by guest blogger, Katherine VanBuskirk
A few weeks ago I read a column about birth order and the theories about how it affects our personalities. To be honest, I’ve never really given much thought to this before. I know there are lots of ideas out there about how birth order influences personalities, but before this week I hadn’t contemplated it much.
I’m the oldest of four kids. The youngest two are twins, so technically, our family was a great case study. We had the potential to have the full spectrum of birth order stereotypes: the oldest, the middle child and the babies.
It’s funny. When I reflect now, I can tell you we actually pretty much conform to the thinking. As the oldest, I’m the responsible one, the teensiest bit bossy, hate breaking rules, I’m easily stressed and have a ridiculous need to please everyone around me. Similarly, my siblings also display those predictable birth order traits consistent with middle and youngest children.
So this week I was faced with a situation – a small, and kinda cute exchange between LL and I that made me wonder if, as parents, we somehow affect how those birth order traits manifest themselves in our kids.
It was simple enough. It’s been all about Halloween around here lately. LL had tried on G’s old dragon costume and liked it. As a practical and busy Mom, that was all I needed. Decision made. She was going to be the cutest little dragon on the streets this Halloween. Until I overheard her telling more than one person that she was going to be a princess.
When this response was repeated over a number of days I asked her myself, and yes, oh yes, she wanted to be a princess. Now, I admit I tried selling the dragon idea. I sold the crap out of that idea. No success.
So as I roamed the aisles desperately searching for a princess costume, I began thinking about that article I had read and how, at our house, we seem to be nurturing these birth order ideas. G, as oldest tends to make decisions for the two of them, chooses the games and the pizza toppings, while LL plays with G’s old toys and is doted on by all three of us. The baby.
As I said, there are many theories for and against the idea of birth order influence, but based on my experience, I’m going to give them some weight. Because really, when I travel with my siblings, I’m always going to sit in the front seat. And LL? Well she’s our princess everyday. And tonight she’ll be one for Halloween too.
Katherine VanBuskirk is a communications professional in Halifax. She is rarely without a latte, a list and at least one of her two children.