Speaking of siblings, the science behind birth order has always fascinated me. A few years ago, I wrote an article on birth order for Pregnancy magazine. As it turns out, birth order is just as much a part of a person as eye or hair color and is most intense at home. Every baby is born with a personality, and the general tone of a person seems to be developed in the womb.
“Birth order is to the personality what the skeleton is to the body,” says Clifford Isaacson, birth order expert, psychotherapist and author of The Birth Order Effect: How to Better Understand Yourself and Others. “What the skeleton does for the body, birth order does for the personality.”
He's mapped out 5 birth order personalities and traits associated with each type...
Only: organizing, feeling, private
First: dreaming, indecisive, researching
Second: perfectionist, logical, sensitive
Third: creative, helpful, spontaneous
Fourth: analytical, unpredictable, reclusive
What I found really fascinating, though, was Isaacson's look at birth order later in life. There are some 20 different combinations of birth order in marriage. “The challenge in marriage is to understand each other. Birth order knowledge will help a great deal,” says Isaacson, who also authored The Birth Order Effect for Couples. Some of his tips for wedded bliss...
*Try thinking like your partner to grasp the birth order differences. This helps with communication.
*Choose to enjoy two or three of your partner's birth order characteristics. These can be a source of humor between the two of you.
*Compensate from your birth order behavior for things lacking in your spouse's birth order behavior. That way, both of you contribute to your relationship.
*Increase your understanding of each other's birth order to do away with anger. What seems unfair may simply be birth order behavior.
Growing up, my younger sister, Janelle, and I each had distinct personalities. As the leader of the pack, I bossed everyone around and dreamed of doing everything from riding a bike to baking my grandmother’s famous almond cookies with my mother. Janelle, on the other hand, was sensitive and somewhat of a loner and would spend hours in her room creating beautiful works of art that she’d enter in the local grocery store’s coloring contest. Our little selves may not have known it then, but we fit the mold perfectly.
Isn't that interesting? Your turn, friends: What "spot" were you born into in your family? Were you the oldest? The youngest? An only child? Did you like where you were, or did you wish you could trade places with someone? Did your personality match the corresponding birth order characteristics? Have the characteristics followed you into adulthood, or have you "outgrown" them? xoxo
[Photos by Charles Gullung]