My baby brother towers above me. Twice as tall (well, almost). Feet double the size of my size six-ers. Hands probably bigger than my face. Shoulder-width almost double mine.
Quite clearly, he can protect himself better than my 163cm frame can protect him. But that doesn’t stop me trying.
That inherent urge to protect, lead, guide, keep safe. It may be a sibling thing. It may be because I’m older. I wonder if he feels it as strongly?
For decades, researchers have been intrigued about the personality nuances of children of different birth orders. (Particularly middle-children researchers – they’re particularly hung up on it, as middle children so often are… amiright?)
Are older children really more bossy, competitive, responsible, protective? (Not all of these things, surely?) Are younger children more reckless, more determined to prove themselves to be different, more manipulative, cheeky?
Or are these just stereotypes?
“Firstborns tend to be responsible, competitive and conventional, whereas laterborns have to ‘distinguish’ themselves and create a specific niche by being playful, cooperative, and especially, rebellious,” Belgian psychologists Vassilis Saroglou and Laure Fiasse wrote in a 2003 paper published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
A 2010 review of birth order literature also found that it’s common for middle children to be sociable, faithful in their relationships and good at relating to both older and younger people.
In 2009, a correlation between sibling order and spouse selection was discovered. It was found firstborns are more likely to be attracted to firstborns; middle siblings attracted to middle siblings; and youngest children attracted to younger children. If we're attracted to spouses of the same order - surely it's related to our personalities, right?