Birth order musings

After viewing some of Kevin Leman’s discipline books, I picked up a couple books of his books on birth order. I am the dreaded middle child, with some first-born characteristics; it’s hard to pin me down. I’m the first daughter of two quasi-last-born parents.

I had no idea that it was my birth order causing me to think certain things or that there were others out there like me. As a middle, it’s hard to find your place within the family dynamics. If kids typically learn how to relate to others within their family unit, and if I never learned how to relate, then that explains why I’ve always been a bit of a loner.. Things my husband should have been told before he asked me to marry him (from The Birth Order Connection):

  • pages 24-25 middles are described as having “tendency toward secrecy’; you will have to “work hard to draw ou what they’re really thinking”; they “tend to avoid controversy at any cost, hate to take sides, and are not very good at making decisions that will offend others. They also tend to blame themselves when others fail.”
  • page 45 “Middle children often look at life on a comparison basis–they realize there’s something ‘special’ about the kid below them and something too-good-to-compete-with about the sibling(s) above them.”
  • later on the same page “you’re going to have to work hard to make [this person] feel appreciated. [They will] expect to be slighted and mistreated.” But a middle child usually goes out of their way to be fair with each of their children.
  • page 191 “your middle spouse will be the most secretive of all birth orders. Often feeling ‘left out,’ she has learned to fend for herself. You’re going to have to really work to get a middle to open up. She may need continual assurance, and quite a bit of convincing that you really care about what she thinks. Even when she does begin to open up. she’s going to be afraid of ‘rocking the boat,’ so she’ll tell you what she thinks you want to hear–or just clam up about it.”
  • page 207 “They frequently have the toughest time feeling needed and often think of themselves as the least special, which leads to an interesting contradiction: being aggressive and competitive while avoiding conflict.”

Basically, a middle born child may go through life with a lens of being a “third wheel,” whether or not they really are. You want to feel wanted but perpetually feel left out. As a middle, I can see these traits within my reactions and actions. Just this morning I was ready to email the director to get the contact information for my coordinator (of course, being a middle, I don’t want to give specifics!) so that I could ask her a question but then I felt like I should tell her what the question was. I scrapped the whole thing because I was afraid that explaining the question to the director would get the coordinator “in trouble.”

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