Either it is a myth or scientifically proven that birth order plays an important role in people’s personality and character. When I was taking my Child Development class, my professor mentioned the influence of birth order on how children’s personalities develop. For some reasons, the first child in a family will likely to be more independent than the second or third child. On the contrary, the youngest child will likely to be more rebellious than the oldest child. In addition, a child who has siblings will also have different personalities than a child who has no sibling. The theory says that the only child is “accustomed to being the center of attention” (Walcutt, Diana.L) and it could make the only child to be more egocentric than other. Birth order is one of the natural factors and it influences people’s personality and character.
Furthermore, another professor in my Child, Family, and Community class explained that child development is influenced both by nature and nurture. Some theorist on Early Childhood Development, such as Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Vygotsky, and John B. Watson believe that children developments are significantly influence by their environment. Therefore, every child is unique and even twins could have different personalities and characters. I agree with both of my professors and I believe that I have become what I am now -my father’s daughter, independent, and protective- because of both nature and nurture.
I am the oldest in the family and I am close to my father by nature. I read some books and articles which explain that usually a daughter, especially the first daughter, will likely to have closer relationship to her father rather than to her mother; I think that’s what had happened to me. Nature makes me become “my father’s daughter”. I am my father’s daughter and I admit that loud and proud. I always listen to him and remember his advises. I always consider his opinion when I need to make any decision. I often talk about him to my friends and I always consider myself as his ‘little girl’.
Many times, my mother says that I am my father’s daughter; she often says “Eka’s father” instead of “my husband” when she tells stories about my father to her friends and relatives. I remember a time when my mother was chatting with her sister and I showed up in front of them, my mother told her sister not to talk about my father because I will protest them. Well, it’s absolutely correct that I will protest them because I never want them to talk negatively about my father. Not only will I protest them, I will argue back, telling them that those things are not true and then tell my mother not to say any negative thing about my father. It is clear that I am my father’s daughter because I am the oldest and I do respect and admire him.
I have four siblings: three younger sisters and one younger brother. Being the oldest in the family is not easy yet not difficult. It is just different. I often hear my friends say that they prefer to be the youngest or the middle child, but for me each position has its own advantages and challenges. Being the oldest, I had more attention from my parents before my siblings were born. My parents had more preparation for my “arrival” into this world. It is obvious because I am their first child. Moreover, having four siblings in my environment makes me independent because I am their role model. I need to be qualified to become someone who can be looked up to. In addition, it also makes me become an independent person. I get used to doing everything on my own; sometimes I even reject other people’s help. Yet, it makes me become someone who is not easy to express feelings. Because I need to be strong and tough, there is no room for being weak. It is pretty strange though because actually I am a sensitive person. I get mellow easily but I just don’t or can’t show it to everyone. I am easily touched by sad stories in movies or books I read and get tears in my eyes, but it only happens when I am alone in my bedroom. The role of being a big sister makes me more independent and strong.
Another environmental influence that I face is that I tend to be more protective of my siblings. I want to help them in anything they need to do and I need to make sure that my siblings are protected and doing okay. I do not want to make my father get worried or upset because of something that my siblings might do. I feel obligated to take care of them and be their role model, the one who they can look up to.
One example of how protective I am is when one of my sisters entered her senior year of high school and I stayed with her in her boarding house in another city for a week, just to make sure that she did everything well and adapted to the environment. Until now I still try to keep in touch with my siblings even though we live in different countries, I live in United States and they live in Indonesia. My brother will just send me messages on Facebook or Yahoo Messenger to tell me that my sister is having problems and he wants me to help her. Then I will chat with my sister through Skype, either just to say hi or discussing her thesis, work, or her relationships. Those things are to make sure that my siblings are doing okay and also it is a part of my responsibilities as the oldest in the family. I still enjoy that role and nothing wrong by being protective to your loved ones.
From all stories above, it is clear that the birth order, which is the nature factor, plays an important role in my character development. I might not be as close as I am now to my father if I am not the first child. Or if I was born as a boy, I am sure that my relationship with my father will be different. I might be closer to my mother than to my father. On the other hand, the nurture factor, which is environment, also influenced my personality. If I was not raised in a big family environment, I might not have become as independent and protective as I am now. If I only have one sister or one brother, I might have been more casual and not too protective to my siblings. I also might not feel having as much responsibilities as I have now. Thus, the reality that I have four siblings and I am their big sister shapes my personality and character to become my father’s daughter who is independent and protective.