If you have siblings, you've probably heard it all. "Spoiled baby!" "That *&!@! middle kid." "Oh, you're the eldest--over-achieving, bossy kid." Does birth order make kids into the people they grow up to be? It was great, for example, to be the eldest son in England in the olden days (1540 and forward) because the eldest son inherited the whole ball of wax, unless, of course, you aggravated your father and were disinherited.
NPR featured a story last week on whether birth order shapes children's lives.
One mother of two children said that with her oldest daughter she wanted her to try it all--tennis, dance, art classes, music, swimming . . . , but cooled off with her child 7 years younger.And in thinking about her own childhood, this mom realized that her own parents had had high expectations for her--expectations that certainly relaxed when the younger children came along . . . right down to the curfew hour. I remember when that kind of thing didn't seem all that fair. Older siblings like that often grow up being the doers, the organizers, the "responsible one" who gets it all done.
Many surveys and studies over the years have found that firstborns are over-achievers who are power brokers--either in government, corporate world, colleges and courts.The primary conclusion the NPR commentators arrived at was that while birth order may not necessarily make someone into the person they are . . . it has a lot to do with the person the child becomes.