Birth Order and Family Dynamics
by Cynthia Bischoff on July 14, 2012
Wherever you landed on your family tree has affected you in countless ways. No greater influence exists during your growing up years than your family. Your parents as well as your siblings make such a powerful impact on you that this affects your forever.
The relationship dynamics of a family depend in large part on order of birth. Every time a child is born the family environment changes. How parents interact with each new family member affects not only that child, but also the other siblings.
Principles of birth order are not simplistic. For example, if you have two children in a family (a girl and a boy), each is considered a First Born since each is the first of that sex; however, the boy is also a Last Born. So the two dynamics are blended. If there is a gap in a family of 6 or more years, the first child of the second set is considered a blend of a First Born as well as a Middle Born.
Here are a few very interesting ideas about birth order characteristics of children based on research:
- First Borns. Take charge (may be overbearing); command respect (may focus on goals rather than feelings); do things right (may criticize self and others); have things under control (may be less flexible); conscientious and strong-willed (sometimes stubborn).
- Middle Born s: Often are mediators (want everyone to get along); act realistic (sometimes don t expect as much of self or others); relationships important (may be too influenced by friends); feel invisible (may stay in background or be rebellious); get along well (may want peace at any price and so let others take advantage); can be trusted (may fail to admit when they need help).
- Last Borns. Are likeable, fun, easy (may appear less disciplined); caring (can be gullible); humorous (may not be serious when need to be); relaxed (may not be focused); persistent (may see things only their way).
- Only Child: Might be self-focused (didn t have to compete with other children); trust self (may even be too independent in relationship); also often has characteristics of First Born (above).
Did you know the birth order of the following famous people?
First Borns. Bill Cosby, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey
Middle Borns. JFK, Princess Diana, Jennifer Lopez, Bill Gates
Last Borns. Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Ellen DeGeneres, Jon Stewart.
Every birth order has inherent strengths and challenges, and no birth order is better than another. Of course, many variables contribute to one s overall personality and success in life. Perhaps, simply knowing these ideas might allow a person to step back and take a different perspective on family dynamics.
The Birth of the Program
In my role as a business communications trainer and coach for more than twenty years, I had met many people, particularly women, who felt that their lives were fragmented and laden with heavy responsibilities. There was always more to do than possible, and balance was simply a concept but never a real possibility. So I began to design a program that I thought would provide others with a practical opportunity to create greater balance in their lives.
In trying to understand the meaning of the heart in my vision, I was led to the concept of heart consciousness and the works of Dr. Dean Ornish and the HeartMath Institute, among others. Repeatedly, the research suggested that the heart has a unique intelligence unto itself. I understood that when people accessed their heart intelligence, they were able to achieve greater life balance.
In 1998, I introduced the first “Leading from the Heart” program for women. This 8-week program became an evolutionary process, which guided and continues to guide, both women and men to greater life consciousness and a deeper understanding of themselves. To date, more than 500 people have taken the program, and over a 1,000 have become clients of Heartliving consciousness.
Welcome to Heartliving!
Cynthia s Inspiring Story
My desire to empower others through heart-consciousness began with a trip to Bosnia in April 1997. I was one of thousands participating in an evening vigil for peace in St. James’ Church in Medjugorje.
The church, which holds 3,000 people, was so packed that every inch of space was taken with a person kneeling or standing. People from over 18 different countries had gathered. As I knelt on the marble floor in the back of the church, the leader asked us to pray.
As we were praying, a vision came to me of an old crone, wearing a dark cloak. Her shoulders were bent, but from the opening in the front of her cloak, I could see that she had a multi-layered heart from which people were leaping. They of all nationalities and emotions—old, young, angry, joyful, and all leaping from the old woman’s heart. It was an incredibly powerful image that I will never forget.
While the meaning of this vision was not readily apparent to me, I knew that it would ultimately be life changing.
At the time of the trip, I was an administrative director at Old Dominion University, locked in an extremely work-intensive job. My sister had initially informed me that she would be taking a trip to Bosnia to pray for world peace. I had thought that I might be able to support her by helping with finances. Unexpectedly, she asked me to go with her. Even though my life was incredibly busy and my administrative job full of heavy responsibilities that were hard to delegate, I knew that this was an opportunity that I must take. It would allow me to step out of my current lifestyle and do some much-needed soul searching. I had so many questions: What am I doing with my life? Why am I here? What contribution could I be making?
Upon returning to Norfolk, I spent many hours meditating on the heart vision. Within a month, I knew that I would leave my university position and that my new work would include working with others, initially women, to authentically express themselves in a safe, healing environment.