Dear Grandparenting: I have three granddaughters, ages 12, 10 and 8. A lot of good-natured kidding goes on when we all get together. The oldest one says she’s the smartest. The middle one claims to have all the looks. The youngest one says she’s the best athlete and will be the tallest when she grows up. It’s what we call “bragging rights.” Everybody wants to be special at something.
It’s obvious the middle one is the looker of the bunch and the youngest is really athletic and coordinated. But there’s no way of telling who is the smartest. My oldest doesn’t always get high grades but doesn’t do much homework either. I always hear that firstborns have the brains. Is this fact or fiction? Gayle Matz, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Dear Gayle: The question of whether or not birth order exerts a lasting impact on one’s life has fascinated many in the scientific community and general public for decades.
Popular beliefs and prominent scientific theories might lead one to think that birth order plays a significant role in who we are.
Arthur Adler, founder of the study of individual psychology, proclaimed the first born dutiful, the youngest ambitious and the middle one(s) emotionally stable. But other studies find firstborns rebellious and perfectionistic, younger ones competitive, social and forgiving, and so on. Take your pick.
That said, most reports and studies do indeed support the idea that firstborns have an edge in brainpower. They also tend to have more college degrees and opt for prestigious careers like medicine or engineering. But beyond that, there’s little else conclusive on birth order effects among siblings.
Grand remark of the week
June Moore from Marshall, Michigan and granddaughter Jay were out for a stroll when Jay suddenly plucked something from the ground.
“Guess what I found Granny?” asked Jay, hands held behind her back.
“Surprise me,” said June.
Jay produced two dandelions, “one for you and one for me. Aren’t they pretty? They smell like sunshine too.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.