Today's parents plan joint birthdays for the same reason your mother did: It's convenient, cheaper and theoretically easier than throwing two parties. But their online ruminations suggest that they worry about making the right choice.
When they wake you with a tray of pancakes and handmade cards this year, thank them and tell them how much you appreciate them. But also use the moment to usher in a new year of family consciousness in which everyone -- not just you -- is responsible for getting through the day.
Be explicit. When you hold your own "I" in check, help him notice: "Waiting on this line is so annoying. I feel like yelling at the lady behind the counter, but she's doing her best. Besides, I'm not the only one who has to wait."
Try not to typecast your boys. View them through a family lens: Your firstborn had you and his dad all to himself for more than half his life. Your second child came home to an already-formed household.
Some parents fear that financial discussions "burden" children. But it's just the opposite. Earning and spending should be part of everyday conversation so kids grow up armed with awareness and information.