Friday, August 31, 2007

Birth Order and the First Born

I stopped at a garage sale yesterday and picked up a book (actually, I picked up 4 books. Of the four, 2 were identical, the only difference was, 1 is a hardcover and the other a paperback) that is verrrrry interesting. It's called THE BIRTH ORDER BOOK: Why You Are The Way You Are by Dr. Kevin Leman. This is an older book, published in 1985 but, boy, is it fascinating.
I'm only on chapter three, which is called "First Born: First Come, First Served" and already I've learned a lot. This chapter, interestingly enough, fascinates me. Why? Because, as the oldest of four siblings (all girls), this chapter refers to me. The perfectionist, the high achiever, the serious first born.
I love reading and learning about what makes people tick. I've always thought that I would have liked to have been a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. Maybe in a past life I was. All I know is this is fascinating stuff and I'm having a lot of fun comparing the theories from this book to my own family.
What did I learn so far? Well, first off, I learned (and this isn't about me) that the baby of the family never has to grow up and take responsibility (according to an article by Laurie Campbell). Dr. Leman (and Laurie Campbell) both say that the babies of the family are used to everyone doing everything for them. They expect everyone to do things for them. Now, I can't vouch for anyone elses family member, but I can certainly vouch for mine. This hits the nail right on the head. Bullesye.
However, this wasn't exactly news to me. I was already aware of the fact, and have told my siblings this very thing on many occasions. It was nice to see it confirmed by a certified Psychologist. Now, I can turn to my sisters and say, "See, I told you so!" :) (A first born character trait, by the way).
My youngest sister, the baby of the family, who happens to be staying with me at the present, just kills me. 90 % of the time I could just strangle her! My other two sister's are always telling me I'm too hard on her. I don't agree. I'm just trying to motivate her. To get her to open her eyes and get with the program. What's wrong with that?
According to Dr. Leman (who, by the way, is a family baby), that's just how the babies are. And, it's partially the families fault. They're the ones who spoil them, they're the ones who do everything for them (and still do), so, they're partially to blame. I don't want to harp on the negative points of the youngest family members. On the positive side, the youngest are outgoing and charming. They're often found in professions that require the ability to "be on stage" or perform. They're more likely to have an occupation such as announcers or anchor persons for radio or television. They're carefree, vivacious, affectionate, uncomplicated and sometimes a little absentminded (not a positive trait, but, what the heck).
As far as first borns, Dr. Leman says that they are "more highly motivated to achieve than their younger brothers and sisters." Look at some of the occupations of the first born. Of the first twenty-three astronauts sent into outer space, twenty-one were first borns or only children. All seven astronauts in the original Mercury program were first borns. He also says that first borns are more likely to write for a living (this if found interesting).
You'll also find a great number of first borns among accountants, bookkeepers, executive secretaries, engineers and in computers. First borns typically go for anything that takes precision, strong powers of concentration, and dogged mental discipline.
As far as middle children, Dr. Leman describes them as the mediator and negotiator. Middle chilren avoid conflict, they're independent (this describes my middle born sister to the T. She's very independent), they have extreme loyalty to their peer group, and they're mavericks with many friends. He goes on to say that middle borns usually leave home first or find their real companionship outside the home because they feel sort of left out.
I'm only skimming the surface here, as I'm by no means an expert and I've only just begun reading the book. I'm sure there's a lot more to the things I've mentioned in this post. If you're interested in learning more about birth order and birth order characteristics, here's the link to a really neat online Workshop presented by Laurie Campbell. It's titled THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CREATING CHARACTERS. This workshop also includes downloadable handouts, which is always nice.
Here's a fun little quiz from the book. If you'd like, leave a comment and let me know how accurate this quiz was for you.
Which of the following lists of personality traits fits you the best? (You don't have to be everything on the list, but pick the list that has the most items that relate to you and your lifestyle). A.) Perfectionist, reliable, conscientious, list maker, well organized, critical, serious, scholarly B.) Mediator, fewest pictures in the family photo album, avoids conflict, independent, extreme loyalty to the peer group, many friends, a maverick C.) Manipulative, charming, blames others, shows off, people person, good salesperson, precocious, engaging If you picked list A.), it's a good bet you are the first born in the family. If you picked list B.), chances are you're a middle child (second born of three children, or possibly third born of four). If you related best to list C.), it's likely you are the baby of the family and somebody had to buy this book for you.

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