PREVIOUS : Self-Parenting BOOKS
SITEs: ‘Birth Order Theory : Insight into your personality’
vs.”Birth Order may Not Shape Personality after all”
“The Relationship between Birth Order, Personality & Career choices” ∼ Colleen Collins
POST: Toxic ROLES (#3) scroll to “As an only child”
⚙️ Viennese psychological Alfred Adler (early 1900s) believed social & community aspects of a person’s life were just as important as internal thoughts & emotions. His Birth Order Theory grew out of this perspective – how family environment shaped a child’s beliefs & behavior.
In “Why Firstborns Rule the World & Last Borns Want to Change It” Michael Grose says that “A child’s position in the family impacts their personality, behavior, learning & ultimately, their earning power.”
“Most people have an intuitive knowledge that birth order somehow has an impact on development, but underestimate how far-reaching & significant that impact is.”
There’s quite a divide among researchers about the validity of Birth Oder Impact. Some dismiss it entirely, while others are convinced it plays a crucial role. Researchers at the U of Leipzig & Johannes Gutenberg U (in Germany) studied more than 20,000 adults from the USA, UK & Germany. In this study, they compared siblings within families using the order of their birth.
INFO: The scientists found that older children generally show higher performance on intelligence tests. More than half of all Nobel Prize winners & U.S. presidents were Firsts. However, the study showed no birth-order effects on emotional stability & imagination.
ANOTHER German study reported that “the effect on intellect persisted after controlling for IQ scores, indicating that there is a genuine birth-order effect on ‘brains’ that goes beyond objectively measured intelligence, & can be observed in adults.”
Researchers suggest that the Youngests, like J.S.Bach & Mozart, were 50% more likely to have careers in classical music, possibly for their “sensitive & idealistic personality traits.”
And a study on Onlys concluded they’re more likely to become artists due to their “perfectionist & mature personality traits.” Different genres & styles.
PARENTS unconsciously feel they better understand the child with the same birth order position as themself (a little narcissism??) – which the child can find annoying. They may also have a soft spot for the child whose birth order matches that of their own favorite sibling.
Adoptees – It will depend on the age of adoption. If adopted as babies, they’re assimilate into the birth order already set in family. EXP: In situations where the parents have tried a long time but haven’t conceived, or lost some, they adopt – so the baby is an Only. Then suddenly the mother does get pregnant & the adoptee becomes a First (Oldest).
If the adoptee is older (not an infant), then they’ll have the birth order of their foster home or previous family.
Culture. EXP: In some traditions, even if a boy is born after 4 girls, he may still be treated as the oldest.
Twins. Most twins get special attention from parents, so experts say birth-order rules don’t automatically apply – but may, especially if fraternal.
Birth order & HEALTH – Studies suggest if you’re the eldest, you’re more likely to have a lower birth weight than your siblings. Later-borns have an increased risk of hospitalization due to avoidable accidents, which could be due to a lack of parental attention in a large family. Younger siblings may struggle with mental health during puberty & young adulthood, & are more likely to be admitted to hospital for problems related to alcohol abuse.
IN DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES children are slotted into a ROLE, usually by birth-order, sometimes by gender. The main Toxic Roles are Hero, Scapegoat, Lost Child & Mascot.
re. ONLY children : If an ACoA was an ONLY who had to deal with adults who were drunk, raging, ranting for hours, uninvolved & distant or just plain missing – the child ended up filling all the Toxic family Roles.
This usually has a long-term effect, such as being the caretaker Hero throughout adulthood. But during a particularly stressful event – these CoAs may cycle thru all 4 Roles in rapid succession.
This can make the child (& later as adult) seem like they’re ‘crazy’, switching from one mode to another, (placating, raging, silent, humorous, withdrawn…. ). But NO – they’re just trying to cope with the impossible – & having to do so way beyond their capacity!
NEXT: Birth Order – Part 2