Piatkus author Linda Blair shares her holiday advice on how to cope with Christmas as a single, first-, middle- or last-born child . . .
Christmas seems to be just about the only time these days when you can stop and catch up with the people you love and have missed.
At the same time, however, most of us also feel an element of anxiety when we contemplate spending time with our parents and our siblings. After all, we spent our entire childhood interacting in particular ways with our birth family, and some of those old habits are best left behind!
In the wake of the paperback publication of Birth Order in January, let me give you some taster tips so that this year, you can have the best holiday ever.
First-borns are the responsible, nurturing carers. When you were a child your parents probably enlisted your help to look after your brothers and sisters, so that’s the way you’ve come to expect praise and gratitude. Now, however, that sort of behaviour is likely to irritate your siblings, because it implies that they can’t fend for themselves.
This year, try turning the tables. Ask your siblings for advice in an area you know they have expertise, but you don’t. This will empower them. Then turn your nurturing skills towards your parents. How can you help them this year? They’ll appreciate your offers, particularly if mum and dad are the hosts.
You’re the peacemakers, the most socially skilled members of your family. As a child, you were the one who always looked for a compromise.
If you or your siblings now have children of your own, why not put your negotiating skills to good use by helping the little ones get along well with one another? If there aren’t any children, then look for opportunities to spend time with just one sibling at a time, so ‘being left out’ doesn’t become an issue.
You’re the charmer, the self-appointed entertainer of the family. This Christmas, why not use your talents to come up with some good ideas to keep the adults entertained?
At the same time, you’ll want to avoid that common last-born feeling that everyone still considers you to be immature and unable to manage on your own. You can do that by taking some responsibility, for example, by offering to cook something special for one of the meals.
Growing up as the only child, surrounded by adults, you’re logical, organised and self-confident. Yours is likely to be a relatively quiet and orderly festive period.
Nonetheless, it’s good for us all to ‘let go’ sometimes. Therefore, because you (and your children, if you have any yet), will be the youngest at the gathering, use your organisational skills to arrange some memorable and enjoyable Christmas outings – for example, buy everyone tickets for the Panto, or arrange to spend an afternoon at your local Christmas market.
I hope you find these tips useful – not just at Christmas, but all year round! For more information on you birth order position, Birth Order will be available in paperback on January 17th, 2013.
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