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Is the 3rd child really the hardest?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
I have often heard that the third child is the hardest on family dynamics. I remember things like, "Three is the hardest, but after that, you can have 10 and it would be fine."

Any truth to this notion? We've certainly been rocked by having three little people in the house (and it's not like they're just super close in age - they're 2.5 and 3 years apart), but I don't know what part of it is the number of kids, the ages of the kids, or our own inability to cope with stress (DH, in particular).

I really want one more, but at this point DH isn't in favor because of the stress. We're working on ways to remedy some of it (he works from home, but will very soon have the option of working in another office), but then I still wonder just how much easier - or not - a fourth would be.

Would love input from those who have 4+!

Thanks!
post #2 of 50
i'm currently pregnant with #3 so i'll be watching this tread
post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scifimama View Post
i'm currently pregnant with #3 so i'll be watching this tread
And your 3rd is due on my 3rd's birthday!

Which makes me wonder, too, how much gender has an effect. We have all boys, who tend to be active (but can also sit for an hour or 5 reading books). I have no idea how it might be different if we had all - or any - girls!
post #4 of 50


Have 3 (5, 3, 1), trying for #4.
post #5 of 50
i know that my 2 boys can be very loud and wild. the loud volume is what really stresses me out but when the two boys fight, it seems to really stress out DH. we don't know what we're having yet but if it's a quiet little girl, i might not know what to do with her lol. i'm sure this baby will really change things either way.

but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.
post #6 of 50
I had a girl, 19mnths later a boy, 23 mnths later another boy. #2 was the hardest for me because I was in a bad spot emotionally. #3 integrated into our lives and routines really easily. I'm hopeful that #4 will be the same!
post #7 of 50
There are no guarantees. I was the third in my family and I was AWFUL (not as a baby, but as a toddler and child)... but number 4 had special needs, so there you go. FTR, numbers 5 and 6 were pretty good.
post #8 of 50
#3 was very difficult for me. I felt like a super-mom of 2 but having a third child was very humbling and difficult. And it's not that he was a particularly difficult child, either. He cried a lot as a newborn but by about 2 months he was very content and not nearly as "high needs" as my first two had been. I mean, he was a baby that at 6 months would take a nap by himself for 2 hours. I didn't think babies like that existed! So it wasn't him, really, just trying to figure out how to juggle instead of just passing two balls back and forth, you know? #4 was a very easy transition, and overall, 4 is much easier than 3.
post #9 of 50
3 has been rough on our family, not for me, but for DH. The children are 7, 3 and 9 months. DS has been an easy baby, but my older two girls are not. DD1 is a very intense child with anxiety issues and some other things, DD2 is normal but has not taken to being the middle child well so has been difficult as well. 3 has made our house more much crazier, DH is not handling the stress well at all. I have to admit that this is a sore spot for me, I am the one dealing with most of the child related tasks, but when outnumbered by 3 to 1, DH does have to step up more. Drop a child off here, take one at night, all of this are things he never really had to do before.


I go back and forth about a 4th, DH is very much against another child, he feels that he can't handle the ones he has. If he was not so opposed then I would really be wanting another one, but now I am really weighing if our family (DH) can handle it.

But for me, the 3rd has been the easiest, DD1 was a screaming mess for the first year of her life, DD2 was very ill and had medical problems, DS has been no problem at all for me. It was like he was born, and then the next day our life went on instead of coming to s screeching halt like it had with the others.
post #10 of 50
I think it would also depend on ages. My #2 and #3 are only 16 mos apart---we rarely left the house and I was REALLY TIRED a lot.

I think we could've easily added a 4th when #3 turned 4 or so. My nieces are 6 and 3 and I keep them often with no problems. (My kids are 12, 7 and 6.)
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scifimama View Post
i know that my 2 boys can be very loud and wild. the loud volume is what really stresses me out but when the two boys fight, it seems to really stress out DH. we don't know what we're having yet but if it's a quiet little girl, i might not know what to do with her lol. i'm sure this baby will really change things either way.

but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.
This made me laugh "quiet little girl" my son will chill and watch movies, snuggle, and occupy himself for hours with his trains. DD1 on the other hand is loud, active, argumentative, (of course wonderful, loving, intelligent and sensitive too) but she would NEVER fit in the "quiet little girl" category, lol

My 3rd is also a girl, she's 9 1/2 months now and I think at this point, though it's hard to know for sure, that she takes after her oldest sister. I'm a little scared...
post #12 of 50
The 3rd, for us, was definitely the most difficult adjustment. Our 4th is a high-needs little guy, but it has been a pretty smooth transition (so much so that I want to try for #5!) Or maybe I have just gone a little crazy and everyone around me is too afraid to tell me so.......
post #13 of 50
I remember when I was very pregnant with my third, my dentist told me "The third is what pushed us over the edge." LOL. In a way he was right on. My third was a perfect baby, quiet, slept a great deal, etc. But she was still a baby with lots of demands and it was hard to keep up with three little people. She was five years younger than my oldest and a little less than two with my middle.

Now I can do it but the dynamics are interesting. Middle child is a slightly out there, very independent stubborn little girl with lots of energy. Oldest son is very sweet but just got diagnosised with epilepsy. The youngest is also very independent and feisty but she likes company more than the middle. There is a lot of fighting between the two youngest girls. And we homeschool:P We did adjust though, and the panic I felt initially is gone. I feel pretty capable of going out with all of them etc. Interestingly dh never felt stressed by three. We'll see how he does with four.

Right now I'm accepting our fourth in April. I have to admit to not feeling as paniced as I did when pregnant with number three. Could be that I have no toddlers running around but I do feel more confident having survived three so to speak.
post #14 of 50
I only have 2, but my mom had 4. According to her, adding the third was much easier than adding the second, and I (Child #1) accepted #3 much more easily than I did #2. The first 3 kids were all 18 months apart. The one who affected our family dynamics most was #4, who came along 4 1/2 years later, but that was mostly because of his special needs.
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scifimama View Post
i know that my 2 boys can be very loud and wild. the loud volume is what really stresses me out but when the two boys fight, it seems to really stress out DH. we don't know what we're having yet but if it's a quiet little girl, i might not know what to do with her lol. i'm sure this baby will really change things either way.

but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.
Ha! My neighbor has 4 children, stairstepped from 6-10. The girls are by far the loudest!!! And in my house, the boy can be loud w/noises of all kinds, but the girls will.not.hush!!! Like ever, lol. Mighty mouths, all of 'em.

Seems like when boys are together playing all you hear are all kinds of noises like truck noises, monster noises, Star Wars sounds, but when girls get together, they TALK.

For me, the 2nd was the hardest, and anything after that was cake.
post #16 of 50
We have four (8,7,2,and 7 weeks).

I think it depends on the spacing of the children and the children you are given

#1 was a very easy child. Loved to sleep. Very happy. Still a wonderful kid.

#2 was very needy and I struggled for the first year+. Never seemed to sleep.

#3 was easier, still not a sleeper but was an easier baby and the adjustment was smooth. Older sibs helped out which is a bonus!

#4 is a great baby but #3 is now 2 and keeping me on my toes. Adding #4 has been the biggest adjustment. If this baby was as needy as #2 was I think I'd really be struggling right now.

I also think my expectations and my attitude have improved over the years. I'm much easier going than I was when we started our parenting journey.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
post #17 of 50
No! The 5th is!

If I had stopped at 3, then yes....and after the 3rd we took a break for 4 years!

The 4th was wonderful......maybe we should have stopped there LOL!

This 5th kid.......we've been DONE!!! But uggg! #6 is on the way.....

.....Maybe it's good to stop at an even number
post #18 of 50
For us, it was the personality of the child that made it hard, not their postion in the family. Angela, our 3rd, was easy to add into the family dynamics. It was Erica, our 2nd, that was hard. Erica is the reason why there is 4 years between her and Angela but only 2.5 years between Joy and Erica. Dylan also upset the dynamics. MOre because of his personality, than the age span. If we had had Erica first, chances are she would have been an only child.
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by scifimama View Post

but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.
When we got married, dh wanted 6 and I wanted none. We said that we compromised with 3 until Dylan came along.
post #20 of 50
I'm sure it depends on the ages too but for us, yes #3 was hardest. Not that she was our hardest child but having three children under 5yo was hard. Now that I have a 9yo and a 7yo who can help out with the chores and play with the younger children and are somewhat self-sufficient, it does make it a lot simpler. Still not easy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything and we are working on #6.
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