Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Birth Order

Yahoo's homepage today has an "article" (is that what you call it?) on birth order. We've all heard the theories behind how birth order MAY effect your personality and how common traits are apparent in people of a certain ranking dependent upon birth. We've also heard how there are a million variables to this theory, like the spacing between the siblings and family size.

So, just for fun, I decided to take another look at the birth order characteristics. I can tell you this, it doesn't really apply to my family at all. We aren't spaced that abnormally apart either. My sister (the eldest) and I are 4.5 years apart, and my brother (the youngest) and I are 3.5 years apart. Yes, I'm the sad middle child.

It says that first borns are "achievers." They are very driven to success and responsibility. They tend to stick to the family rules, are conservative, status conscious and have very high self-confidence.

Middle children are seen as the family peacemakers. They are also empathetic and good natured. They don't like to rock the boat and don't like discord. They tend to play the diplomatic role.

Youngest children tend to be rebellious, like to take risks and push the envelope, and are less likely to follow authority. However, youngest's tend to be agreeable and affectionate.

Wow. That is not really us, at all. Now I don't really think this theory is based on much scientific fact, and the hundreds of variables must account for it's lack of certitude. I believe personality is nature, but is influenced by nurture. You are born with your basic personality already set, which is then changed or muted by your circumstances or environment.

My brother, the youngest, is the least among we three to take risks or chances. He is definitely not agreeable, I'd say he's more argumentative if he believes in his point. He is certainly not and never has been rebellious. He is more the type that doesn't like change. He likes things ordered. He follows the same pattern to his day, each day. He's careful and cautious and sensitive.

My sister, the eldest, is the least conservative of us. She has several tattoos and piercings. She's the one most likely to go her "own way" and choose a path we didn't expect her to choose. She IS responsible, but by no means is she a rule follower.

For myself, I would say I'm definitely not the empathetic one who doesn't like to rock the boat. Growing up, I was certainly the one who felt she needed to be responsible and to achieve. I would say I'm the more conservative of the three, and the most likely to follow rules to a T. Less likely is the role of playing peacemaker, though as a middle child I did often feel pulled in one direction or the other. I guess feeling fenced in to picking a side.

When I look at my own two daughters even, this birth order mumbo jumbo doesn't really apply to them either. My eldest is the creative dreamer. She's responsible, but she's just as happy to rush through work as take her time. She'd rather be doing any sort of art project. She certainly has very high self-confidence and self-worth, but I don't know that I'd say she's a rule follower or that she's the high achiever. She likes doing well, but her interests lie more on the artistic, dreamy side of life.

My youngest, though with a wicked temper that turns the heavens dark, is more likely to be upset if she doesn't do well or struggles. Her room is always neatly in place. If she takes something out of her drawer, or puts something in, it's folded and organized just as it was. She LIKES rules and order and actually has a tendency to not do as well if things AREN'T happening in the way she expects. She is certainly affectionate, and again has very high self worth and confidence.

But with my two daughters, it's almost the reverse as what the Birth Order Theory describes.

Maybe with all of this, what it all boils down to is we can't really label or generalize people as easily as that. We are all products of the time, of our environment, of our own personalities and quirks.

Now, astrology.....THERE'S where the true personality descriptions lie! HA!

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