In my experience, all the women I’ve dated who are the oldest child turned out to be responsible and have it together, which is a lot more than I can say for those who are the youngest. Not to say that all who are the youngest are like that, but at least in my experience, that is usually the case. I don’t want to stereotype, but I would be interested in hearing about your experiences about the men/women you’ve dated. Have you found this to be the case? Unfortunately for me, I find myself most attracted to those women who are the youngest child.
You’re attracted to the youngest… of course! You’re an only, right? Which is, according to this book, like being an oldest to the Nth power. The fun and frivolity of the youngest contrasts with your Type-A personality. But it’s a disaster in the making if your goal is to secretly parent the youngest.
Go read that book. It will give you a lot of insight.
I don’t know if one can make any real generalizations about birth order, but the two older brothers I dated (firstborn) were responsible and hardworking (I married the second one ;)). The two younger brothers (one baby, one middle-child) were lots of fun, but didn’t care much for responsibility. AND both of the latter were big-time Mama’s boys.
But I’m sure that’s not the case in every situation. For example, I have a 2-year-old who has taken up the mantle as the older sibling, because his 5-year-old sister is developmentally delayed. When the new baby comes, he’ll be the middle child, but he’s our “leader” and probably always will be.
Oh boy, how did you know I’m an only child? Is it that obvious? Anyway, thanks for recommending the book. I’ll be sure to check it out. It’s interesting that the book thinks that being an only child is like “being an oldest to the Nth power.” I don’t know if I would agree, because I don’t feel like I’m trying to parent the other person. I thought that an only child was probably even more prone to being irresponsible/immature. I try to act responsibly, because that’s the way I was raised.
Maybe there is something to the Type-A personality thing. I mean, I have been told that I can be a bit pushy at times, but I’m trying to change that. I’m curious, does the book say whom people who are an only child would get along the best with? Or rather, whom I should date, in terms of birth order?
Also, I didn’t mean to leave middle children out. I apologize for that omission.
My lucky dh married the youngest and oldest in some ways. I’m the baby of 5 children, but 6 years separate me from my next oldest sibling. I’m as fun as a youngest but as responsible as an oldest. Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Lucky DH!
As a Catholic convert who comes from a large family of divorces/remarriages/step-children/half-siblings/etc. this question is amusing. My parents have two children: my brother who is four years older than me, and me. So, technically, I’m the “baby.” Well, since birth I’ve been a “I’m in charge” kinda gal, and my brother has been a “do everything for me” kinda boy (we’re hoping he’ll grow out of it :rolleyes: ), so I’ve acted more like the oldest rather than the youngest. My parents were divorced when I was six, and my dad remarried and I became a big sister/middle child at eleven! Now I have three younger siblings (spaced 3/2/1.5 years apart) and I can see the more stereotypical age-roles playing out in them … but when I come to visit I make sure and assert my Big Sister status - my oldest younger brother doesn’t do well with that
My boyfriend is the youngest of four children, but he’s lightyears ahead of the others as far as “having it together” - but then again, I may have a biased opinion!
I am an oldest. Always took a lot of pride in being responsible and “safe” – No major risk-taking over here. I even hate roller coasters and most other amusement park rides. I’m a boring date, for sure. :rotfl:
Now that I think about it… All 4 of my boyfriends, except one (who was an only), were the oldest. I never noticed that before! I was a nerd in high school, and most of the other nerds were oldest children (all of my closest friends were, except two of them, who were only children). I met my husband (an oldest) in high school.
I did a short essay on birth order for a psychology class, and you’re right, Ann… Once there’s a pretty good gap, the “order” supposedly starts over. And strangely, the studies I looked at mostly observed families of 3 kids or less. :hmmm: I wonder how it works when you have 10 kids, and 8 of them are “middle” children.
SCG – I think only children have the advantage of having all of the “birth order” traits all rolled into one, and they tend to get along with everyone. If you date a typical oldest, you might bring some fun into the relationship, and if you date a typical youngest, you might bring some responsibility. When you’re the only child, you have to be fairly versatile, because you don’t grow up with siblings who take on other traits.
Of the people I know, all of the only children seem to prefer spouses/significant others who are the youngest. That’s hardly scientific, I know.
Well, I am 2nd oldest, but since my older brother is almost 5 years older, he functions more like an only and I function more like an oldest (sibilings follow me every 18 mo to 2.5 years after me)
Anyway…I am an “oldest” and my husband is the youngest of 5. I’m definitely the Type A personality and he is NOT. I am organized, responsible, etc. He is NOT. Although, he’s grown to be more than I thought he would.
However, my husband is very fun and (surprisingly) a very good disciplinarian to the children.
I read that Birth Order book and it’s fascinating! I can already see some of it play out in my children. And it’s been amazing for me to discover that as a parent…I haven’t actively tried to parent my children differently…but I can see that I have. I mean, by the third one, you realize that some battles aren’t worth fighting and you learn to let them learn some lessons on their own. I totally micromanaged my first one in her early years…:shrug: oh well, guess I didn’t have the other kids to worry about or something.
Oldest of seven here. In my family there is an expression-- “claiming middle child” --which anyone from #2 on down to #6 can and will do -i.e. starting a conversation, complaint, whatever with “I was in the middle so I was neglected” (said in “poor me” tones :rolleyes: …)
Only with seven there is a mathematical middle… as #4 loves to point out.
I’ve noticed that I tend to be romantically interested almost exclusively in oldests-- they have a similar mindset I guess.
(Both my parents are oldest children, too.)
On the other hand, I have a few good friends (of the same gender) who are youngests.
The premise of the book is that you are MOST affected by the child born before you. Oldest/only are formed by adults. They relate most to the adult world. Most of the astronauts and presidents were oldest/onlies. They’re also used to being in charge, getting their own way (especially onlies) and very independent.
Middle kids are most affected by the kids that preceded them. Yet they are older than younger siblings. They are more likely to be peacemakers, or the kids that disappear from the family and hang out with their friends a lot. They’re often very responsible and with none of the priveleges of the oldest and none of the catering that the youngest get, they often are hard workers who get things done and don’t seek the limelight (like the shining oldest or baby clowns.)
The youngest kids are the clowns. The family entertainment. And they know it and love it. Fun fun fun with these ones! All their lives they grew up hearing “Aren’t you adorable!” No one usurped their status. They also had the tired parents who let them get away with murder. In my own family the youngest are the most strict as parents because they know all the tricks! Their kids don’t get away with anything, because mommy or daddy already tried that. (Unlike this naive middle kid who behaved herself and is told how naive a parent she is all the time.)
So that’s the premise of the book. And developmental delays in some children, long spacing between kids, or one being a boy and one being a girl can invert and reverse these birth order stereotypes.
The book doesn’t recommend oldest/onlies marry each other. Not a lot of room for compromise with those personalities. Middle kids are usually more compliant as spouses, but when they marry each other, they tend to do everything to avoid conflict till it blows up in their face.
Gross generalizations, I know. But there’s a lot of truth in the book. And when you go home for Thanksgiving, its’ always fun to watch everyone revert to type.
Well as the youngest of 8 I feel like I am the one who is always taking care of everyone and keeping the peace and keeping everyone together, so I don’t know about the birth order theory. I have to admit, I do feel very taken care of by my wonderful dh, who happens to be the youngest, but only boy in his family. Considering his dad left his family I think that made him man of the house at a young age and once again, not much on the birth order theory. My best friend is the youngest and her husband the oldest and she is the one who is the caretaker in that relationship as well as with her sibings and parents.
Too many environmental factors play into this theory that I would not make generalizations other than as my sister says, don’t marry an only child or you will probably forever be tied to his family, because afterall (in the words of her mother in law “you have the only grandchildren and we have no one else to spend the holidays with” and the one that makes us all laugh- “your parents have all those other kids to enjoy, they can let us have you”.
It’s not just the birth order. There are other factors that come into play such as spacing and gender. My sister is the youngest, but since she is 6 years younger than me, she shares the “oldest” traits.
My son is an only child and since we aren’t clingy parents, we don’t expect him to spend any holidays with us.
While they are generalizations…it’s still amazing how close they are to what seems to happen in families.
We will have 4 beginning in january, and I’m interested to see how my middle dd changes. She is your typical “middle” for now…very much the “peacemaker”. My youngest is very much the clown and knows it. So I’m very interested to see how our family dynamics change with this additionn.
I am an oldest child who is married to a middle child. We are both responsible people, but I am probably the more serious of the two. That’s what I love about our relationship. He brings more fun into it. That may be what attracts you to the youngest.
Opposites do attract…