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Still Waters

Birth order may not shape personality

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Still Waters

Birth order, according to conventional wisdom, molds personality: Firstborn children, secure with their place in the family and expected to be the mature ones, grow up to be intellectual, responsible and conformist.

Younger siblings work harder to get their parents' attention, take more risks and become creative rebels.

That's the central idea in psychologist Frank J. Sulloway's Born to Rebel, an influential book on birth order that burst, like a water balloon lobbed by an attention-seeking third-born, onto the pop psychology scene two decades ago.

https://www.sciencealert.com/birth-order-may-not-shape-personality-after-all

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Piney

The whole idea of birth order having anything to do with shaping personality has always been ridiculous. 

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Podo

My sister being an utter bloody idiot really throws a wrench into any sort of "birth order" theories, unless her crippling inability to interact with society in a meaningful way is considered creative.

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Big Jim

They can add birth order to the standard 'nature or nurture' argument and still not know why people turn out the way they do.  No matter what statistics show, there are always exceptions.  I used to work with teenagers that were diagnosed as emotionally disturbed.  Usually the cause seemed obvious, broken homes, abusive parents, too many foster homes, etc.  But every now and then we'd get a kid from a church-poster family where everything was just as it should be.  There were ample resources, the parents were loving and committed to their children and the other siblings were well adjusted.  But the one would be rebellious and unsociable, with a history of crimes.  Nothing to account for it.  It didn't matter if he was born first, last or in the middle.  We know the opposite is true also, kids born into poverty, with poor schools and gangs all around who somehow turn out to be resistant to all the negativity in their world.

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Piney
6 minutes ago, Big Jim said:

They can add birth order to the standard 'nature or nurture' argument and still not know why people turn out the way they do.  No matter what statistics show, there are always exceptions.  I used to work with teenagers that were diagnosed as emotionally disturbed.  Usually the cause seemed obvious, broken homes, abusive parents, too many foster homes, etc.  But every now and then we'd get a kid from a church-poster family where everything was just as it should be.  There were ample resources, the parents were loving and committed to their children and the other siblings were well adjusted.  But the one would be rebellious and unsociable, with a history of crimes.  Nothing to account for it.  It didn't matter if he was born first, last or in the middle.  We know the opposite is true also, kids born into poverty, with poor schools and gangs all around who somehow turn out to be resistant to all the negativity in their world.

My parents were complete dope fiend derelicts. I became a cop and professional bodyguard who worked at the Tribal Center as a Cultural Resource Officer, my younger brother was a cop, my middle brother is the director of a hospital and my older sister was a school teacher and the head minister for the South Jersey (Salem) Quaker Quarter.

 

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Big Jim
10 minutes ago, Piney said:

My parents were complete dope fiend derelicts. I became a cop and professional bodyguard who worked at the Tribal Center as a Cultural Resource Officer, my younger brother was a cop, my middle brother is the director of a hospital and my older sister was a school teacher and the head minister for the South Jersey (Salem) Quaker Quarter.

 

Congratulations.  I rest my case.

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Piney
1 minute ago, Big Jim said:

Congratulations.  I rest my case.

I think genetics plays a big part. Because people tell me I'm a mad mix of my Indian grandparents.  My grandmother was a Herbalist. Her brother was a Shaman and then my other grandfather was one of Patton's Indian scouts. 

They were my greater influence too. I had no respect for my mother after I figured her out as a teen. 

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Captain Risky
On 3/18/2019 at 1:54 AM, Piney said:

The whole idea of birth order having anything to do with shaping personality has always been ridiculous. 

i think that there are exceptions to the rule but generally the oldest sibling is called upon to act as a de-facto parent. I'm sure that gets passed on in latter life. 

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Piney
3 minutes ago, Captain Risky said:

i think that there are exceptions to the rule but generally the oldest sibling is called upon to act as a de-facto parent. I'm sure that gets passed on in latter life. 

My sister and stepsister were my de-facto parents.  I had a awesome stepfather. But Agent Orange killed him. 

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Captain Risky
1 minute ago, Piney said:

My sister and stepsister were my de-facto parents.  I had a awesome stepfather. But Agent Orange killed him. 

sad to hear about your step dad and at least you had caring sisters to fill the void.  

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Piney
3 minutes ago, Captain Risky said:

sad to hear about your step dad and at least you had caring sisters to fill the void.  

My stepsister is taking care of me now while I'm recovering from the some health issues.

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Big Jim
6 hours ago, Piney said:

I think genetics plays a big part. Because people tell me I'm a mad mix of my Indian grandparents.  My grandmother was a Herbalist. Her brother was a Shaman and then my other grandfather was one of Patton's Indian scouts. 

They were my greater influence too. I had no respect for my mother after I figured her out as a teen. 

I'm convinced that everything is genetic.  I seem to take after my maternal grandmother more than even my parents, so certain things do seem to skip a generation also.  I never knew my maternal grandfather so I have nothing to go by on his side.  But some things seem to lurk in our genes just waiting to be woken up.  My heritage is German and Dutch and the first time I tried a Dutch beer it was like coming home.  

 

6 hours ago, Captain Risky said:

i think that there are exceptions to the rule but generally the oldest sibling is called upon to act as a de-facto parent. I'm sure that gets passed on in latter life. 

Being first can be good or bad.  I'm the first and that made me the one that turned my dad's wife into a mother.  He never forgave me and always saw me as a rival to be conquered.  As for de-facto parent, I was more of a de-facto slave.  When I was seven, and already had two sisters, a sister was born who was severely crippled.  I was forced into her service, and had to carry her everywhere for the next seven years.  By age 14 I was bigger than my dad and that's when it stopped.

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Captain Risky
31 minutes ago, Big Jim said:

Being first can be good or bad.  I'm the first and that made me the one that turned my dad's wife into a mother.  He never forgave me and always saw me as a rival to be conquered.  As for de-facto parent, I was more of a de-facto slave.  When I was seven, and already had two sisters, a sister was born who was severely crippled.  I was forced into her service, and had to carry her everywhere for the next seven years.  By age 14 I was bigger than my dad and that's when it stopped.

im also the first born in my family and I'm 10 times more reliable than my sibling. the same with my cousin and most of my mates too. i think as the eldest your expected to do things that younger siblings can disengage from because all responsibility falls on you/us. sorry to hear of your tough childhood years. but I'm sure you turned out okay regardless. 

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Herr Falukorv
On 2019-03-21 at 9:10 PM, Podo said:

My sister being an utter bloody idiot really throws a wrench into any sort of "birth order" theories, unless her crippling inability to interact with society in a meaningful way is considered creative.

I see you are blessed as I am with a fantastic sibling. I wonder what horrible wrong I did in my past life.

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Herr Falukorv
1 hour ago, Captain Risky said:

im also the first born in my family and I'm 10 times more reliable than my sibling. the same with my cousin and most of my mates too. i think as the eldest your expected to do things that younger siblings can disengage from because all responsibility falls on you/us. sorry to hear of your tough childhood years. but I'm sure you turned out okay regardless. 

Im second and my older sister is the most unreliable person to have ever walked the earth.  

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Big Jim
3 hours ago, Herr Falukorv said:

Im second and my older sister is the most unreliable person to have ever walked the earth.  

I had 5 sisters, 2 are now deceased, and when I would tell sister stories they all started the same way, "my sister....".  People thought I had one really messed up sister.  I also have a brother but he is so boring that he generated very few stories.  But my eldest sister, the one after me, sounds a lot like yours.  She is also a thief.  She's been fired from a couple jobs that we know of for stealing and has stolen from me and several other family members.  But in spite of the extra income she is famous for not paying her bills.  Once, when the company she worked for was bought out, she was able to keep her job and also got 4 months severance pay, so for those 4 months she got double paychecks.  At the end of that time her electric was turned off for non-payment.

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Captain Risky
9 hours ago, Herr Falukorv said:

Im second and my older sister is the most unreliable person to have ever walked the earth.  

i really hate that i have to often pick up the piece's even after all these years. so i can understand how you feel. 

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Goddess of the Mist
Posted (edited)

In my family, it wasn't about birth order at all.  It was about whether you were a boy or girl.  My brothers both got tons of support from my parents and basically could do no wrong.  We are in our 40's and 50's now and it's still the same.  My sister and I were both basically cast out to fend for ourselves as soon as we were old enough.  I'm sure that had something to do with how our personality was shaped.

Edited by Goddess of the Mist
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Piney
4 hours ago, Captain Risky said:

i really hate that i have to often pick up the piece's even after all these years. so i can understand how you feel. 

I use to bail out my stepbrother all the time. World's laziest and stupidest pothead. 

3 minutes ago, Goddess of the Mist said:

In my family, it wasn't about birth order at all.  It was about whether you were a boy or girl.  My brothers both got tons of support from my parents and basically could do no wrong.  We are in our 40's and 50's now and it's still the same.  My sister and I were both basically cast out to fend for ourselves as soon as we were old enough.  

It's a shame you didn't live in 6 Nations society. Women who gave birth rule the men and have the power to "unhorn" chiefs and decide on war.  

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Razumov
On 3/17/2019 at 8:54 AM, Piney said:

The whole idea of birth order having anything to do with shaping personality has always been ridiculous. 

Birth order heavily determines the interpersonal environment an infant is born into, so it isn't ridiculous.

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Piney
4 minutes ago, Razumov said:

Birth order heavily determines the interpersonal environment an infant is born into, so it isn't ridiculous.

You don't know my grandchildren. 

 

 

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Razumov
Just now, Piney said:

You don't know my grandchildren.

You seem to be unable to make an argument that doesn't rely entirely on personal anecdotes.

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Piney
1 minute ago, Razumov said:

You seem to be unable to make an argument that doesn't rely entirely on personal anecdotes.

Do you have any children? 

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Captain Risky
32 minutes ago, Goddess of the Mist said:

In my family, it wasn't about birth order at all.  It was about whether you were a boy or girl.  My brothers both got tons of support from my parents and basically could do no wrong.  We are in our 40's and 50's now and it's still the same.  My sister and I were both basically cast out to fend for ourselves as soon as we were old enough.  I'm sure that had something to do with how our personality was shaped.

really sorry to hear about your childhood struggles. i hope they have made you better than them and not hardened your heart. in my family there's a running joke that I'm the white sheep of the family. sibling/cousins/friends/parents/uncles/aunts/family friends think I'm strange. i feel strange and different. i don't feel anything in common with them. i love my kids and thats really it. I'm over them all. can't say that i was caste out or excluded maybe because i never gave anyone the chance to do so. maybe i was the runt of the litter and they took pity, who really knows or really cares. i have a sense of honour and i hold my head up high. when the chit hits the fan its me they run too. i do what i can. sometimes i remember the movie dirty rotten scoundrels and Freedy with the cork on the end of his fork. thats my family and my job is to make sure there's always a cork on the end of their forks. 

tumblr_ok6216yL8l1rzbj5mo1_500.gif

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Habitat
4 hours ago, Goddess of the Mist said:

In my family, it wasn't about birth order at all.  It was about whether you were a boy or girl.  My brothers both got tons of support from my parents and basically could do no wrong.  We are in our 40's and 50's now and it's still the same.  My sister and I were both basically cast out to fend for ourselves as soon as we were old enough.  I'm sure that had something to do with how our personality was shaped.

If what you say is accurate, about the boys being treated preferentially, then you were probably lucky to be cast out of such a toxic setting at an early age

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