Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Does Your Birth Order Really Effect Your Personality

I've been reading The Birth Order Book, and I was pleasantly surprised by how similar it is to the observations I have made about my children. I'm really intrigued by this book, I started it yesterday and should finish it today.

Jordan is my thirst for knowledge fact finder, he's into computers and science and details. He has said he feels like he's always been held to a higher standard than his brothers. We joke that he my "practice kid", I figure out what works and what doesn't with him. That's why the younger ones get to do things he was not. He's also my child who will loss it over little details and when things don't happen the way he thought they should. He thinks he likes surprises but ends up being the one to guess the surprise (no matter how big or small). Even though I don't often see him as organized he is a planner. He's my "little adult" and often prefers to be spending with adults than kids his age or heaven forbid "the little kids".

Joey is your typical "poor deprived middle child". He's my most sensitive and likes to keep the peace. He's the one who will cave when playing a game just to keep the other players in the game. While all my boys are very social beings, Joey is the one who craves hanging with his friends. He gets caught in the middle of being "too little" to do what Jordan is doing and sometimes "too big" for what Jacob is doing. Joey is my one I can't really peg for specific personality traits, a walking contradiction if you will; he is the peacemaker but also the first to instigate his brothers, easily frustrated but also pretty laid back and easy going. He prefers to keep calm seas, but is not afraid to rock the boat to if he feels he needs to.

Jacob is my entertainer. If you look back through the pictures I have posted of the boys you'll notice Jacob is always making some kind of funny face or hand gesture. He's my prankster and quick to find humor in a situation. Will do whatever he can to ensure he is the center of attention. He's quick to point out that he doesn't need help, that although younger than his brothers he's just as capable to do the same things they can (even if he can't). However he's also known to play the "I'm the youngest and can't do it, you do it for me" card. Although he is such a comedian, he wants to be taken seriously also.

According to this book, all 3 of my kiddos fall pretty close to the characteristics of their birth order. While according to the book my birth order plays a role into how I model and "mold" my kids. I learned that while I'm the "baby" I had a lot of first born traits (I'm the first born girl), and first borns tend to but head with other first borns (maybe that' why Jordan and I tend not to agree?).  I also learned a fun little tid bit mothers have often talked about -"Oh boy!, My second child was nothing like my first"- there seems to be some truth to that as (according to the book) second born usually is the exact opposite of the first. Jordan was a very content baby almost never cried, Joey was um... let's say feisty and constantly in motion.

I have had many conversations with friends about how we can better relate to a specific child of ours. I have tried to understand what makes Jordan tick, but I just don't "get him". My friend (also the oldest in her family) says she understands him, that when she was younger she was just like him. I on the other hand can relate to her daughter that baffles her. I understand her daughter because I had many of the same family make up she does. Both of us being the only girl and the youngest with two older brothers. We both have something that makes our older siblings "special"; one of my brothers was special needs and her brothers are twins. So I can totally understand why she acts the way she does and to how she says she feels.

My parents (also the oldest) relate to Jordan and can see his point of view easier than I can. I also relate to Jacob more with what he deals with being the "tag along little kid". We'll have to find someone that's a middle child so Joey has someone who understands what it's like being the kid squeezed in the middle. I have tried to explain to Joey that he is lucky to be in the middle, that's usually where the "good stuff" is. What's the best part of a sandwich? The middle, everything else is just bread. What's the best part of an Oreo cookie? Everyone knows its the white stuff in the middle.

While I try to understand all my children, some are easier to relate to. Do you notice that you better relate with one of your children more so than the rest?

I was trying to think back to when each of the boys joined our family to see if I could pick out the moments when Jordan went for an only child to "first born" and when Joey went from the baby to the middle child. The transition must have happen without my even noticing.

I have also been reflecting on the way my boys personalities change when the dynamics of the house change. When they were taking turns spending a few days with their grandparents, they filled the role of a different "birth order". Interestingly, when Jordan was away, Joey took on the more leadership. He was the one to choose the games to play and dictated the rules for games.  When Joey stayed the boys played separately often in completely different rooms, it was like the tie between them was missing. When Jacob was gone Joey to advantage of the extra attention and cuddle time with mom. At the time I noticed the a difference, but didn't pin point it until yesterday.

Regardless of the way my boys are being raised, birth order, number of siblings, or pure dumb luck, I love their different personalities and their uniqueness. We are the perfect fit for our family and balance each other. While this book I have been reading is very insightful, it will not change the way I parent them (although it has helped me see what contributes to them being who they are.) We've got something that's imperfectly perfect, I'm not going to tamper with it.