If you’re the parent of two or more children, perhaps you’ve wondered how children in the same family can be so dramatically different.
After all, they come from the same gene pool yet they have different personalities and interests. They’re brought up in the same environment, under a similar set of rules and family values. 1
How can siblings be so different?
Our daughters have same parents, the same last name (until they married), and are both girls. That’s pretty much the extent of their similarities.
While they may be born into the same family they are not born into the same position. They are born with a different Birth Order. Birth order refers to the chronological positions in the family.2 My husband, our first daughter and I are all the oldest or first born children in our families. Each birth order generally tends to view life differently.
Origins of Birth Order
The idea that being the oldest, middle or youngest child comes with some typical personality traits has been around since the 1920s.3 Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler began stressing the importance of birth order on personality and character.
Birth Order Theory
Adler’s theory and the views of several birth order experts since, boils down to this: Children in any given family each strive for their parents’ love, attention and resources. The bigger the family, the harder it is to do this. And depending on where a child falls in the family, he or she responds differently. 3
In Their Own Words
A few weeks ago I spoke on Birth Order & Parenting. I’ll be blogging about how oldest, middle, and last born children view life and suggestions they have for parenting them in the next few blogs. Stay tuned for a first born child’s view of life.
1. The Achiever, the Peacemaker and the Life of the Party: How Birth Order Affects Personality, Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D. Ed.D., Human Behavior and Education Expert, Speaker, & Author. Posted: 12/23/2013, Updated: 02/22/2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/birth-order/ Accessed 10/10/2014.
2. Does Birth Order Really Matter? Sue Flanagan, WVU Extension Agent, Berkeley County, Patty Morrison, WVU Extension Agent, Wirt County, Extension Service, West Virginia University, 2007. www.wvu.edu/~exten/infores/pubs/fypubs/WLG Accessed 10/10/2014.
3. Birth Order: What It Means for Your Kids … and You, Janet Strassman Perlmutter, www.parenthood.com/article/birth_order_hat_it_means_for_your_kids_and_you.html. Accessed July 14, 2014.