#write31 Days Project- Day 14- Birth Order
It’s interesting to read the description of Alfred Adler by Molly Fisher. It begins: Alfred Adler was born on February 7, 1870 in the suburbs of Vienna. He was the second son and third child of a Jewish grain merchant and his wife.” Adler was know for his theories on child ordinal position so Fisher has placed on his description his ordinal position not only in number but in gender.
Adler was a medical doctor, and psychotherapist. He spent a great deal of time on theories relating to personality development which included ideas about birth order. He held to the thought that the first born was in a place of honor and favor until such time that a 2nd child was born and would as a result of the 2nd child, suffer “dethronement”. The oldest in the family would feel the weight of life on his or her shoulders where the younger child would be overindulged which would lead to social dependency. As for a middle child, Adler believed this child would grow up successful but possibly a rebel for being squeezed out by the first and 3rd child. While Adler wrote extensively about these traits, he did not produce scientific support for these claims as the Wikipedia description suggests.
Random History.com notes the following about ordinal positions and characteristics:
First born- conscientious, well-organized, serious, goal oriented, achieving, people pleasers, believe in authority, perfectionist, reliable and self- reliant
Middle child- mediator, compromising, diplomatic, avoids conflict, independent, loyal, unspoiled.
Last born- manipulative, charming, blames others, attention seeker, tenacious, people person, affectionate, salesperson, precocious
The position in which a person is born has a tremendous influence one’s life.
It has been noted by researchers that actual and psychological birth order can vary for different reasons such as illness, separation, family size and even perceived position in the family( favoritism).
It is believed that parents treat each child based on the ordinal position of his or her birth. For example, the first born is often pushed more diligently than the younger siblings, given more responsibility and held to a higher standard because of the position of being older and wiser.
Separation of years among children often create another set of ordinal positions with similar characteristics of the 1st born, middle born and baby.
Linda DiProperzio of Parents Magazine writes that “first born is often used to being the center of attention, he has Mom and Dad to himself before siblings arrive and enjoy about 3,000 more hours of quality time with parents between the ages of 4 and 13 than the next sibling”. She writes that the last born child isn’t the “strongest or the smartest in the room so they develop their own ways of winning attention. They’re natural charmers with an outgoing, social personality…” And, she continues with telling about the one squeezed in the center- the middle born child. These kids are go-with-the-flow types and tend to forge stronger bonds with friends because over their life they were squeezed by the bossy elder and lost attention to the baby cute one.
Ordinal position matters. It matters in terms of who your brothers and sisters are, who they become and how their lives affect yours. For many years in the United Kingdom, only men could assume the throne but in March of 2015 it was ruled that a woman could inherit the throne. Now the new succession of the British throne and heir apparent is Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son, Charles, Princes of Wales, and then Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, followed by Prince George of Cambridge, the son of the Duke, followed by his sister, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. So, ordinal position matters in many situations of the world.
In the Jewish family, the first born held great importance. The significance of the first born male was a double portion of the inheritance coupled with prophetic implications. Even in the animal realm, the first borns were considered “firstlings”.
Your ordinal position in the family holds great importance and God knew this when he placed you in that family in that position. Use your place in history, your parents, your nationality and birth order to honor God.