So, you’ve all read the characteristics this week and most of you who commented agreed with what Michael Grose and Miriam Stoppard had to say.
I think it is fair to say that first, middle, last and only born children all have their pros and cons. But what do we do with all this information?
Do we try and change our personalities so we eliminate all the ‘bad’ qualities. Is it even possible to do? Grose says that personalities are pretty set by the age of 5 or 6. I’m not psychologist but I’d like to think that there are aspect of my personality I could change if I wanted to – with some conscious thought and effort. But it is these qualities, ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that makes us who we are.
Should we consciously pick people for our sporting teams, or hire particular people for jobs depending on their birth order? Should we change teaching styles to suit birth order? Should we pick our partners dependent on their birth order?
Grose says that two first borns might butt heads; two middle borns will always avoid conflict therefore never solving anything; two last borns will be full of great ideas but are unlikely to look at the consequences.
It is safe to say that birth order is not foolproof. Grose himself says that there are so many variables in determining a child’s personality. A first born child raised by two last born parents may very well be different to a first born child being raised by two first born parents.
The gender of the siblings has an impact on children. A boy with older sister(s) will more than likely feel like he has several mothers says Grose.
In my family I have one daughter (first born) and two sons (middle and last born). If I we onto have another child my last born will become a middle born so his personality will change. Also, depending on the sex of the fourth child, it will also affect my daughter (first born). Another boy will almost ensure that she will be drawn to male companionship in her adult life. A girl, will see her more ‘balanced’. But my question is, if personalities are set by the age of 5-6 (my daughter just turned 6) then another child shouldn’t have that much impact should it?
Personally, I do think that having another child will impact everyone individually as well as the family as a whole; which is why I have my doubts about personalities being set in stone by the age of 6.
Also, the age gap between siblings is also a factor. My brother for example has two children but they are six years apart. Grose says that siblings with a 5-6 year age gap will in fact result in two first born children.
And that is another point Grose brings up; there has been a trend for some years now for families to have 1-2 children. So what affect does that have on birth order and the world at large. We are certainly going have a lot more first borns than there will be other borns. And does a second born behave more like a middle born or last born? Grose says that all depends on the variables I have mentioned above.
Being aware of birth order I think is beneficial more to have an awareness of personality types and as parents help us not fall into ‘traps’ raising our children.. But because so many things not even mentioned here determine a persons temperament, personality and motivation I think I would stop short of hiring someone on that basis of their birth order.