In 1961, a man by the name of Walter Toman got the birth order theory off and running in a book titled Family Constellations: Its Effects on Personality and Social Behavior. Since then, folks have argued whether or not birth order, more than anything else, determines our personality and how we get along outside the family.
Actually, Toman details eight basic birth order positions:
Whew! And as if that’s not enough, Toman also has portraits of the male only and female only child.
The problem is: most studies have failed to show that the order in which we’re born affects who we are. (One major exception is a study by Frank J. Sulloway, who found that over the last four hundred years, the most important scientists in the world were younger than at least one sibling in their family.)
Birth order is not so different than your astrological sign. You may find some characteristics that match and some that don’t. For example, I’m a Leo. And as the lion, I am supposed to be: creative, passionate but also self-centered, lazy, and someone who likes expensive things. Well, some of that is accurate (creative, passionate) but some is way off base (lazy, self-centered). At least, that’s my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong: birth order is a factor in who we are and our relationships outside of the family. But it’s only one of many influences on how we see ourselves and our family ties.
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