Birth Order and Personality


How does your birth order affect your personality?

For decades, research has been done into the effects that birth order has on personality, as well as life goals and accomplishments. Birth order theory was first presented by Alfred Adler, a psychotherapist and physician. While some researchers disagree on the degree of the effects that birth order has on personality, the consensus is that a person’s personality is influenced by when they were born in their family. Among other factors, birth order sets the foundation on which personality is built.

The First Child

The first child is the natural-born leader. Most politicians, directors, entrepeneurs and others called on to manage others are first born. Because they usually get the most attention from their parents and younger siblings look toward them as examples, first-born children tend to be confident and perfectionist.

The basic traits of the first born can appear in two manners: nurturing and compliant, or aggressive and directive. Either way the first born is fulfilling the reliable leader.

first-born-second-bornThe Second/Middle Child

The middle child tends to be the opposite of the first child. If the first child is known as the science kid, the middle child will be the artsy one. If the middle child is also the second child, they can be competitive and rebellious. They long to best their older sibling and stand out from the crowd.

Some middle children always feel literally stuck in the middle, and their personality traits change depending on their surroundings. They are thought to be the most diplomatic, with better social skills than others.

 The Third/Last Child

The third or last child is an individualist and idealist. Since their parents have less expectations for their role in the family, the last child is given more freedom to make their own, unique mark on the world. Because they are the baby they tend to be less mature than others, and more sensitive.

Last borns can be outgoing and sociable, or withdrawn and secretive. But both types show the basic personality of individualism and creativity.

The Only Child

People who were the only child vary in their personas. Because they have no siblings, much depends on the parenting style they received. They can appear as any of the other birth orders, but they are often like the first child in that tend to be attention-seeking and are more mature.

Only children are often precocious and are thought to be intelligent. They score well on academic-oriented tests and show great motivation in school. They are generally less diplomatic and less open to new ideas.

Those who are are twins or part of other multiple births can appear like any of the other birth orders. One may take on the personality of a first born, others may behave like a last born. Much also depends on the parenting style and the roles assigned or implied by their parents.

What is your birth order? How do you think your birth order affects your personality?

Hyphenated Surnames and Stay-at-Home Moms

battle-of-sexesIn several of the discussions between AJ and me about marriage and family life, the issue of names has come up. More than once in such conversations, he has expressed that he would never agree to my hyphenating the last names of me and our children. AJ believes that a wife and children having double last names shows that the woman “wears the pants” in the marriage and heaven forbid anyone, especially himself, think of him as an emasculated, purse-toting pansy! Since I rather like his name and have no desire to hyphenate my married surname, his opinions don’t bother me. However, I find his strong reaction to this idea to be strange. Is a woman wishing to keep her last name upon marriage asserting her will over her husband’s? I’d never thought so, but his ideas add another perspective to the matter.

Another marriage and family life issue that we’ve recently discussed is that of a wife being a stay-at-home mother. I have little desire to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), but I admire them. It is no easy task to take care of children, cook, and keep the home in general order; it sure seems more difficult than many 9-5 jobs. I wish my mother would have stayed at home, at least for my first few years, instead of hiring the nanny from hell to take care of me (more on that at a later date), and I plan on taking a leave of absence from my career for my children’s years before schooling. Bringing up the topic with AJ, however, I was quickly notified that telling a man you’re dating that you want to be a stay-at-home mom is essentially telling him that you want to leech off him and his hard work for the rest of your life. I didn’t think so: is a woman who dedicates her life to taking care of your children, cooking your meals, and cleaning your clothes, a blood-sucking parasite or a welcome helping hand?

What are your thoughts on stay-at-home mothers and hyphenated last names? Do you know anyone who does either?

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