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Old 23rd Mar 2008, 4:57   #1
Oryx
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Default Birth Order

I always found the birth order psychology interesting.

So where do youfit in?
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Old 23rd Mar 2008, 10:16   #2
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Default Re: Birth Order

I'm the middle of five and so is my husband. There isn't much in this article which rings true for us. It seems to concern itself with families of up to 3 children. I think 5 is a different dynamic.

Interestingly, the article places a lot of emphasis on what first borns and later borns are like as business people, but I have never heard of an interview question which draws out that information.
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Old 23rd Mar 2008, 10:30   #3
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I think it can work exactly the way the article states, with the eldest child profiting in all kinds of ways and feeling the conscientious care and responsibility. It can also work the other way - the eldest child being the innovator and visionary or even the slacker: those high parental expectations of a first child can send it determinedly running in the other direction. The "middle child" notions are perhaps more generally applicable: I see a tendency for parents to carry the head and the tail of the children-beast but the middle of the creature has to sometimes develop enough muscle on its own to lift itself up and carry itself ('scuse the bizarre image!).

I'm the younger of two but I honestly can't say that less was expected of me or I was in my sib's shadow. If there were differences it was more down to the boy-girl difference: my brother got the chunky encyclopaedies and histories as presents (which he wanted) but I didn't.

Edit: also, like Ang, this study doesn't differentiate between sizes of family. Mr Col is a 'middle' from a family of four, but his youngest step-sister was born after his parents re-married and when he was in his teens, so is that a three or a four? That adds a different dimension. We have four children and from other parents of four that we know, there are some commonplaces and some striking differences between our experiences and mroe often that is down to the pattern of girl/boy in the birth order.
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Old 23rd Mar 2008, 13:01   #4
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Default Re: Birth Order

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
We have four children and from other parents of four that we know, there are some commonplaces and some striking differences between our experiences and mroe often that is down to the pattern of girl/boy in the birth order.
I was thinking this too.

My husband's boy-boy-boy-girl-girl is hugely different from my girl-boy-girl-girl-girl family. He's the middle of five, but last of the boys. I'm the middle of five but following the only son, the chosen one. I am not bitter about that but one of my sisters has shown signs of it!
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Old 24th Mar 2008, 12:25   #5
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Default Re: Birth Order

There is much in the article that rings true for my family. As the eldest of three boys, I've always felt some responsibility for my younger siblings - probably been foisted on me from an early age - "You are the eldest, so you must look out for your little brothers". Even from a young age I used to tell my brothers that I was first, so I must be most wanted. In fact, I still tend to point this out regularly.

My youngest brother was always the family clown, and would do anything to be centre of attention.

But that's as far as the similarities go according to the article. My middle brother is the high-achiever with the stressful, high earning job in London. I'm supposed to be the high-earner but I'm the slacker (and happy to be!) I couldn't work in a corporate environment, and would do anything to avoid real work.

So while I would agree with some of the article, I think much of it seems like generalisation to me.
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Old 24th Mar 2008, 16:51   #6
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Default Re: Birth Order

Our oldest doesn't feel responsible for anything, let alone his siblings And for a long time always hated younger siblings copying his likes in fashion/popgroups etc because he wanted to be an individual. Now he doesn't mind so much.
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Old 24th Mar 2008, 20:58   #7
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Default Re: Birth Order

Quote:
Firstborns do more than survive; they thrive. In a recent survey of corporate heads conducted by Vistage, an international organization of ceos, poll takers reported that 43% of the people who occupy the big chair in boardrooms are firstborns, 33% are middle-borns and 23% are last-borns. Eldest siblings are disproportionately represented among surgeons and M.B.A.s too, according to Stanford University psychologist Robert Zajonc. And a recent study found a statistically significant overload of firstborns in what is—or at least ought to be—the country's most august club: the U.S. Congress. "We know that birth order determines occupational prestige to a large extent," says Zajonc. "There is some expectation that firstborns are somehow better qualified for certain occupations."
But I wonder if it isn't also due to the fact that I suppose there are more firstborns in the world than middle-borns and last-borns, because every family with children has a firstborn but not necessarily middle-borns etc. And I suppose only children were counted as firstborns while they are at the same time also last-borns. I'd like to see the methodology behind this poll.
m. (first of three in the girl-boy-girl set)

edit: "I suppose there are more firstborns in the world " - in the western world anyway, as the examples were given from the western world.
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Old 25th Mar 2008, 1:05   #8
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Good point m. But they do have a separate profile for only children, so I presume this is accounted for. I do think this must be a peculiarly western study as it certainly does not seem to account for cultural and gender biases.
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Old 25th Mar 2008, 10:46   #9
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Default Re: Birth Order

Interesting article and I agree that some of it talleys with my experience as the top of four, Daveybot was next and then two younger sisters, two years between each of us.

We have each gone our own way pretty much, and I don't think my middle siblings felt neglected at the expense of our parents investing in me or the youngest for that matter - although I may simply not have noticed. In fact, it may have been the other way around, I was always pretty happy to entertain myself and don't feel I got more nurturing than the others at all. Of course, the younger sisters did get let off a whole bunch easier than me in some things - heaven's I was forced to wait until I was 16 until I was allowed to have my ears pierced, my younger sister went and got her belly button pierced at 14 (I think) and nothing whatsoever happened to her! Unfair, unfair! And they were allowed to stay up later than me... grump! Daveybot got off lightly cos he's 'first son' as he likes to point out frequently!

Davey and I were and still are buddies, my two sisters were and are best of friends. We all did things togehter though - apparantly I was bossy, perhaps I was set the task of looking after/entertaining my younger siblings, but I don't remember it as a conscious requirement ofresponsibilty. Off all of I us, I am perhaps the goofiest... but there's a fair sprinkling of that thruoghoiut!

Daveybot - your thoughts oh brother of mine - am I totally wrong?! (It'll be the big sister superiority complex coming through! )
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Old 27th Mar 2008, 20:04   #10
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Default Re: Birth Order

I'm doing child development with the Open University, so I'll give this birth order thing a look!
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