Birth Order

How Birth Order Affects Ones Personality
Everyone in the world is born with a special and unique character. Some of their personality is shaped by their surroundings as they grow up as well as the factor of genetics. It is believed by some psychologists/researchers that birth order has a tendency to influence parts of the personality. Birth order isnt a simplistic 1-2-3 system that says all first borns are equally one way, all second children are another and last-born kids are always just like this or that. These are simply tendencies and general characteristics that often apply. There are dynamics with families that can change relationships. Through your position in the family you develop your behavior pattern, way of thinking and emotional response. Your birth order helps determine your expectations, your strategies for dealing with people and your weaknesses.
Reasons for being interested in Birth order is because it is one way to gain an understanding of friends, family members, boy friends, really anyone you wanted to try to scope out. Unfortunately there arent any fortune cards or magic spells to understand family and friends. Knowing and understanding birth order can not only help you understand other people but yourself included.
The only- child develops characteristics from having to cope with playing alone and with having to fend off adult intrusion. Only children tend to feel frustrated and throw tantrums when not pleased. They love to say Leave me alone, Id rather do it myself! They tend to have imaginary companions and feel as if the child within was smothered because they had to grow up so quickly. Therefore in turn allow their own children time and space. As well as always being an emotional and considerate friend that loves to listen.
First borns tend to be goal setters and high achievers. Along with being perfectionists who are very responsible, organized and determined people. They are rule keepers and follow all the details. The first born is an only child until the second child comes to take away the mothers attention. The only child becomes a first born feeling there is no love for him or her. In school, first-borns tend to work harder for grades than do later-borns. They often grow to be more competitive and to have higher educational and career aspirations. Any enumeration of prominent people, eminent scholars, even presidents of the United States contains a higher percent of first borns. Of the first twenty-three astronauts sent into outer space, twenty-one were first-borns or only children. One psychologist, specifying in birth order, as well as a mother of a first-born child remarked, No wonder most of the astronauts are first borns. They will do anything to get away from those parents who hounded them mercilessly. This was after telling a story about how many mothers try to push their first child much harder than they should. In her case, she specifically remembers trying to convince her two year old son to get into the crashing waves of the ocean.
The middle-child or the second born tends to be very flexible and diplomatic. They are always generous and very sociable people. The second- born loses attention as the first born aggressively takes it away, leaving the second child to feel as if he or she cannot do anything well enough to merit attention. Therefore their parents hardly notice them compared to younger children. As a result, they suffer less from their parents neurosis and are relaxed, easy going and malleable peacemakers. They are good mediators and have superior cooperation skills. They dont have their parents all to themselves or get their own way. Therefore, they learn to negotiate and compromise. They often make excellent managers and leaders because of these skills. Sometimes it is found that the in- between kids actually have the most comfortable position in the birth order. They dont have to please their parents because the parents are too busy with the next kid.
The youngest or the last born is always considered the king or queen. The second- child picks on the third in the process of trying to pass on the feeling of inadequacy. Rather than feel inadequate, the third born feels vulnerable. He or she learns to think that anyone can get to him or her. As a result this last child relies heavily on the parents. This child is treated like a king and king needs his court to serve him. The kid needs his food served, his clothes brought to him.

The baby is not as achievement oriented as the others, especially the firstborn who is still seeking mommy and daddys approval. The baby never cares about mommy or daddys approval, just simply expects it no matter what. Although other studies have found that the youngest children in the family are typically outgoing and great at motivating other people. They are also affectionate, uncomplicated and sometimes a little absent-minded. These also have found that babies of the family gravitate toward vocations that are people oriented. Good sales people are often last borns. Some characteristics of the last born child are that they are creative and have a good sense of humor. They are outgoing and idea type of people, as well as risk takers.
Just as a little piece of advice, there is a way to spare your child the trauma of being defined by their place in the birth order– Have Twins!! ( Actually this is not true from personal experience my baby brothers are twins. The one who was born two hours before the other matches the first- born , second-born scenario perfectly.)
Many people wonder what will happen to a childs personality based on birth order when there is a divorce. Quite obviously, divorce is a very emotional thing for a child to go through especially when they are younger. The divorce will not effect the birth order but it will effect other aspects of the childs daily life and therefore its personality. Children tend to hit the extreme sides of the spectrums. They either became incredibly independent because they feel let down by their parents and can only trust themselves. Or the child becomes very dependent on the parents, quite often the parent that they happen to spend the most time with. This is due to the fact that they do not understand what is going on in the divorce situation and they become extremely scared.
What happens when a new child is introduced into the home such as step-siblings and foster children? Depending on the age of the child already in the household and the age of the one introduced into the new environment. The younger the child is the more likely the child is to accept the new sibling as their real sibling. Many times this is done unconsciously. The new sibling becomes integrated into the birth order and therefore effects all of the childrens personalities.
Not everyones personalities match that of their birth order. Variables can affect each family situation. These variables include spacing, the sex of the child (there are actually 12 different types of personalities due to sex coinsiding with birth- order.), the sex of the child, physical differences, disabilities, the birth order position of parents, any blending of two or more families due to death or divorce and the relationship between parents. There are many different studies that have been made dealing with birth order. Each one differs slightly from the next. Some of the studies are completely opposing each other. I have tried to compile ones that are relatively similar.

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sources:
www.rayid.com/main/sibling.htm
Joman,(1993)Family Constellation: Its effects on Personality and Social Behavior. New York: Springer Pub.Co.


Leman,(1998) The New Birth Order Book: Why you are the way you are,Grand Rapids, Mich. : F.H. Revell
Lederman, Sherri Phd.(2000)Birth Order, New York, New York:Whole Family Center, Inc.

Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2ed. Gale Group,2001.in association with th Gale Group and LooksmartWords
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