Birth order is easy: Each new kid fills the most propitious available niche – that is to say, DISC quadrant – in the family. It is normal to speak of normal families, where cultivation is expectation, and, accordingly, a child in a normal family will habituate the displays that most reliably yield positive responses from other family members at the time the child is growing into his humanity. He will fill the biggest available hole in your family. In dysfunctional families, the polarity of the responses and the direction of expectations will be reversed, but it’s still the most propitious available niche that will be filled by that child.
First-born children are often Cautious or Driven, because their parents and grandparents will hugely reward displays of either studiousness or industry, depending on which they prize more. Since there is only one child, so far, all of that kid’s grown-ups will give him a lot of time, both because they have it and because the interaction is reciprocally rewarding to them.
Children are naturally Sociable, obviously, and Sociable parents can snuggle up a SnugBug as their first-born, but, if they do, the second-born child will be a lot less Sociable. Why? Because he can’t compete with the older child at Sociable displays. Children born very close together or three or more years apart can occupy the same DISC quadrant, but normally-competitive siblings typically cannot – precisely because their habituated displays – their DISC profiles – are how they compete for attention and approval.
In a dysfunctional family, it will be the survival niches – not the ornamental ones – that are available to be filled, and the child will take on the temperamental characteristics that he perceives as being most lacking in his grown-ups. If he’s Sociable, he’ll see it as pitching in. Much more likely, he’ll be Cautious or Driven, in which case he will simply take over.
Meanwhile, what makes a solid CEO? A Driven-Cautious temperament in a child raised in a home that was both prosperous and kind and where dad, in particular, had very high but very rewarding standards for everyone. First- or second-born? Probably. First-born kids get more of everything, but where the first-born is Cautious, the second-born is a good bet for Driven – particularly since his now-time-crunched parents just love to see displays of independent accomplishment.
Wall Street-type CEOs in the third-born or later position? Not so much, but they’ll be well represented in start-ups and show-biz businesses.
These are all easily tested propositions, for Cautious academics, but why test for the obvious? We all already know all this stuff. You’ve seen it all a zillion times. It just takes as little nudge from me, so you can spot the pattern.
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