Psychologists and Sociologists suggest that birth order in a family creates certain predetermined types of personalities.
The First Born is usually a quick learner who is more driven to succeed and more of a perfectionist. The Middle Child is more laid back and often a good mediator, sometimes more of a social person. The Youngest Child is usually last to mature, sometimes a bit of a trouble-maker and often a clown who tends to act without a thought to consequences.
Of course many factors can affect the personalities of children and change these stereotypes quite a bit, but most of us can look at these generalizations and recognize ourselves and our siblings.
Thinking back to my first three children, I see how these personality types hold true for the most part. My first born daughter was an early speaker and reader, always driven to be the best at everything, though not obsessively, but more so because she simply wanted to do everything and do it right. My middle son is more relaxed and even tempered (though he, like I, sometimes lets his Irish heritage come through in times of stress) and he tends to see things from multiple points of view. My youngest son was always bright and inquisitive as a child, but also a source of constant amusement, and less driven to succeed early on in his life.
Now that we have brought into being a new “batch” of kids, I wondered how the birth order dynamics would play out.
The accepted thinking is that a late born child will be more like a First Child—but of course, we have twins, and it would be almost impossible to have two “A-Type” personalities pop out at the same time.
I do see two distinct temperaments in my little ones, but it seems like they may have arrived slightly out of order. Although they were only two minutes apart, the “older” twin, Anastasia, seems more like a middle child: mellow and unstressed and somehow amused at the whole process. The “younger” twin, Christina, is aggressive and active, physically strong and demanding.
In terms of slogans, the younger one seems to be saying, "I want the world and I want it now!" while her older sister, through her demeanor declares, "I'd like at least a piece of the world, but I'll wait until after my nap."
Of course, they are only six weeks old at this point, but if my first go-round is any indication, these dispositions will probably follow them, at least in some way, as they mature.
We may indeed be prewired for certain psyches and characters; all I can do is help them grow into theirs in the most positive way I can.