Growing Pains

BV students give input about Birth Order Theory

Chanie Rankin, Staff Writer

No matter if you are the youngest sibling or the oldest sibling, all parents love all their kids the same. Right? Well, according to the Sibling Birth Order Theory this isn’t true. If you aren’t aware, Sibling Birth Order Theory was created by a researcher named Alfred Adler, who claims that the order in which you and your siblings are born determines certain aspects of your personality, interests and even your intelligence. An oldest, middle, and youngest sibling explain their opinions on the reliability of this theory and how it applies to their families.

Photo submitted by Cameron Shafer

In the Sibling Birth Order Theory, the stereotype is that the oldest child is responsible, a leader and the most intelligent of the of the group. They had to parent themselves from an early age and their parents are stricter on them. To sophomore Cameron Shafer, most of this is correct. “[Oldest siblings] are blamed for things a lot more often but also get more privileges and responsibilities than the younger siblings.” he said. Shafer believes that while he doesn’t fit the entirety of the stereotype, there are bits and pieces that seem to describe him perfectly. “I would say that while I’m not as much of the leader-type, I am given a lot of responsibility at my house,” he said. “I think some of it definitely applies to me.” He also fully credits the theory, and while some argue that the idea of Sibling Birth Order Theory is lacking in factual evidence, he thinks some people don’t give it the merit it deserves. “I think it’s more common for people to fit [their stereotype] than people think,” Shafer said. “A lot of people just chalk it up as some dumb stereotype, but I don’t think that’s entirely accurate.”

Photo submitted by Maggie Richardson

The middle child is known as the peacekeeper and a perfectionist. The compromising, sometimes forgotten ally to all members of the family. Sophomore Maggie Richardson has not only thoroughly researched this theory but has applied it to her life as well. “I definitely think [Sibling Birth Order Theory] is real,” Richardson said. “I am a strong believer. For example me, as a middle child, is a perfectionist, and I think it’s a result of not wanting to be noticed or a bother.” Richardson also thinks that a big part of being a middle child is that every middle child is forgotten at one point. With the madness of three or more kids, the middle one is bound to get left behind sometimes. “I’ve gotten left at my grandparents house multiple times, and it never happens to the other two [siblings],” Richardson said. “My grandparents live kind of far away, and sometimes my family would just drive off without me.” While being the middle child can be difficult, all roles in the family have their ups and downs. “The oldest is the trailblazer and has to do everything first, and I would not want to do that, so I like being a middle child,” she said. “You get to learn from the oldest but you aren’t the baby of the family.”

Photo submitted by Caroline Doolittle

Finally, the youngest. The youngest is characterized as creative and outgoing. The youngest is also given the most freedom and can get away with more than their older counterparts. Junior Caroline Doolittle thinks the stereotype applies to her family almost perfectly. “My oldest sister is very organized and knows what she wants to do with her life,” she said. “My middle sister is very smart and always goes with the flow. I am just trying everything and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.” Doolittle has also experienced the difference between the sibling birth order. “My older sister would always be the one to make us lunch and entertain us when my mom wasn’t around,” she said. “I like being the youngest because I didn’t have to go through everything first and be the one to have to act older earlier.”