New topic... Birth order

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by fight4acure, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    What is your birth order? Does it represent you well?

    Just talking with my mother about my brothers and I and how we were different in our own ways and similar in others.

    I'm curious to know if others relate well to the order of birth theories...

    I'm a middle child, yet I tend to be a first born at times because I'm the only girl in the family and helped out when my mother was not able to do stuff.

    Inquiring minds want to know if this theory fits you!

  2. budmickl

    budmickl New Member

    I am the middle child of 3 biological daughters. I find this an interesting article.


    Birth Order

    Where a child places in the birth order can have an effect on how he sees himself. Research on birth order, sometimes referred to as ordinal position, shows that first born children are more likely to go to college than children in any other position in the family. These apply to "typical families" and probably do not apply to "dysfunction families" and may vary across various cultures. Parents should attempt to help each child to see themselves as unique individuals and avoid comparisons with siblings or others.

    The middle child often seems to have the most negative impressions of his lot in life. One approach to help middle children reframe things is to point out that in a sense they have the best of both worlds. They are the youngest to the older sibling and the oldest to the younger sibling. Therefore they are both a big brother/sister and a little brother/sister. Younger children always want to be able to do the things older siblings are allowed to do. And older siblings may feel that the younger siblings get away with things they were not able to when they were the same age.

    The following characteristics will not apply to all children in every family. Typical characteristics, however, can be identified:

    Birth Order Typical Characteristics
    Only Child Pampered and spoiled.
    Feels incompetent because adults are more capable.
    Is center of attention; often enjoys position. May feel special.
    Relies on service from others rather than own efforts
    Feels unfairly treated when doesn't get own way.
    May refuse to cooperate.
    Plays "divide and conquer" to get own way.

    First Child Is only child for period of time; used to being center
    of attention.
    Believes must gain and hold superiority over other children.
    Being right, controlling often important.
    May respond to birth of second child by feeling unloved and neglected.
    Strives to keep or regain parents' attention through conformity. If this failed, chooses to misbehave.
    May develop competent, responsible behavior or become very discouraged.
    Sometime strives to protect and help others.
    Strives to please.

    Second Child Never has parents' undivided attention.
    Always has sibling ahead who's more advanced.
    Acts as if in race, trying to catch up or overtake first child. If first child is "good," second may become "bad." Develops abilities first child doesn't exhibit. If first child successful, may feel uncertain of self and abilities.
    May be rebel.
    Often doesn't like position.
    Feels "squeezed" if third child is born.
    May push down other siblings.

    Middle Child
    of Three Has neither rights of oldest nor privileges of youngest.
    Feels life is unfair.
    Feels unloved, left out, "squeezed."
    Feels doesn't have place in family.
    Becomes discouraged and "problem child" or elevates self by pushing down other siblings.
    Is adaptable.
    Learns to deal with both oldest and youngest sibling.

    Youngest Child Behaves like only child.
    Feels every one bigger and more capable.
    Expects others to do things, make decisions, take responsibility.
    Feels smallest and weakest. May not be taken seriously.
    Becomes boss of family in getting service and own way.
    Develops feelings of inferiority or becomes "speeder" and overtakes older siblings.
    Remains "The Baby." Places others in service.
    If youngest of three, often allies with oldest child against middle child.

    NOTES: 1. The middle child of three is usually different from the middle child of a large family. The middle children of large families are often less competitive as parents don't have as much time to give each child and so the children learn to cooperate to get what they want. 2. Only children usually want to be adults, and so don't relate to peers very well. When they become adults, they often believe they've finally "made it" and can now relate better to adults as peers. 3. During their formative years, only children live primarily in the world of adults. They must learn how to operate in the big people's world as well as how to entertain themselves. Thus they often become very creative in their endeavors.
    (Adapted from Don Dinkmeyer, Gary D. McKay, and Don Dinkmeyer, Jr., Parent Education Leader's Manual Coral Springs, F:; CMTI Press, 1978)

  3. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    I read that article, thank you for bringing it up!

    I'm always intrigued by new information!

    I'd have to say though, it does look like many people have many views of birth order, because I read that the middle child was the peace maker. Yet it says in the article you posted that the middle child...tends to put down other siblings to feel adequate. That does not sound true at all in my case.

    It also says that the middle child has a negative view of the way life is, yet I've held many positive views in life, and that's what keeps me fighting for things I believe in, and that's what keeps me achieving goals as well.

    I wonder how I might be different since I was the only girl out of the three brothers. I am a third child, but the only girl, and my oldest brother is 5 years older than me, and the second oldest brother is 4 years older than me, and then my brother is a year and a half younger than me.

    I wonder if anyone read any articles about how middle children or third children are different than the "typical" third or middle child, if they are the opposite sex, or if they are the only girl (or boy in some people's cases) in the family.

    Inquiring minds want to know!


    Fight4acure :)

    [This Message was Edited on 04/03/2008]
  4. tandy

    tandy New Member

    I don't even know where I'd put myself in order.
    I'm the 6th child, of 9.

    Oh no! does that make me a middle child??
    I will admit to being mildly stubborn at times :)
  5. LenoreR

    LenoreR New Member

    .........and these DDs really mess me up and piss me off! lol

    My family is boy/girl/boy. First boy has tons of special needs, making him much like the baby. Daughter is typical middle child AND typical first born, as she is ahead of her brother. She's in jr high and already knows even which university she wants to go to! The youngest is my pride and joy, but also has special needs. He's mostly typical youngest, but has some first born issue traits.

    Step daughter to be is biologically and blended middle child, but she has issues too (speech, depression, etc). I found the articles most interesting and have an inquiring mind too.

    Keep this thread going!

  6. kellygirl

    kellygirl Member

    That's funny, that's how I always tell people, I have the best of both worlds. It took a long time to feel that way though.

    I always felt and sometimes still do that I do not belong. I always tried to hide when I was a child. I even went into a dark closet one time trying to disappear.

    I am not organized, and my oldest sister always labels her containers in her garage and carries a pen and tablet. Her house was always perfection, whereas I have pets and am clean but things always need picking up.

    She and her husband were both first children and this way and did perfectly in a career military family. She even had to organize meals a month ahead where I just look to see what's in the fridge for the day.

    She was my substitute mother, too, and I would never, ever want to have traded places with her. She had it tough.

  7. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    ...and the description in the article fits me to a tee!

    I guess the controlling part is the hardest to handle with this DD. I have always been able to make things work, make what I want happen. GRRRR!

    Good topic. Have been intrigued by this for years.


  8. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    everyone's responses! :)

    It's very interesting to me!

    I still need to find out if being the only girl makes a difference, and when I went to live with another family, I was the oldest kid of the family.

    Yet I've been a peace maker, but I confront anything that bothers me. I'm not shy to confront.

    I think I'm just in between a first born and middle/third child.

    I love this topic though and love to hear how people react differently.

    My exbf is an only child, because his sister is many years younger? Imagine trying to get along with an only child if you're a first-third born... : ) (((No offense to you only children...)))

    Hugs all!

    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2008]
  9. LenoreR

    LenoreR New Member

    Hiya Fight,

    I think it does make a difference. My middle child is also my only girl. She is very spoiled by her middle child father <grin> and gets away with more then her brothers with me.

    Here's what I tell my three kids: The oldest is special because he was my first, the middle is special because she's my only girl, and the youngest is special because he'll always be the baby of the family. Mom has no "favorites". They seem to like this view, and their traditional characteristics then seem to blur.

    Just my take,
  10. doloresf1

    doloresf1 New Member

    in an alcoholic home. I'm definitely the overlooked child.

    I'm such a people pleaser, always looking for approval.

    Man I hate this topic! :~)
    Hugs. doloresf1
    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2008]
  11. sorekitty

    sorekitty New Member

    Well, I think the first paragraph of the article says it all. The theory fits "typical families" NOT disfunctional. My family was disfunctional so it doesn't fit very well. I am the youngest of 3 girls. As the baby though I did/do feel a lot of the characterisics. I sometimes forget I'm an adult. I look around for someone to take responsibility and then figure out I'm it! It is a weird feeling. I always feel young but I am not anymore. Honestly, I am lucky I got to where I am today in spite of my family of origin. My past therapist called me the pick of the litter, lol! How do you like that?!

  12. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    but child of an alcoholic father, sober now though.

    middle children tend to people please. that was me for many years.

    my son is an only child, not spoiled etc. very indenpent always entertained himself w/books, writing poems, drawing and sports. all about the parent raising them...i was not perfect but i did the best i could for the living hell i have and cody has been through w/his father.

    that is my 2 cents.

  13. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    I am enjoying reading the interesting responses!

    One thing I wonder, how did the researchers that studied child order know if the family was dysfunctional or not.

    Anyway, just something to think of...

    I was not a spoiled child. My mother was a spoiled, only child, since she was adopted. She's always had her way when it comes to everything, and will throw a fit if she doesn't get her way. I've never got along well with onlies who were spoiled, in general.

    I grew up in a really German family. Women and especially little girls, were never spoiled. It was always the man coming first, and especially little boys. My father might have been more gentle with me, but I got into less trouble, so he should have.

    But I can say I was cherished big time by the grandmother who was also a middle/third child and only girl. We were like best friends, sisters, and couldn't keep many secrets from each other. My mom, the spoiled only was so fed up with it, as she didn't have this type of relationship with her adoptive mother, so she gave me lots of crap over it, and tried to split us apart many a times, but we wouldn't have it. We were like bread and butter and could read each other's minds. :)

    My mom gets along best with her two spoiled children, the 2nd born and the last born. She thinks they are angels. She says she loves them most because they teach her how to have fun, while the 1st born and the 3rd born (me) were teaching her how to create order out of chaos.

    The second born was the worst when it came to chaos, and yet my mom would cuddle him, and then the last born was second worse. Of course my oldest brother and me were always blamed for the chaos.

    I'm glad I am where I am today. I'm not lazy, chaotic, blaming everything on everyone else, and I am glad I am who I am, not like anyone else in my family. :)

    Note: Not all lonely children are spoiled... and the birth order does not always represent the case... as things are different in different circumstances. I wish they would do more studying on birth order.

    : )


    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2008]
  14. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Birth Order Typical Characteristics
    Only Child Pampered and spoiled.
    Feels incompetent because adults are more capable.
    Is center of attention; often enjoys position. May feel special.
    Relies on service from others rather than own efforts
    Feels unfairly treated when doesn't get own way.
    May refuse to cooperate.
    Plays "divide and conquer" to get own way.

    An only child here...I'm not seeing myself in this description.

    So I've written my experience:

    I was raised to be very self-sufficient. I hated being the center of attention -- if (on the one hand), all 'positive' attention comes our way, then it is also true that all 'negative' attention comes our way. There is no one to deflect the attention. There is no flying under the radar.

    My fault growing up was too being lax in sharing. For some reason, non-onlies tended to be taught that I needed to 'learn' to share. Thus, many of my things were stolen ('borrowed' and not returned = stolen). This taught me to be rather cautious about others' motivations and actions.

    I'm stunned when I meet people who can't go to the movies by themselves or eat a meal by themselves. As if all of life owes them an audience. I tend to be the handy ear for most of my friends. Growing up, 3/4 of my friends were youngest children. Interestingly, my long-term friends from that time period tend to be the oldests or the oldest of their gender.

    As a result of my upbringing, I have rather low expectations of what others will bring to the table. The first time my new husband offered to get me a soda (and did!), I almost fell off the couch. In my house, I certainly wasn't catered to. You wanted something, you got up and got it yourself.

    In the end, though, when more is given, more is expected. It's a good thing I grew up surrounded more by grownups than children -- I was required to grow up pretty fast. By 33 I'd lost both my parents. There's a part of me that always felt like I was more grown up than my parents.

    My husband is not a first, but he is a first son. We get along really well together. We have an only who would have been a wonderful big brother, but it was not to be. So I tell him that I'll have done my job if when he goes off to college he can be mostly self-sufficient, like I was.

    P.S. Technically, I am not an only child. I was raised as one. Technically, I am my father's third child (of four). My mother's only.

    P.S. 2 Went to the site referenced. This is from 1978. There is a lot of water under the birth order bridge since this was written.[This Message was Edited on 04/05/2008]
  15. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    Thank you so much for the interesting responses!

    Some this theory fits to a T and some it does not. I see that there are classic cases and then there are cases that contradict the classic cases. I always think, no matter how someone says we aught to be, never read a book by it's cover.

    My 2nd oldest brother was a big problem child, yet it said that the 3rd born was the problem child. I was the third born and more innocent than can be. Even when I was perfect, which was often, I was blamed for my brother's faults. But the last thing I did was cause problems for everyone.

    Hugs all!

    I'll try to find more updated research, other than the article that another posted.

  16. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    This website I found cute, especially for me, ha ha!

    I thought I'd share it with you all...

  17. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

  18. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    No more responses, so I'm going to bump up to the top.

    I was more of a grandma's girl, my mother's adoptive mother, my great aunt, was my grandmother. She was so wonderful! She was also a middle child and the only girl in the family, which is why I think we clicked more than my clicking with anyone else.

    There was chaos in my family. A lot of competition for attention unfortunately, and it's still like that at times, which I cringe at. I'm not very competitive, unless it's fast driving, ha ha. I compete for fun, not for cutting off others of attention. I believe all can get equal attention if they want it, without competing.

    Being the only girl, the first thing people think is that I'm a daddy's girl. But my dad does far more things with my brothers than with me. My mom always wanted a girl too, but when she got me, she wanted me to be like the boys. She did not know how to raise a girl. My cousins can attest to this. So I was not a mommy's girl either. My grandma, who passed away 4 years ago, was my favorite, and I was hers.

    Hugs all : )

    One thing I've found, you cannot judge someone by their birth order. While some things may make some sense, it's not always the case. That's why I posted this to see the differences in opinions on this long drawn out theory of the olden days. While it's fun to make the connections, always remember, that we are not determined by our birth order, but rather how we make things work in life, how we grow and learn, and how our personalities and environments are and have been.

  19. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    And for the author to exclude families that are dysfunctional, is a cop out because what families are totally functional? I have not seen one that hasn't had some kind of dysfunction. And when people say my family was dysfunction, I say, what families aren't in some sort of way?

    Hugs all :)
    [This Message was Edited on 04/06/2008]
  20. mollystwin

    mollystwin New Member

    I am the youngest of 10, but I have a twin, who is nine minutes older, technically that makes me youngest.

    Youngest Child Behaves like only child. Hard to act like this when you have a twin and 9 other sibs!!

    Feels every one bigger and more capable. Yep, that was me alright!

    Expects others to do things, make decisions, take responsibility. No, was pretty much on my own for all decisions and responsibility

    Feels smallest and weakest. May not be taken seriously. I am the smallest, not necessarily weakest, and am still not taken seriously.

    Becomes boss of family in getting service and own way. NEVER was boss of the family.

    Develops feelings of inferiority or becomes "speeder" and overtakes older siblings. Felt inferiory, never overtook sibs.

    Remains "The Baby." Places others in service. Not sure.

    If youngest of three, often allies with oldest child against middle child. NA


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