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The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are Paperback – October 1, 2009
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"...sheds light on how our place in the family pecking order endows us with traits that shape us for life." -- Dallas Child, April 1999
"If youd like to be more successful in all of your relationships, then this books for you!" -- Shine, September/October 1999
"Leman frames his discussion within a Christian worldview... Well-written, intriguing." -- Ministers Packet, December 1998/January 1999 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
Your birth order -- whether you were born first (or are an only child,) or second, in your family -- powerfully influences what kind of person you are, who you marry, the job you choose. Now you can discover: How to pick out the first born in any group. Why the baby in the family gets away with everything. How to help middle children feel less squeezed and more loved. Ways to overcome your worst inborn tendencies. Which career suits you best. How to make the perfect marriage match and much, much more... You've seen him on television and heard him on the radio. Now internationally known psychologist Kevin Leman reveals an exciting new way to better understand yourself and those you love.
"Forget astrology. The fresh, new karmic aid for picking friends and lovers is birth order... a funny, and sometimes not so funny, look at the effect siblings, or the lack of them, have in shaping a person." -- Chicago Sun-Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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So, as you can imagine, I was shocked to hear what she said. In response, I went home with this quandary and attempted to sort it out by reading The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman. It was a very interesting, if rather redundant, study on how where you come in the timeline of a family greatly determines your personality. As a middle child, I began to understand myself a little better.
In a nut shell, the firstborn/only child is the test tube for the family, where a majority of the parent's pressures to succeed rest. They tend to be perfectionists, they are very goal oriented and work to complete things proficiently, and they tend to be natural leaders.
The middle child usually takes the opposite route of the oldest. They are secretive, they tend to make friends outside the family because they tend to fall through the cracks "attention-wise," a lot of times they end up being pretty well rounded people due to the fact that whatever they got in life was what they sought out. Middle children are hard to pin down because of how much their personality is determined by the firstborn's.
Lastborns, well, they tend to have the attention of the parents without all pressure of the firstborn, while they have a gregarious personality that is highly interactive, funny, and likable. They are people persons. They are easygoing and fight for what they want. This said, they tend to not be nearly as goal oriented or performance based really at all compared to the firstborn.
Reading this book was rather frustrating as a middle child. I mean, most of it was dedicated to the firstborn/only child of the family, while the rest seemed to cover their arch nemesis, the lastborn. I guess they are probably the ones reading the book, too, and as a writer you must write to your audience, but still. When I finally got to the chapter about my placement as a "middleborn," I realized why there wasn't much to say about my kind. They are subjective. Who they are is directly determined by who the firstborn isn't. In other words, they are the direct opposite of their older sibling. Suddenly I understood why I had qualities that shouldn't be mine according to many of Leman's generalizations, and he confirmed that that was completely possible and probable too. For once, I didn't feel like a total misfit.
My older brother fits the firstborn description to the T, except, of course, for the conscientious, take care of the family aspect. Instead, he kind of had a lastborn's approach to that: he wanted to be taken care of and pampered for the firstborn he was. So, going the direct opposite way as him, I took on his "firstborn" missing traits instead. In a lot of ways, I took the slack of my parent's demands as well. He got the privileges of the firstborn, and I paid the price. Now I understand why his girlfriend thinks I am a firstborn. I bore the responsibility of one.
All in all, I highly recommend the book. It's worth the read. I understand my family a little better now. I know a lot more about the way I am, why I am a little more of a rebel inside, and why I don't act like it at all on the outside. How could I rebel when I have to be responsible to carry the responsibility of the firstborn, while maintaining his shrine?
For my husband, I now know that I demand a little more patience than the average bear because of where I came along in my family and what that all meant. I know he accepts that too. Poor feller. These types of books help me. I believe that attempting to understand yourself helps you better understand others as well. This guy seems to only view the world through birthorder, and I can definitely learn to make sure I have a few different pairs of glasses to view the world through to make sure I don't sound like a biased fanatic like him, but he has good points. All in all, learning some facts behind why the people in your life act the way they do helps you define and respond to relationships better, and, as Leman himself says, "Isn't life all about relationships anyway?"
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And in case you are wondering, yes, I am the dominant-aggressive, organized, judgmental, critical, over-achieving first-born, but I would like to believe that I give credit where it is deserved. I wish I could have given it here.