The Effects of Birth Order

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Madison Keenan Ms. Solomon English 10 2-May-2012 The Effects of Birth Order One of the many things that affect human beings and how they relate to the world around them is based on their birth order. Birth order can be perceived in many ways by many different people, but the basic definition is best explained by Judith Graham stating, "Birth order is the chronological order of sibling births in a family." (Graham__). Within the definition, birth order is classified into four main categories; first-born, middle-born, last-born and only children. Once a person has established what category they fall under, they must look at the many factors behind birth order. Key factors that affect the formation of the personality and behaviors of a child include gender, physical attributes and the spacing of children within a family. These factors influence how parents treat children and how each child is looked upon by their siblings. Gender is significant because it establishes how a child is treated within the birth order arrangement. If there is only one daughter in a family of three boys, for example, the daughter will often be treated as a first born no matter where she falls in the birth order. A child’s physical attributes also play an important role in birth order. If there are two sons and the younger son is stronger and more athletic, for example, the younger may be treated as a firstborn because parental favor and expectations are greater for them. Lastly, the spacing of children in a family is very important. As best said by Graham, “Spacing is an obvious factor. Whenever there is a gap of five or more years between children, it often means a “second family” has begun” (Graham___). Birth order controls many aspects of a person’s life from childhood all the way through adulthood. People often forget that birth order is only a generalized characterization. It is
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