Birth Order: A case study
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We don't talk a lot about "birth order" around our house. Obviously the concept has some value, but I personally think a lot of discussion about those stereotypes or "natural tendencies" can guide kids in certain directions.

The oldest shows some responsibility and organization, and everyone notes: "Oh, wow! He's such a first born. He's so responsible and organized." The kid hears that enough....and guess what?!? He turns out responsible and organized! It's amazing! Hear something about yourself enough times, and you start to believe it.

I'm deliberate about pointing out when all my kids are being responsible and organized, and don't just take special note of those attributes when displayed by my first born. In the same manner, I celebrate when each of the kids are witty and fun and the life of the party, and don't just note those great attributes when they occur in my middle born. Anyone tracking with me here?

That said....

There are always those cases around here when I can't help but notice that the whole birth order business does have some merit, whether we point it out and talk about or not. For example:

Today the boys were playing a game; they blindfolded each other and lead each other around the house. I'm not sure what the objective was....actually, that probably was the objective. Just to blindfold each other and walk around the house. Gotta love boys.


One blindfolded the other. One brother, the leader during this first round, said to the other, "Okay. Hold on to me. We are now passing the couch. Watch out, because I'm leading you around a toy on the floor. You need to be careful to stay near me. Okay, in about three steps we're going to turn down the hall. Great job!"

Now the roles are switched. The blindfold is taken off and it's the other brother's turn to be the leader.

Blindfold is tightly secured. Then, relishing his role as leader, he grabs his brother's wrist with a firm death grip, and takes off pulling him through the house, RUNNING as fast as he can and laughing hysterically.

So any guesses as to who was the cautious and thoughtful leader? And who was the leader out for adventure at any cost?

Oh that Kevin Leman. Sometimes I think he might really be onto something. (As if he needs my endorsement after the millions of books he's sold.)


Edit: In this case, the "cautious and responsible" stereotype of the firstborn held true. Ryan was slow and easy when he was the leader, careful to shield his brother from harm.

Dylan, the middle child, was the no-holds barred little brother who ran through the house at top speed, without a care in the world. Including if he rammed his big brother into some immovable object. (That object happened to be the ladder to the bunk bed.)

Blogger Catrina had this to say:

Okay. So I was going to guess that Ryan was the adventure leader, anticipating all along what he was going to pull on his younger brother. But from what I know about Ryan, that just doesn't sound like him. Especially after the responsible decision he made to wear his hood in the freezing cold. So, I'm excited for the reveal.

December 8, 2009 at 10:56 PM 

Blogger StephCliff had this to say:

As a first born myself, I knew Ryan was the cautious & responsible leader. Just hearing about Dylan's method gave me anxiety! :)

December 10, 2009 at 10:48 AM 

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Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)



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