Psychologist Alfred Adler (1870-1937) thought he could help his patients more effectively if he understood them within the social context of their environment. He believed that personality traits and behaviors unfold from developmental matters which included a person’s birth order. Although some studies suggest birth order has no effect on extroversion, leadership qualities, or emotional stability, it can be a lot of fun to play along and tease your siblings about the worst of their birth order characteristics.
- Since they’re used to interacting with grown-ups for a longer period in their life, eldest children often prefer the company of adults. You’ll sometimes find them playing dominoes with the old guys at the local VFW or yelling at neighborhood children to get off their lawn.
- Once younger ones arrive, the eldest child may jump into a leadership role in the family. From this moment on, the oldest will continue to boss around their siblings for the rest of their lives and question every decision they make.
- Often the most sociable, middle children thrive on peer relationships. They come to an early understanding that gripes and complaints will be completely ignored by their exhausted parents who are busy tending to the over-achieving oldest and needy youngest.
- Considered the peace-keepers due to their loyalty and deep sense of commitment, this is probably also why statistically, middle children choose to move far, far away.
- Parents have a more relaxed approach with the youngest child because they are tired enough at this point to be okay with sub-par discipline. The baby of the family gets away with murder.
- Because they are hopelessly spoiled and receive all the good attention, the youngest tends to be creative and charismatic. They can charm and manipulate their way out of any bad situation. This drives the older kids nuts.
Try it: Birth Order Poems
Enjoy a bit of inspiration to get you thinking about your sibling’s quirks:
Now is your chance. Write a fun poem about the birth order in your family. If you are the oldest, declare your superiority over the rest. If you are in the middle, marvel at your ability to disappear before the yelling starts. For the youngest, you’re funny and know how to captivate everyone around you. Dazzle us with your birth order poetry! If you happen to be an only child, this is an opportunity to write an exceptionally smug poem on how you’re the best of all.
From last week’s poetry prompt, here’s a poem penned by Monica:
Gusts blew the shared fence down overnight—
here because we’re on the same side
of the bottom of the hill, wind rushing downslope
on our low-pressure side—those gusts tore down
cedar planks and a four-by-four fence post. Splintered
planks made good neighbours. We pitched in
for new lumber, pulled shovels from storage sheds
for the first time in years, snaked a lawn hose
to the place, the water to soften the soil,
and dug deep on our dirtying knees as a child
loaded a yellow toy dump truck
and hauled away the dirt.
—by Monica Sharman
Photo by D.Reichardt, Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland