I have just read Michael Grose’s book, “Why first borns rule the world and last borns want to change it”. I found this book fascinating but then I do enjoy books about personality and temperament. I’ve added this to my list of favourite books which includes, “The Introvert Advantage” and “The Enneagram”. I think the reason I like these sorts of books is it helps me to understand why people behave the way they do. And it is not just other people I have trouble understanding sometimes I wonder why I act the way I do!
Early in the book the author explains his theory like this: “Birth-order theory works so well because we are social beings trying to find a niche in our social groups. The first social group we belong to is our family. Within our family we compete with our siblings for different places, positions or niches.”
A very brief overview, without going into the variations caused by parental influence, gender, spacing and other factors goes like this:
First-borns tend to be goal-setters; high achievers; perfectionists; responsible; rule keepers; determined; detail people; highly organized.
Seconds and middles tend to be flexible; diplomatic; peacemakers; free spirits; generous; competitive.
Youngest children tend to be risk-takers; persistent; outgoing; charmers; ideas people; creative; challenge authority.
Single (only) children tend to be achievement-oriented; conservative; confident; articulate; healthy in their self-esteem; inflexible.
In the book the author also explains the difference between temperament and personality like this: “Temperament is often confused with personality but the two concepts are different. Temperament has a notion of permanence and is more closely related to biology than personality, which includes a broader range of attributes. The Australian Temperament Projects distinguishes between temperament and personality: ‘There are no clear ways of distinguishing between these terms temperament and personality, but there is reasonable agreement that temperament more closely represents an inborn ‘style’ of behaving, something which is observable in early childhood, well before an individual has had time to amass enough experience to have formed a personality.’ Children’s temperament tends to remain similar throughout their lives, however it does modify according to their experiences”.
It is a great read if you are into these type books.