Birth Order-Are you really "Born With It?"


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Being the second oldest in a family with four kids birth order is definitely something relevant in my life. The article I found has very similar findings to the textbook but I also found many of the same flaws in their reasoning. The major one is replicability. Although there can be many families whose children's characteristics fit that of the studies the percentage it applies to the population is too small and inconsistent to be taken with credibility.
The other critical thinking aspect I saw representative was correlation vs. causation. In my opinion, I see how the parents treat each child separately as a major factor to their upbringing rather than birth order. For example, the first child is considered to be a natural leader, reliable, perfectionists, and aggressive. Growing up the older kids tend to be role models for the younger ones so the younger siblings already look up to the oldest one and put him or her in a leadership role. My older brother fits these qualities in all except being a perfectionist. The middle child is supposed to be secretive, independent, and inventive. Since the oldest child tends to receive most of the attention the middle child copes with this by keeping his feelings withheld and being secretive. I can see many of the middle child characteristics within me. Finally, the last born is outgoing, irresponsible, and spoiled. Parents usually are not as strict with the last child since they have had a few kids already they are not as worried as parents. This results in the kid becoming irresponsible with so much freedom but at the same time spoiled. This is perfectly representative of my youngest sister. I think birth order differences are more a result of them being "nurtured" as they grow up rather than something that predestined.


I totally agree with you. The nurture aspect of the children is key to the development of the different children. The oldest child seems to have the most going on in his life since he is older so it makes sense that he gets the most attention. The youngest child doesn't actually fit my characteristics too well. Besides that I am outgoing, I consider myself fairly responsible. But, that is how my parents raised me to be. Your explanation of your flaws in the reasoning sound spot on. Way to go with the analysis of the article and being speculative.

Being the oldest of six kids, this is very fascinating to consider. If I think about it, I (the oldest) exhibit many of these typical characteristics and my youngest sibling is definitely quite similar to what is described. Now, considering the four kids in the middle, they are actually not as loud or forthright as me and my youngest sister. It's interesting that these patterns still seem to apply. What I wonder is, concerning nurture, maybe these characteristics develop because of the predisposition to these stereotypes.

I love reading about birth order characteristics and applying them to my family. I also come from a family of four but I am the youngest and although I wouldn't call myself irresponsible, compared to the rest of my siblings I am. I know when I was growing up my friends and aunts would always talk about how since I was the youngest I was spoiled and I think this plays into your reasoning of nurture causing these characteristics because being told so often about that stereotype my siblings began to play into it and myself as well. I definitely don't think birth order characteristics are predestined either. Also going with your point that these findings are flawed due to their lack in replicability I think is right because you always here about the people whose family fits the mold but never for the families who don't share these common characteristics with birth order.

I also find this very interesting. Coming from a large family, I do see the traits that usually come with birth order. I do believe that it is more of an environmental factor. We are not really born this way. I see how my parents treat me and my siblings, and I can make connections on how it would make us form such traits and personalities.

I find family studies to be quite interesting, especially when applying it to my own family. I only have one brother and he is two years older than I am. Since he is the first born he was the first to do many things and has taken charge of many things such as leading activities or games. I feel that he shares more with my parents and is more open. I am the youngest and my parents have sort of let me do my own thing as I learned a lot from my brother and less from them on some things. I feel that nurture definitely comes in to play and that I, being the younger one, have done a lot on my own. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is just a different situation.

I defintely dont agree with the study. I am the youngest of 5 kids and we all have different traits that don't line up with the studies. I would like to know how this differences vary in large families or small families and how far apart the kids are from one another. My oldest sister is only 6 years older than me, so 5 kids in 6 years didn't really give a lot of time for my parents to become lax on the youngest child or treat any of us very differently.

Great post! I come from a family of four and I am also the second oldest. As we were learning about this in the reading, I thought it was very interesting to seem some of the similarities to my own family and our situation. Obviously, as you pointed out, there are going to be flaws in the replicability of these birth order studies, but I thought the similarities were fairly strong to my family. The oldest, my sister, is a very strong leader and is quite the perfectionist. According to the article that you cite, I would agree that the middle children in my family are independent and secretive. These chararcteristics are exemplified by myself and my brother. Both of us, being the middle kids, are a little different from our older and younger siblings. My youngest brother is definitely the spoiled one in the family. I feel as if he was raised differently because he was the last child, and the rest of us siblings played a big part in raising him.
Although this birth order "theme" may not be applicable to every single family, I think it was very interesting to see some of the similarities that our textbook and this article point out and my family. I think it would also be really interesting to find out how this varies across cultures. I'm sure there are many differences between the United States and other countries when it comes to birth order studies.

I whole-heartedly agree with you in saying that we are not entirely born with specific birth order but it is infact affected and formed through nurture. As a middle child myself with both older and younger siblings, I think that I also possess a some of those characteristics that you mentioned. However, I also have a lot of qualities that are irrelevant to middle child. I think some of reasons for that is that I lived apart from my own family since I was 10 as I was studying abroad. It is very good on you to analyze the article with what we learned in class and come up with your own conclusion.

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This page contains a single entry by reedy027 published on April 23, 2012 1:02 AM.

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