Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Parents often talk about how each of their kids has different needs. What you don’t hear as much is that each kid often gets different parents. People change through experience and happenstance and just general erosion. You can’t get mad at your parents for learning to be better parents — well, you can, but it seems to be about as productive as getting mad at dogs for being hairy.
Consider this, too: You, as the oldest, got your novice parents’ full attention as a baby while the youngest probably did some hard playpen time. That’s just how big families make it all work. Then, as the older kids are successively catapulted out of the house, the youngest remains to soak up the full attention of now veteran parents.
I can’t tell you how to feel, but I can speak for myself: I try to save my jealousy and resentment for responses to the deliberate behavior of others, instead of wasting it on accidents of fate or timing.
(Then of course I try not to feel jealous or resentful at all, because that just takes crappy circumstances and adds crappy feelings to them — because even if you kid yourself that you’re just seeking fairness or justice or whatever else, you’re still gaining mostly angst.)
So, take advantage of the coding and robotics lessons you’re about to get instead of cursing the fact that you’re getting them late. In general, too, keep in mind the advice I’ve taken to heart from a reader-advice column (bit.ly/RunYOrace): Run your own race.
Right. Middles often enjoy an opportunity to be out of the glare of their parents’ attention, allowing more room to try different things. They get parents that aren’t as green as the ones the olders had, but not as burned out as the youngers.
This is generalizing, but in service of an even more useful generalization: It’s not what you get, it’s how you use it that counts.