Birth Order theories have been around since the 1920’s. Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, was the first to emphasise the importance of birth order and how it affects our lives.
Today’s psychologists tend to believe that birth order is simply one variable that affects, but does not determine what you are like. It is very clear however, that there is a lot more to your child’s personality than what they’ve inherited from their gene pool.
Do you believe your child’s birth order has any bearing on his or her personality and should this affect the way you parent?
Research on Birth Order
Tiffany L Frank, a doctoral candidate at Adelphi University in Long Island, NY, led a recent study on 90 pairs of high school age siblings. It was found that first borns are typically smarter, while younger siblings get better grades and are more outgoing. Frank’s study also suggested that inherent differences between siblings might arise no matter what parents do.
This finding supports the work of Dr Kevin Leman, a psychologist who has studied birth order since 1967 and is also the author of The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are. Leman says “The one thing you can bet your paycheck on is the first born and second born in any given family are going to be different”. Dr Leman believes the secret to sibling personality differences lies in birth order and how parents treat their child because of it.
Child and family therapist, Meri Wallace and author of Birth Order Blues agrees with Leman. “Some of it has to do with the way the parent relates to the child in his position, and some of it happens because of the position itself. Each position has unique challenges."
For example, a firstborn will naturally be somewhat of an ‘experiment’ for parents and the early years will be a mixture of instinct and trial and error. This may cause parents to be ‘by the book’ caregivers who are extremely attentive and stringent with rules and somewhat...
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