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Understanding the Importance of Birth Order

Some experts place more value on it than others. The misconception of birth order arises, in my opinion, when it is given single billing. Birth order, like any other personal influence, must be viewed as one among many interplaying factors within the family framework.

Having said that, here are the generalizations applied to birth order:

  1. Birth order affects jobs and roles one takes on in family such as helper or confident. The most responsibility is given to the oldest and then chronologically dispersed after that. If that oldest child is a daughter, she is often viewed prematurely by her mother as a little grown-up.
  2. The first child is theorized to develop natural leadership qualities.
  3. The oldest daughter is frequently her mother's angel, a loving position full of glory, devotion, and attention. She also, however, gets the brunt of strong parental supervision. Generally firstborns are reprimanded or punished earlier and more severely than their younger siblings.
  4. The second child is supposed to benefit from older sibling's mistakes, and, therefore, be more adept in handling family dynamics and parents.
  5. The middle child some say is lost in the shuffle. Others identify the middle child as the peacemaker and nonconfrontational member of the tribe.
  6. The youngest child is usually babied longer and may maintain a position of dependency.

The problem with these generalizations is that we all know tons of exceptions to these supposed rules!

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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