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10 Reasons The Youngest Child Is Always The Most Creative Member

10 Reasons The Youngest Child Is Always The Most Creative Member

Have you ever heard of middle-child syndrome?

This is categorised as a largely negative psychological condition which typically impacts children who are born second in a sequence of three siblings. These individuals often bemoan their fate and the fact that that are largely ignored, while they may even grow to become resentful of parental attention afforded to the first-born child and youngest sibling.

While this is a well-known phenomenon, the psychological impact of being the youngest child is given far less consideration. In general terms, the youngest or last-born sibling tends to be viewed as less disadvantaged than the middle child, as they are relieved from some burdens of responsibility and are more likely to pursue non-conformist, creative goals. Successful creatives and unconventional individuals such as Charlie Chaplin, Johnny Depp, and Jim Carrey are all youngest siblings, and this reinforces the evidence behind the birth order theory.

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So why are the youngest siblings most likely to pursue unconventional and creative career paths? Let’s consider the following factors:

1. They Are Free From The Burden Of Responsibility

According to a recent report in the Metro, just 31% of all younger siblings consider themselves to be the most responsible child in their family. This contrasts with 54% of older children and suggests that the last born children are free from the considerable burden that responsibility brings at all stages of life. This enables them to pursue their passions into adulthood, rather than being required to assume responsible and well-paid careers, affording them the opportunity to indulge their creative bent.

2. They Have A Healthy Disregard For The Rules

The Metro survey also revealed that last born children tend to be more relaxed and easy-going than their older siblings, with 47% considering themselves to be flexible in the face of change. This supports the notion that they are free from the burden of responsibility, while it also suggests that they are spared the restrictive and scrutinised upbringing afforded to their brothers and sisters. The result of this is a demographic that considers rules and regulations to be flexible and has a healthy disregard for order, which encourages creativity in many of its positive, unstructured and fluid forms.

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3. They Are Actively Encouraged To Indulge Their Creative Passions

The Metro report also concluded that 17% of last born children feel favoured by their parents, in contrast with just 10% of older siblings. This suggests that younger siblings benefit from more confident and lenient parenting, as mothers and fathers become more comfortable in their roles and adopt a hands-off approach. This creates a nurturing and encouraging environment for last born children in which they are afforded the tools to follow their creative dreams rather than being moulded to assume more responsible and practical roles.

4. They Benefit From The Nurturing Presence Of Older Siblings

On a similar note, last born children can also benefit from the nurturing and protective presence of older siblings. This contributes to a close-knit support network for young infants that provides the ideal platform from which they can confidently pursue creative hobbies of their choosing. The relationship between older and younger individuals can also extend into adulthood and beyond sibling relationships, as responsible and more authoritative people help to channel raw creativity into practical innovation.

5. They Want To Change The World That First Born Children Rule

According to author Michael Grose, who penned the insightful Why Firstborns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change Itthe youngest member of a typical family is the least likely to earn a six figure salary. While some may consider this to be a negative point, this is simply due to their primary focus as individuals rather than a lack of motivation. In fact, last born children tend to be both ambitious and revolutionary in their nature, as they look to effect positive change and leave their mark on the world through non-authoritarian methods such as art or rebellion. This empowers them to be creative in the pursuit of their goals rather than formulaic.

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6. They Are Less Fashion-Conscious And Develop Their Own Trends

The concept of sharing ‘hand me down’ clothing and toys between siblings is woven into the fabric of society, especially in an age when the thrift market remains enduringly popular. This has the potential to save families huge amounts of money, although it usually means that the youngest siblings rarely receive garments and accessories that are purchased new. The result of this is that they lose touch with the prevailing fashion trends over time and instead look to develop their own sense of style. This creates an independent and creative mindset that is not bound by popular conceptions or style restrictions.

7. They Are More In Touch With Modern Technology And Creative Platforms

The youngest and last born children are more likely to grow up surrounded by the latest technological trends and platforms. Even allowing for the pace of innovation in the modern age, this affords younger children a greater opportunity to pursue and showcase their creative skills. If you look at the latest trends in television and advertising, for example, you will see that online video streaming grew at a rate of 60% at the end of 2014 and continues to outstrip traditional mediums. Given this and the fact that the video on demand (VOD) format offers greater flexibility and less regulatory barriers in terms of output, younger siblings are well placed to indulge their creativity and share this with the world.

8. They Seek Attention Through Non-confrontational Methods

According to a BBC survey from nine years ago, just over 50% of last born siblings found it easy to be humorous and make others laugh. Experts believe that this is a skill that develops organically throughout childhood, as younger siblings tend to be slightly more extroverted and motivated to compete for their parents’ attention. They look to do this through non-confrontational methods, however, with creative output an excellent way of expressing themselves and drawing the attention of those around them. This is a trend that continues into adulthood, with creative comedy writers such as Dawn French and Ricky Gervais all born as younger siblings.

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9. They Are The Least Likely To Unlearn Creativity

According to renowned teacher Jonathan Halls, every single individual is born with a creative streak. While this can be developed and honed in the right environment, it can also be partially prevented in children who are subjected to negative thinking or an overly strict upbringing. We also lose touch with our creativity as we grow older, as the pressures of adulthood, work, and relationships demand a more practical mindset. Last born siblings are the most likely to retain their creative bent, however, thanks to a less pressurised upbringing and the more manageable expectations of parents.

10. They Have More Time To Pursue Creative Hobbies During Their Teens

Although last born siblings compete for attention during childhood, this behaviour tends to subside as their older brothers and sisters leave home. This may create a period of time during their teens when they are the sole focus of their parents’ attention, creating a more reflective and thoughtful epoch of their lives. It will also help them to channel their creative instinct, since they spend more time by themselves and benefit from the opportunity to take on a wider range of artistic and design-influenced projects.

Featured photo credit: eyeImage via pixabay.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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