It is a commonly known fact that not all children are the same, not even close. But at the same time, children follow distinct patterns based on where they are in their family's birth order. The only child, the first child, the middle, and the last all have distinct traits that can fit into each family. Not every child fits into every single characteristic, but virtually everyone can relate in some way or another. Many psychologists have argued that birth order is nothing but a myth, at the same time many others have found that it has strong ties to childhood development and even life as an adult. Birth order affects the way children behave with siblings and parents. Younger children have to learn that the older is bigger and stronger. The older child has to learn responsibility, leadership, and caring. The middle child has to do both (Harris, Effects). Birth order has a strong effect on what kind of characteristics children will develop as they grow into adulthood.
I come from a family of five children and it is amazing how each and every one of us has a different trait. I am the oldest of the five and am very accustomed to the idea of being the first. I was the first one to drive, the first one to graduate, the first to get a job, and the first to move out. From this I feel that I have more responsibilities than my other sisters. I have to show them the right way and be an example of good behavior. When I do not give the best examples, they too become a model of what not to do. The second child of the family has proven to break away from my mold and has almost become my opposite. She has poor motivation and has a hard time listening to orders. She is easily frustrated with other members of the family and is extremely short tempered with all of us. Although, around her friends she can be one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. She has felt that she does not have the attention of the parents. The middle child of the family has proven to be the most spoiled. She has found a way to get virtually everything she wants; she is the negotiator. The middle child is very outgoing and does not feel pressured when she is around new people. She makes it a point not to know a single stranger. There is absolutely no research on the fourth child, but in my family the fourth child is the sweetest girl in the world. She does not know how to be mean and would do anything for anyone else. She has a strong sense of right and wrong and knows when she crosses the line. She has watched everyone else get in trouble and knows how to stay low key in order to keep herself in the clear. As for the last child, she is "the baby" and always will be. She gets whatever she wants, when she wants it. The youngest makes it a point to be the center of attention; she does not like it when others steal her spotlight.
I find birth order to be a very interesting subject because I come from a family that is so large. The distinctions between all of us are amazing. In my research I have found major distinctions between everything, and even some reasons why we are all the way that we are. Although there are those who do not find birth order to be a creditable field of research, I back it completely. "People can differ depending on when they were born, their sex, the family situation at the timeall of these forces are at work" (Leman, Birth 20). Many different forces produce different outcomes for every child, which is what makes everyone different. At the same time, there are simple characteristics that are apparent in certain people depending on their place within the family birth order.
The oldest children "are often the achievers, the ones who are driven toward success and stardom in their given fields" (Leman, Birth 43). First-born children tend to be high achievers in whatever they do. Some traits customarily used to label first born children include reliable, conscientious, list maker, well...
Cited: "Birth Order: Science or Myth?" Biblical Discernment Ministries. Jan 2003. 20 May 2005.
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Harris, Judith Rich. Why Are Birth Order Effects Dependent on Context? 20 May 2005.
Harris, Judith Rich. Why Can 't Birth Order Account for the Differences Between Siblings? 20 May 2005.
Leman, Kevin. The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are. New York: Dell Publishing, 1985.
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Stein, Henry T., Ph.D. Adlerian Overview of Birth Order Characteristics. 20 May 2005.
Sulloway, Frank J. Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives. New York: Pantheon Books, 1996.
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