.

I’m not the youngest; my brother is. There were four of us growing up (although our number grew to six almost a generation later, turning us into some alternate-universe version of The Brady Brunch, with me as Jan), and my brother definitely reaped the benefits of being the baby of the family. Here are five reasons why:

There’s Always Someone to Play With

With four of us, and all of our friends, there was always someone around to amuse my brother. If he wanted someone to hang around with, he had his pick.

Everything They Do Is Adorable

My mom, who was bearing the stress of being a divorced woman who both worked and went to school, used to yell at us a lot. But she didn’t yell at my brother because he could make her laugh at the drop of a hat. She laughed at everything he did. His curls and his blue eyes probably helped, but I think it’s mostly that he was the youngest and cutest, and he was smart enough to use it.

Their Wars Had Already Been Waged

My sister, the oldest, had all the typical teenage fights with my mom. She fought the battle for independence. She had the party when my mom was away and broke the stereo. She got in all the trouble, and my brother had years to watch this unfold and adjust his behavior accordingly. I don’t even remember him fighting with my mom, but I do remember that he almost never got punished for anything.

They Learn From Our Mistakes

The three of us older kids all went through some sort of crazy rebellious phase in high school. While the others dropped out for brief periods of time, I was more passive, and simply went from being a straight-A student to a kid who argued with the teachers I didn’t like. My grades plummeted along with my interest in the “oppressive” school system. (And I probably went to one of the most lenient high schools on the planet.) My brother watched us all, and then navigated his own high school education with ease. He graduated early, with great grades and very little stress, and spent most of his final year hanging out in the music room.

Their Accomplishments Are Magnified

I can’t think of one graduation that any of us went to as a family except for my little brother’s graduation from college. Granted it was the fun one, since he went to Berklee College of Music and graduation was a live music performance, but still … I didn’t even go to my own, and I graduated the same year he did, having taken a few years off in the middle.

I bet my brother wouldn’t even realize these advantages because like most people on the planet, he probably thinks he had it worse. But the rest of us know the truth.

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