There was an interesting SBS Television program last night called Insight. Jenny Brockie hosted a discussion of the effect of Birth Order on our lives.This subject has been featured on the cover of Time Magazine twice in recent years. There was some good discussion such as how birth order may vary as siblings move from the home or parents remarry. Several authorities were asked but as usual no definite conclusions were reached. There was an accurate portrayal of the qualities of first born girl however. Although in one family of 6 the eldest girl happened to be the risk taker , explorer after one expert described eldest child as less likely to explore.  I wonder when Denny Johnson will be invited back to share some real knowledge of birth order. He was on the Ray Martin show over 20 years ago and invited back the next day because of the response. It is kind of amusing to watch the experts debate and talk about their research when the knowledge and dynamics of birth order have already been accurately worked out by Denny. The discussions in the media tend to be very general such as first, middle and youngest with no real differentiation  between male and female. Youngest child could be the second , third, fourth etc hence the term has no real meaning without qualifying the number of siblings-which the program did to it's credit.
The Muslim family of 5 children were great. There was a typical exchange between second girl and eldest girl who collects second and third girl from school and is then preparing a cheese and olive flat bread. ''Since when do I like olives' says second girl. She describes her older sister as 'bossy' but  admits she can be bossy too. After the 3 girls are 2 boys. The father has been preparing the older boy to be a little man of the house and the sisters say he is only 10 but he gives advice to them! This is a case of the eldest boy koala bear waking up from his dreamy imaginative state early in life with many effects on the family-particularly the eldest girl. It was nice that each girl thought they were the favourite in some way even though they realized dad was particularly bonded to his first son.
Anway it's great that there is media interest in the subject but the discussion would greatly benefit from being aware of some fundamental rules of the family such as :

  • Birth Order is determined by the order of the father's children.
  • The social order of who is in the house is often stronger than the genetic order of the father's children.
  • When children move from home of join the home (e.g. adoption) then the birth order shifts.
  • Eldest girl seeks to bond with father and is responsible and aware from an early age.
  • Eldest boy seeks to bond with mother and is often a late bloomer.
  • Birth order shifts depending on various factors including the relationship with the parents.For example eldest girl may go inward and behave like a second girl if the father is absent in any way from her life.
  • The eldest child sets the birth order of the siblings. For example if a boy is first and a girl next then the girl will be more sporty or fond of outdoors than if she was first child. Later she moves into the nurturing role of eldest girl.
  • The eldest girl is an evolutionary increase of her mother. The patterns of the mother tend to be amplified in the first daughter.
  • The first son is often opposite to the father in his interests and qualities. He tends to be a teacher of his  father but the second son needs guidance from his father and is more likely to be a 'chip off the block'.

There is lots more but that is a start for now. For a description of the 6 different boys and 6 different girls go to the page called Rayid Birth Order and download the document. Happy reading .....and  observing these patterns all around you !