Monthly Archives: February 2012

Brothers vs. Sisters

Older brothers suck.

Allow me to give you some background, in the form of an email conversation with my older brother, Kenny:

Kenny: Yo….write a blog about childhood old brother torture. That’d be funny.
Me: That taught me nothing. Other than that you suck.
Kenny: I figured you’d make light and hilarity of it. Everything happens for a reason. After all, you brought half of it on yourself. Or don’t write about it. Whatever.
Me: That sounds like a challenge. And you know I don’t back down on a challenge. So you know you are going to win this, and I’ll have to write it, just so I’m not backing down. Damn you for knowing how to get to me. Give me a week.

Eight weeks later, welcome to my blog post! Drafted just in time for, and in honor of,  Kenny’s BirthWeek. Here are my preliminary learnings:

  • I am the ultimate procrastinator.
  • Older brothers suck because they constantly challenge you (or is this why they rock…?).
  • I repressed a lot of my childhood memories courtesy of said “torture”.

What was this “torture”, you ask? Well, what was once a horrible experience is now a hilarious story, and I actually give my brother props for it…

Picture it: 1990-something. Kenny, age 16-ish; Lindsay, age 11-ish. Lindsay probably did something that irritated Kenny and/or Kenny probably did something that irritated Lindsay. A good ol’ sibling quarrel broke out. Considering Kenny was twice Lindsay’s size, he won. How did he win? By flipping Lindsay upside down, holding her by the ankles, dipping her hair in a bucket of water, and using her head as a mop on the kitchen floor.

In hindsight: well played, sir.

But why were Kenny and I constantly fighting, bickering, and more than anything, competing? Birth order. According to some scientists, theorists and other people trying to recover from troubled childhoods (fair assumption) birth order – first born, middle child, youngest, oops-baby, etc. – affects personality traits and sibling relationships. Today, I learned that those folks are right. Well, in regards to Kenny and me they are.

Here are some theories I learned about birth order. I’ve marked each as true or false, and offered a rationale as to why. (Very scientific, I know):

Claim #1: Firstborns are “dethroned” when a second child comes along, and this may have a lasting influence on them.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: More than 5 years went by before I was born, and I was better than him. Thus, I got the throne. Only fair. To this day, Kenny is still angry because I look better on it. But who would you give the throne to? The angelic one or the problem child:

Claim #2: Younger children may be pampered and spoiled, which can also affect their later personalities

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: See rationale for claim #1.

Claim #3: Firstborns are more conscientious.

  • Assessment: False.
  • Rationale: We are equally conscientious, just in different ways. Kenny is more diligent and reliable, while I’m more aware and careful – particularly in dealing with others.

Claim #4: Firstborns are more socially dominant.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: I may be good at working a room, but Kenny knows how to own it.

Claim #5: Firstborns are less agreeable.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: Because he’ll probably disagree with my assessment.

Claim #6: Firstborns are less open to new ideas.

  • Assessment: False.
  • Rationale: This second born can fit into that theory as well. While we’re both very open-minded, we can be very stubborn if we have a lot of faith and passion for our own idea. We can be convinced, but you’ll need one hell of an argument and we’ll still probably counter.

Claim #7: Firstborns are more conservative.

  • Assessment: Mostly true.
  • Rationale: Politically, yes. Fiscally, yes. Socially, eh. Fashionably, no chance. He thought this was a good idea: (Embarrassing)

Claim #8: Firstborns rank higher in achievement.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: While I make efforts to excel, Kenny makes specific goals and rarely deviates from the plan to achieve them. He’s more about the journey and the goal; I’m more about completion and the win.

Claim #9: Relationships evolve over time.

  • Assessment: False.
  • Rationale: If Kenny had the opportunity, I’m positive he would attempt the hair as a mop thing again.

Happy BirthWeek brother!

Note: These claims were pulled from Wikipedia’s birth order page and its references list.