According to Dr. Kevin Leman, author of many birth order books including FIRSTBORN ADVANTAGE and THE BIRTH ORDER BOOK, oldest and only children are THE MOST LIKELY to be the most successful in academia and in the career arena. I would like to add that they are the most alpha of all the birth orders.
Oldest and only children are the organizers and they prefer to lead. They definitely do not like to be dictate to. In other words, they rather call the shots and to OWN. This is because they were the recipients of massive parental attention early in life. Oldest children were only children for a while before others arrived and only children, well, they were never dethroned thus they were permanent recipients of parental attention. This constant parental attention resulted in oldest and only children acquiring adult mannerisms early in life. Oldest and only children have advantages which middle and youngest children clearly do not.
Regarding, middle child. Studies have shown that it is middle children who are most displeased with their birth order. I would like to say that the middle child is the most beta birth order. Middle children are between a rock and a hard place. They are just nebulous. Pity the poor middle child in the family. Studies further show that middle children are often one of the least successful of all the birth orders.
Besides being one of the least successful of birth orders, middle children are also the least favorite children in the family. Many middle children indicate that they were often misunderstood by their parents and siblings alike. Another study further portended that middle children were more like to be bullies than either oldest and/or youngest children in the families.
According to Dr. Leman, the youngest child is often the least responsible one of all the birth orders. He/she is often the family manipulator. He/she with the middle child is often the least successful one in the family because everyone else has done it before him/her. He/she is believes in being rescued-that is because everything was done for him/her. Many youngest children are like a fish out of water so to speak. Do you agree with this?
There is little to no factual information here. And looking no further than my own family I can find plenty of evidence to suggest that birth order does not have these specific effects.
The first claim is that the first born is the most successful in academia. I am the youngest of five children. While my oldest brother has a good career he never finished college. The middle child of our family not only finished college but holds two MA degrees. From an academic perspective the middle child in our family has been the most successful. This fact dispells the first claim in your arguements and further dispells the notion that middle children are the least successful.
On the subject of the youngest child being manipulative, believing in being rescued and needing others to do things for them... I have to speak from a personal perspective here. First, I hate people doing things for me. My parents had me doing chores at a very early age. I grew up with a very independent attitude in life. I rarely ask anyone for help, even when I need it and I'm often the one who rescues others.
More important than these examples...
This birth order theory is a single-cause explination for success in life. There are myriad problems with this.
First, how do you define success? Many people may have different concepts about what success is. Your definition of success may be wildly different from my own.
Secondly, single-cause explinations are almost always wrong. No psychological professional worth his salt will ever attempt to explain anything pertaining to personality or behavior using a single-cause explination.
Birth order probably does effect personality to some degree. However, every family is different and shapes the individuals environtment in a different way. Because of the differences between families the effects of birth order may be hieghtened or lessened due to other factors. Other variables will always be present. Even limiting your view to include only a child's family is too small. A child's environment extends well beyond his family and includes the neighborhood he grows up in, the schools that he goes to, his teachers and his peers. All of these factors together help to shape the individual's personality and future successes or failures. Some of these factors, such as peers, is far more important that birth order. But none of them alone should ever be considered the sole cause of anything.
The birth order, in my opinion based on experience as the youngest of three, has not a whole lot to do with successes in life. I believe that it is the parenting involved. My mother lost her first child, a girl, and suffering from severe postpartum depression, raised her second child, a boy, as her daughter, much to the angst of the family. This all occurred in the late 40's and early 50's. This child was raised as a girl for the first 7 years of his life, and was forced to change back when entering school. He grew up confused, emotionally unstable and eventually became a manipulative, controlling egomaniac that overdid himself on the "manly" side of things. He became very athletic but abusive toward others and eventually became a pedophile. As far as successfulness goes, he was successful only as a salesman that manipulated and took advantage of people. He has been married 5 times. He molested two of his step children during one of those marriages. He consistantly bragged about his sexual and athletic prowess to his two younger brothers in an attempt to be accepted by us. He now lives in a foreign country under self exile.
My middle brother, 4 years younger than the first, is slightly autistic and has Asberger's Syndrome. He has been married twice, has four kids and is a successful Optometrist in California about to retire. In the beginning with his first marriage, he struggled to succeed, but he was held back by his spouse.
As for me? I had everything done for me by my parents, mostly my mother. I wanted for nothing, except basic life skills when I became an adult. I struggled to learn to save money, keep a job, and keep a high level of self esteem. I was wild and uncontrollable at times, seeking attention everywhere. The only thing that I was truly good at, baseball, gave me a short lived career, finished by 1983. By then I was married, had 2 kids with two more coming. Sadly to say, the best thing that could have happened to me and my brothers, was the passing of our mother in 1985. We were set free, we could use our own minds to make our own decisions. As sad as my dad was for his wife's passing, he too felt the freedom that it brought and spent the next 14 years actually enjoying life, travelling, fishing and becoming more social than he ever was before.
In my dysfunctional family, it was the parental influence. Not the birth order.
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