Birth Order and the Effect on Your Personality

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Birth order and the effect it has on your personality

Some parents often wonder, what, if any, effect birth order will have on their children's personalities. Genetic factors and other influences play a significannot role, but the birth order within the family plays a larger role in determining the personality of children. Countless academic studies say your place in the family is such a strong factor in developing your personality that it can have a major influence on the rest of your life.

Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychiatrist and former disciple of Freud, acknowledge environmental influences such as social class, geographic origin and relationship with parents as factors in the development of personality. But it was birth order and relationship with siblings that was the single most reliable predictor of human nature (Udall).

Joy Berthoud, author of "Pecking Order," had read and been convinced by this and researched and confirmed it. "I am a journalist and wanted to stand it up myself," she says. Hundreds of interviews later, she had her proof. "Without exception, everyone I spoke to displayed the characteristics of their position in the family pecking order." There are many variables, she was quick to point out, dictated most notable by age gab and the gender of the children. "A girl with a sister two years her senior will be closer to the model of the second child than a girl with a brother ten years order, who might well display more of the characteristics of a first or only child" (Udall).

Frank J. Sulloway, researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has studied the differences in sets of siblings throughout history. He recorded his findings in the book, "Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics and Creative Lives." In almost every case Sulloway found that siblings seemed to seek different roles in the family. If the first child was feisty and active, and the second child would be significannot ly more likely to be quiet and sensitive and vice versa (Brazelton).

Firstborns, Sulloway conclude, were likely to be more conforming and traditional, identifying with their parents' power. In most cases, they were tough-minded and determined, driving toward success. They were likely to be responsible, achievement-oriented and organized (Brazelton). First born children often receive a good deal of attention from their parents, but many are also subject to especially high expectations ("Parenting- Children"). Frequently, first born have school success, are often bossy, overbearing and rigid. Since first time parents tend to be anxious, apprehensive and demanding, their children are affected. They get the full love and attention of their parents, but they are also subject to strong expectations of family standards and values ("Birth order and your child"). The oldest is filled with self-confidence and usually enjoys being a leader and dominating conversations. They also tend to be good nurturers, high achievers, adult-oriented and reliable (Payton).

"During World War II," Dr. Frank Sulloway explains, "most major political leaders were first born or only children, including Roosevelt, Churchill, Mussolini and Stalin. Adolf Hitler is an exception, but only a partial one. He was his mother's first surviving child, and she. . . favored him over two older stepchildren. . .(Cook)."

A book called "Birth Order Blues" by child and family therapist Meri Wallace, is a on the issue that predicts children's behavior by the order in which they were born. Besides describing the characteristics of each child, Wallace's book also offers parents strategies of what to say and do if their kids are suffering from birth order blues (Payton).

Problems that might occur with the older children is that he or she feels dethroned by the birth of a new sibling or they feel a loss of privacy. Signs that the oldest child is suffering is he or she constantly abuses their younger sibling physically and...
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