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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Birth Order - 1928 words
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Sigmeund Freud was the first psychotherapist to say: 'a child's position in the sequence of brother and sisters is of very great significance for one course of his later life' (Richardson 12). One's birth order position (whether born first, second, last, etc.), one's sex (male or female), and the sex of one's siblings affects the kind of person one becomes. People often say they can't understand 'how people from the same family can be so different'. What they do not realize is that each sibling is born into a different family. Each new child needs to create a unique identity separate from the others. However this new identity is created within the context of those who are already there.
The people in a family change in many ways between the birth of each new child. Many variables impact on each sibling. These include the physical circumstances in which a family finds itself, (ie. location, income, residents), the emotional stability of the family, (ie. well adjusted parents, parental experience, settled career), and lastly the state in which they find themselves, (ie. decade, wartime, country)
These variables mean that each child will be treated differently by parents and siblings and this is done usually unintentionally. One must remember that birth order does not determine the basic values of a person or the person's value to society. It affects social interactions more than attitudes and ethnical stances. Your birth order and sex determines in a large part how other people in your family react to you and treat you which in turn influences what you think about yourself and how you react to and treat others inside and outside the family. Your birth order and gender affect primarily your social behaviour and how you relate to other people in your life. They affect the way you relate to your spouse, your friends and the skills you bring to parenting.
Birth affects what kind of a spouse you will be because of how you grew up. 'It is useful to know that something as simple as birth order can account for major conflicts in a relationship and that neither person is to 'blame'' (Richardson 17). When one understands, for example, that an oldest brother of brothers and an oldest sister of sisters are bound to have conflicts over who is in charge, they can stop blaming each other and accept the fact that their marriage is a difficult combination. Friendships are also affected by birth order. The friends a person gets along well with are likely to be in a complementary birth position. Therefore, non-complementary birth positions may partly explain any tension that exists in the relationship.
'If you take note of the kind of relationship you have with various friends and then find out there birth order, you may find that your best friends all have the same birth order' (Richardson 20). While you may have much in common with people in your same birth order, over the long haul you will probably feel most comfortable with friends from a complementary birth order, especially one that matches that of a favourite sibling. (Richardson 23 - 24) Also, your birth order can affect the kind of parent you are and the kind of relationship you have with your children. 'If you are an oldest or a middle child you probably either had some experience or witnessed caring for a younger child' (Richardson 28). Therefore for an oldest and a middle child parenthood may come easily to them and be most fulfilling.
These adults may be inclined to take too much responsibility for or be too controlling with their children, however, they may simply be good and nurturing caretakers. On the other hand, if the child is an only child or a last born, the child has not had the chance to observe any parenting other than their own. Therefore these children may feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of 'being a parent' and unsure about how to do it. Only children and last borns are likely to be less overpowering as a parent like an oldest. If a child is the last born, he or she may enjoy playing with their children more than most parents do.
(Richardson 27-28) The relationship between the first child and parents can never be duplicated. It is filled with the awe and wonder of having brought into the world this little being, the focus of the parent's dreams and hopes. Even if the later children become more favoured by the parents, the relationship is usually not as intense as with the first child. (Richardson 44) The parents pay close attention to everything that happens with the first baby - the first smile, word, and the first step are all exclaimed over, celebrated, and recorded in the baby book. These feelings about the oldest child's accomplishments can go on for life, through graduation, marriage, birth, and so on. As a result of all this love and attention, first borns have many distinctive characteristics.
These characteristics include; the desire to always be right and therefore first borns find it difficult to say 'no' and 'I don't know'. They are motivated toward achievement and so they are hard workers and task oriented. First borns are serious and responsible and seen as very nurturing. (Adams/ Anonymous 1) It has been generalized that many oldest children have unhappy marriages. This is because spouses often find them impatient and demanding.
'Oldests tend to believe in the importance of marriage and want to stay married no matter what. If the marriage ends, they are prone to strong feelings of failure and guilt' (Richardson 45). The most common problem is how oldest children find it most comfortable to take charge and be bossy since that is how they have been all their lives. (Richardson 56) 'Oldests usually want to have children and are responsible parents. They may be very nurturing and loving and crave the respect of their children.
However they could also be overprotective and strict, sometimes harsh, and often appear as cold and distant people to their children' (Richardson 57). Oldests children can be very demanding for their children to become adults. As a result this pressures the child to learn at a faster pace than normal. It could also be noted that oldest children of small families are usually happier parenting than the oldests of large families. This is because oldests of larger families may have been over burdened and burned out during their childhood while caring for their younger siblings.
(Richardson 56-57) Oldest children find it difficult to make friends, partly because they use their power to get their own way and partly because they tend to be undemonstrative and serious. They usually have just one close friend. Though anxious to please those in authority, oldests are often less popular than those in later birth positions. (Richardson 58) First borns tend to choose careers that either put them in positions of authority or allow them to work independently. As employees they can often find themselves at odds with their boss if he or she is not also a hard working oldest.
Firstborns go into helping professions or leadership positions to gain admiration and respect. They also do well in intellectual work that requires disciplined and abstract thought. They are less often in creative work and if they are, they tend to be more conventional than later born artists. (Richardson 58) Careers that have been noted as the best for first born children are those such as; scientists, lawyers, doctors, and journalists. (Anonymous 1) Another factor about birth order is the perfect mate selection. This relates to oldest children by the following two questions; i) Who should a first born marry? and ii) Who should a first born stay away from? The answer to the first question is a last born, while the answer to the second question is another first born. However, the fact is that first borns often do wind up with each other.
At the altar, they have no idea what kind of problem they will have to deal with to make their marriage work. This marriage is such a bad combination because when two first borns collide, there is a lot of heat, noise, light, and it's an explosion! (Leman 29) There are two types of first borns. One is the hard driven type who is desperately trying to climb to the top, whereas the other is the compliant type who only wants to please others. This means there are two types of relationships that consist entirely of firstborns .. The first is the incident I just described, where immovable object and irresistible force come face to face.
The second is where Mr. Aggressive is dating Miss Compliant (or vice versa), and the whole relationship becomes a bully-and-victim affair. (Leman 31) When first borns marry, there is only one thing to remember - Balance is the Key. It has been found that middle children are difficult to describe since they can have the characteristics of all other birth orders or none. 'They may be lost in the crowd or develop a particular kind of prominence as a result of being a middle child. Middles are so difficult to pin down because they are at once the younger sibling to the children they follow and the older sibling to children who follow them' (Richardson 139). Characteristics of middle children are; they are usually athletes because they have a need for competition.
They take pride in being different and may be rebels. They are good negotiators, peace makers and great listeners. Middle children are sensitive, patient, tolerant of others and they deal well with both adults and children. They do well at social gatherings. (Adams 2, Anonymous 1) Middles do well in friendships and marriages with most other birth orders.
Middle children may stay in destructive relationships longer than most people because they do not want to give up the place they have made for themselves outside of the family and are willing to keep trying to make it work. Middle children usually enjoy being parents and do it very well. They are comfortable with having more people in the household since they came from a family of a least three children. Middles usually accept the responsibilities of parenthood more easily than youngests and are more relaxed than the oldests. (Richardson 152) 'Middle children are often the most social of the children. They are usually very friendly to everyone and look for friendships outside the family' (Richardson 153).
Middle born children, with their experience of living with both youngests and oldests, can be good friends to people in most birth positions. Middle children usually become skilled at handling people and make good careers in positions that require tact and patience, but not much aggressiveness. They can also be good middle managers since they understand the needs of people and deal well with the ups and downs of relationships, but they may lack the ability to supervise tasks well. Since many of middle children crave attention and affection, they also go into the entertainment filled. Middle children are less likely than oldests or youngests to become famous or eminent in their fields. (Richardson 154) Middle children are most commonly found in the following jobs; psychologist, social worker, and teacher.
(Anonymous 1) As mentioned, there are 'so many variations of middle borns personalities that it is difficult to make hard and fast statements about this order. Some middle children are like first borns and some in the direction of the baby' (Richardson 111). So, because of their diversity, a marriage between two middle borns can on occasion work out splendidly, just as long as they are m ...
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