How your birth order affects your personality
Researchers say your character is partly related to your birth order. Find out how your place in siblings can shape your life.
If you are one of a kind that organizes parties up to the last detail a week in advance (different color towels for example), you are probably the eldest. If on the contrary, you tend to prepare them to the right banquette, you are probably the younger. Moreover, if you rather leave it to others to do everything and you only think to entertain the guests, then bet that you are the youngest.
For more than a century, the link between birth order and personality has fascinated researchers, psychologists, therapists and all those interested in family dynamics. ” People use their birth rows to make a meaningful difference in their lives, ” says Frank Sulloway, a visiting professor and a member of the Institute of Personality and Social Research at Berkeley University in California (for seniors who believe that Berkeley abounds with wacky theories, that they know that Frank Sulloway is a top scientist in birth order research, and holds a doctorate in the history of science from Harvard University. ” The brothers and sisters share only half of the genes. It is the combinations of non-identical genes and the environment that shape differences of personality in siblings. Moreover, according to the documents listed, the majority of these differences is explained by the birth order, says the specialist. In fact, it plays almost as important a role as a gender gap. ”
We often assume that siblings grow up in the same family environment; However, it is not the case. The elder grows up in an adult environment; He gets all the attention of new parents, who marvel at seeing him grow up. On the contrary, the cadet never receives all the attention of the parents; He often grows up in the shadow of his eldest son, who is more “competent” than he: he has the duty to set an example to the youngest. The elder runs faster, climbs higher and speaks better than the younger. Finally, the youngest child is born into a family where the parents, high of the parental experience, are less apprehensive. So they know what to expect from him and do not necessarily respond to his slightest actions and gestures, so the little one must learn to “charm” to attract their attention. So,
According to Marion Balla, educator and therapist in Ottawa, “Birth order is not the direct cause of character traits.” The expert believes, however, that “birth order is one of the most important factors in the development of personality.” Marion Balla is President of the Adlerian Counseling and Counseling Group, named after Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychotherapist of the 1900s who was the first to establish a link between birth order and personality development. “For 40 years I have been using the birth order theory to help people understand how they perceive themselves and how this perception of themselves can influence their social relationships,” she says.
So, what does that mean?
The eldest or “accomplished child.”
Research on birth order across the world shows that the elder has more affinity with other elders than with his or her siblings. He quickly learns to please his parents, to be conscientious, organized, reliable and to play the parent with the youngest of the family. He is performing well and often chooses a career in a field of liberal professions, such as law, medicine, education or accounting, areas that require significant responsibilities. For example, leaders of Canada’s five major political parties in the last election were all elders: Stephen Harper, the eldest of three children; Michael Ignatieff and Elizabeth May, elders of a family of two; And Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe, of four children.
This is not surprising in the eyes of Kevin Leman, psychologist, and author of a series of books on birth order including The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are. “The firstborn will always be the ‘little chiefs,'” says the author who made televised appearances in variety shows like Oprah, The View, and many others. Various studies have shown that the elder is three times more likely to end up at the head of a company than the youngest.
Stacey Sutherland, 43, of Aurora, Ont., Recognizes himself in the profile of the elder. “I am not the type to organize things at the last minute,” says the oldest of four children. I am preparing for it five days in advance. ” A model student at the time, a graduate in economic and administrative studies, she obeyed the rules of the house regarding dating and dating. These rules, she notes, did not apply to the younger sister. Despite his three children, Stacey Sutherland still keeps his home clean. “I have a sense of organization, I like order, I can not live in disorder, and I love to draw up a list of things to do. My sister is very different; she gets to organize things at the last minute, “she says.
For the elder, there is only one way of doing things: the right one. That is why he tends to criticize any solution other than his own. According to Kevin Leman, this trait of character in the elder does not go unnoticed in the eyes of the younger and the youngest at the suppers of the family. “At Thanksgiving, for example, your elder sister, the one who always insisted on showing you how to do things, tells you this time how to cook the turkey even though she knows full well that you have proved yourself in the You have a master’s degree, and you raised four children. ”
The cadet or “rebellious child.”
If the elder does what he has to do, the younger man does things differently. He quickly recognizes the position claimed by the father and takes the place of his own in the siblings. If the father excels in mathematics, tennis and the violin, the cadet will probably love art, music, and skateboarding. In the select club of Nobel laureates, elders are ubiquitous in science, cadets, in literature. While seniors are highly talented and accomplished, the “rebels” are responsible for changes that advance society. It is the cadets who, throughout history, have fought for equality, freedom of expression and worship, and for the abolition of slavery, says Professor Sulloway, Author of the book Les infants rebels. Mother Teresa, Darwin, and Gandhi were all cadets.
The arrival of a third child inevitably generates a new position: the middle one. The average child is difficult to “categorize,” but this does not prevent him from clearing his way, thus avoiding being sandwiched. The term “middle child” refers to a person whose birth rank is between the eldest and the youngest (the cadet may be one of them). It is the child who figures least in the family photos. It is also the one to whom the parents give the least amount of time. Therefore, he turns to his comrades and, over time, he creates a vast network of friends. Although he genuinely loves his family, he is most likely to move very far from her, To have little interest in his genealogy and to be better prepared to face the vicissitudes of life. John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Madonna, Jean Chrétien and Avril Lavigne are all children.
The Benjamin or “the baby of the family.”
The family child is the least disciplined in the siblings, given little responsibility and is given more attention than anyone else. His opinion or opinion is rarely solicited, but he quickly learns that to get the care and approval of others, he only has to make the comic. It is not surprising that many comedians are the babies of the family: Jim Carey, Drew Carey, Ellen Degeneres, Tina Fey, Martin Short, Robin Williams, Steve Carell, Billy Crystal and Cathy Jones. The youngest of 11 children, the satirical Stephen Colbert is a “super baby!”
The single child and the twins
The only child, who has no brothers or sisters with whom to play can not be easily labeled. Many of them, like the elderly, are highly gifted and accomplished. On the other hand, the one who does not want or who can not sometimes excel rebels and finds his way. Some studies show that the only child is more trustworthy than the eldest in the family but more ambitious than younger siblings (Lucy Maud Montgomery, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, and Elvis are unique children ).
As for the twins, “nothing is played,” explains Frank Sulloway. The firstborn sometimes adopts the character of the elder, even if only two minutes separate their birth, everything still depends on the way they are treated. David Suzuki is a twin born a few moments away from his sister, but according to Japanese traditions, the younger of the twins is considered the eldest because he generously allowed the other to be born first. Interestingly, David Suzuki, an accomplished scientist, and attention-grabbing journalist show the character traits associated with all birth rows.
The age difference and its effect on birth order
According to experts, several factors can hamper the effects related to birth order, including the sex difference. A boy born after one or more daughters (or vice versa) may be considered a “functional” elder, that is, the first child in the family. If the age difference in siblings is more than five years, the effects related to birth order fade. In the case of a smaller age difference, groups can be formed. For example, in a sibling group of six children (ages 14, 12, 11, five, three and two), the two elders could form one group, the two cadets, another and the two babies a third. The divorce, disability or death of a family member may reduce the expected effects.
Today’s family often has one or two children; this situation generates a large number of different elders and children and very few children in the community. For example, a boy and a girl may have similar traits (one is elder, and the other is “functional”). If they are of very different ages, the younger can adopt the character traits of the elder. ” With fewer and fewer families, we run the risk of having children with perfectionist and ambitious characters, ” says Leman. There is also the danger of losing the birth order theory (none of the specialists consulted for this article is the eldest in the family).
Last remark: according to Kevin Leman, ” no matter your birth order, you probably think your brothers and sisters had it easier than you. If you are the youngest, you tell yourself that the elder has had the best of everything before you. If you are the elder, you envy the younger because he has had the freedom to choose his path. Moreover, everyone complains that the youngest has always gotten out of it. “