Pin It

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Birth Order of Personality

The Marilyn Dennis show on CTV features a special guest who talks about Birth Order (not necessarily numerical order) and how it could impact a child's personality.  My sister in law forwarded me this clip and she asked me if I observe this in my own children.

There are few generalities, facts and myths that might be engrained in culture. The #1 being more ambitious and successful, taking on a leadership role, probably because they were #1 from birth with higher expectations from mom and dad to set a good example, do things right the first time etc.

The middle child, a bit calculating and edging in for fairness and equality. Not sure if I understand everything in her summary, but I used to think the middle guy would often feel left out because he's just stuck in the middle.

The youngest, the baby of the family, getting away with everything. Strengths, really kind and caring to make establish a harmony in the family. Gets along well with others.

Other factors are age gaps and gender, and the researcher indicates it's not necessarily the numerical order but rather the order you associate with. Of course when it is family of four kids, then there is no middle child. Or depending on the age gap, there could be an established grouping of three children and the youngest is like an only child.

Maggie is our #1 and I see her to be self driven  and very independent; doesn't need to be told to finish up breakfast, pick her own outfit, brush her teeth. She'll just do it on her own. She even insists on packing her own luggage before a trip (complete!) and also the snack/ lunch first thing in the morning even though she's in the afternoon JK. If it's someone's birthday she'll make a card or drawing and write out the names on her own (asking me for spelling as needed). She knows the rules and follows them, demanding the same of others. I also gave her alot of freedom, we never used baby gates on the stairs because I felt it more appropriate and useful to teach her to safely navigate the stairs by crawling backwards from the start.  However she continued to do this until she was almost two because I didn't show her it was ok to walk down the stairs. On the other hand her baby brother was walking up and down the stairs as soon as he was walking at age 1.  I don't see her as a perfectionist but more of an artist; she is a very clear and articulate communicator. She is very kind and caring and shows alot of empathy; demanding justice and expecting citizens to follow all the rules. She has a fiesty temper though and tends to act out by throwing things, hitting, pinching, shouting or running to her room to cool off.

AJ is the #2 child (middle kid for now) and because of that I always tried harder not to forget about him, and also because he's only 15months younger than Maggie but they are the same height, I've always had higher expectations of him to the point where I expected the same behavior of him as his older sister. I expected to write, draw, read and build structures at the same level as Maggie or better. He loves doing mazes and connect the dots with a ruler to make straight lines; he likes the simple addition workbooks from the dollar store. He is very intellectual and logical but often seeks approval from Maggie and me, asking for permission to do something like turn on the TV, or asking if his drawing or writing is good; however he gets upset or sad when the answer is no.  I feel that he needs to work on handling rejection better. He prefers to work and play in solitary; the teachers observe this too. I've also noticed that he fights with his older sister and younger brother quite frequently, competing for toys or my attention. Therefore to make things easier for the nanny, I know I've isolated him by sending him away for a full day Montessori program. I enrolled him in soccer and swimming lessons, while not offering this to Maggie. They're both doing Monart art classes but I started him first.  Maybe in some ways I was treating him like the older child or there may be some hidden favoritism.  He's also the oldest boy in the family so in effect there might actually be two #1's in the family. However he is the one that tends to want things to be "fair" or he wants to be the first to get out of the bathtub though he'll ask to be second to get the treat/ ice cream. He needs to be reminded to get changed and brush his teeth though; he'll do it all by himself but it seems like he needs to be told to do it. He seems to have a fragile heart that is more easily broken and tends to cry a bit more frequently than the other two.  If Lincoln scratches or attacks him, he doesn't really block or move away or even fight back. In some ways, I'm hoping the little brother will toughen him up for the real world.

Lincoln is the #3. He is a bit chubbier and chunkier than the other two. He drinks liters more milk and eats a ton more than Maggie and AJ. He is always getting in trouble or having a mischievous look in his eye. His head is made of steel for all the times he's fallen or bumped it without even crying about it. He seems to be the instigator of trouble; dancing on the table, running aroung with food or a fork. His brother and sister sit calmly at the table but he is running around trying to entice us to chase him. We never had a problem with kids opening the kitchen drawer with sharp knives or tearing out the patio screen door or climbing on chairs to the tipping point. He also reached his physical milestones sooner than the older two, simply because he had an example to follow - crawling, walking, eating with a fork and spoon, drinking from an open cup, ditching the bottle, doing shape sorters and toddler puzzles etc.  He talks alot but he also uses his sharp nails and grabby hands to get what he wants. He can take down AJ to the ground from behind with a bear hug. It's not nice but he doesn't seem to mind if we call him the fat one, or chum chum, or point to his really fat belly and laugh about it. Lincoln is very kind and nurturing as well. He has a favorite blankie and baby doll for the night time; he also likes to set up toy food and feed Buzz or the toy baby.  Just like Maggie, if someone is crying, he will report about it and offer to comfort them in some way.

It will be interesting what the future is like for them, though a baby #4 is arriving soon so the ordering thing will shift again, though Maggie will always be #1.

I have to look at my own birth order and personality. I am a #1 firstborn in a family of four kids. However I do not consider myself super ambitious or highly successful in my career. I am a working level Engineer but am by no means on my way to becoming a CEO or even a boss anytime soon. I might have taken my creative energies into other hobbies and engagements like crafts and music. I am very organized with my time, though my desk at work is quite messy. I am quite independent and I often expect other people to know the facts without me telling them, because things are just so obvious to me.

Watch the two 10 minute clips back to back and the presenter is very verbose and animated. Wow they talk fast on this show! I really like the photos they show of famous firstborns, middle kids etc.  She also gives some tips on how to deal with the children and not fall into the "bad" stereoytpes.

No comments: