Thursday, November 27, 2014

Playing the Birth Order Game: Surviving Your Family during the Holidays

It’s the time of year when your family, his family or her family
are getting together. Why is it that some feel this is a stressful
experience; after all, it’s just family?  When families get together
everyone takes a step back in time and the pecking order or 
each person’s birth order comes into play.  No matter that 
Joann is now an investment banker in New York City, she is 
still the baby sister to her older siblings and is still treated the 
same way she was when she was growing up.  Family has a 
way of erasing all of one’s accomplishments.

Why do families revert to Childhood Behavior Patterns?

Your birth order is your path throughout life and it doesn’t 
change when you leave the nest, get a job and have a 
family of your own. Your own family may sound too 
critical to you but they see the “real” you and no amount 
of window dressing can fool them into seeing you in a 
different light.  This may be the reason many don’t come 
home for the holidays! Bringing up old wounds and sibling
rivalries are unpleasant.

1.     Why Birth Orders Clash

Every sibling has a different birth order in a family.  When 
extended families get together, many will have the same 
birth order.  This is where the problem begins.  If we have 
two or three firstborns, who is really in charge?  The fun 
part is for everyone to think about the other’s birth order to 
understand why conflicts exist and then work through them.

2.     Playing the Sibling Birth Order Game
·        Get each family to list all the siblings in their family.
i.e. Anna 21, John 38, Sue 37, Becky 30
·        Make sure you get the years between each successive
sibling.  Anna 3yr  John 1yr  Sue 7yr Becky
·        Give each a number with the oldest being #1
Anna #1  John #2  Sue #3  Becky #4/0
·        Those with four or more years between successive
siblings will have Double Birth orders so add a 0
behind their birth order number.  Beck is 7yrs younger
than Sue and that is why she gets the 0. Adding this 0
Birth order magnifies and intensifies her #4 birth order
·        Find out which family members have the same birth 
·        Give a name tag to each person showing their birth 

3.      The Only Birth Order
This birth order may love having everyone around, something
they missed as a child growing up alone.  Others will like the
solitude during the holidays and prefer being alone.  This birth
order will be the most adult of the group, the go to person if
problems occur.  Onlys like Condoleezza Rice and Rudolph
Guliani would calm the waters.

4.     The Firstborn
Similar to the only child, the firstborn is at the top of the
pecking order. These are the people who want to
give orders and be in charge or be very supportive. One can
get a mental picture of the firstborn’s approach by just
imagining Hillary Clinton and Julia Child in the same kitchen.
both would want to be in charge.  One giving orders the
other supporting others with a different approach. If you
are working with firstborn’s one approach to keep harmony
would be to make each firstborn responsible for a different
part of the meal.

5.     The Second Born
Don’t tell a second born what to do! The second born may still
be acting out their sibling rivalry with the firstborn. The second
borns may want to take the competition outside for some touch
football or any game where they can compete from cards to
monopoly.  If the second born is in charge of dinner, you can
bet it will be as perfect as possible—the second child often tries
hard to unseat the older sibling. Second-born Martha Stewart,
home and entertainment perfection guru, is a good example
of a second-born child.

6.     The Third Born
These are the masters of relationships and will be the 
observers watching the family in action, taking everything 
in. They make its their job to keep peace and keep 
everyone on an even keel. Laughing on the outside, you 
can bet they are feeling everything on the inside and 
won’t let it show. The third born will know just which 
family members should sit together at the holiday table.
Third-born Barbara Bush, wife of one president and mother 
of another, is the perfect example of the all-knowing, 
all-feeling third born who doesn’t let her tender side show.  
She is great at picking up vibes from people and can 
easily figure them out. 

7.     The Fourth Born
They are ready to have some fun! As the true babies in the
family, everyone takes care of them and they can be the grease
to keep the family having fun and keep things from getting too
serious. The holiday party won’t be at their house unless
someone else is in charge. They prefer to sit at the little kids’
table, where they are right at home. Fourth-born Dolly Parton
exhibits the playfulness of this birth order. Patricia Heaton who
played Debra in the TV series (Everyone loves Raymond) 
shows this characteristic as well.

Beyond the Fourth Born
If you are from a large family, birth order starts over again
for the children following the fourth child of the family.
If you are a fifth born, you share the firstborn traits. If you
are a sixth born, you share the second-born traits, and so
on. Often the birth order traits are softened in these
family members with 5th 6th 7th 8th & 9th birth orders.

Some Variables
Birth order characteristics are not black and white and they
can be influenced by many things—sibling deaths, divorce,
blended families, and lengthy spacing between children, to
name a few. For example, “double birth” family members are
children spaced four years apart or more from their closest
sibling. A third (and last) child born five years after the second
born of the family would carry a Three/Only birth order.
Double birth order children carry characteristics of both
of their birth orders. In many cases the blending magnifies
and intensifies characteristics. If a two is stubborn, then a
Two/Only is an immovable object! President Donald Trump
has a Double birth order, that of a firstborn and fourth born.
That is why we see two sometimes contrasting behaviors
one like an Adult, the One, and the other like a child the

Let the Game Begin!
If you have a large group, give a name tag to each person
identifying their birth order. It’s a great way to get the
holiday dinner conversation going! Bon App├ętit!

Dr. Robert V. V. Hurst is author of the book:
 “Life’s Fingerprint: How Birth Order Affects Your Path
Throughout Life.”  For more information contact him at  This book should be on every
coffee table at this time of the year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

George Clooney his Birth Order and Marriages

Even George said it was not going to happen but on
September 27th 2014, he married again. His bride, Amal
Alamuddin, a human rights attorney.  Why do people fall
in love? Can we predict which marriages will last? 
These questions can be answered with a look at birth order.

Love At First Sight
There are two types of love at first sight.  The first is when
you meet someone with your same birth order. You are
so much alike. The problem with this match is that you
are so much alike you try to occupy the same space. One
of you must step aside and let the other shine. You can only
have one image in a mirror at the same time.

The more lasting love is when you meet someone that
matches a sibling in your family of the opposite gender,
and you match one of theirs. You will both understand
each other since you had a sibling with the same gender
and birth order.

George is a Second Born
George has a sister two years older than himself.  He must
have easily dethroned his older sibling Adelia Zeidler
as she did not compete with him.  She became a wife and
mother and stayed in Kentucky close to their parents. Not
close to George, she was unaware of his first marriage.
They do e-mail each other.  George was an athlete in high
school and even tried out to play professional baseball with
the Cincinnati Reds. One trait of the Second born is that they
don’t like others telling them what to do. This may be why
he has stayed unmarried without children. It may also be
why he considers himself antiestablishment and explains
the political stands he takes. He likes standing up for the
underdog by challenging  a government or an individual. 
You never have a second chance to make a good impression
with a second born. Having had a few confrontations with
directors he is now more comfortable running his own
production company. He would be attracted to a #2 like
himself but his ideal mate would be a #1 like his sister,
especially if she had a #2 younger brother.

First Marriage a Two/Only Double Birth Order
He married Talia Balsam in 1989. She has an older
half-brother Thomas Casey King 8yrs older from her
mother’s first marriage.  This gives Talia two birth
orders. She is a Second born but also has the power
of the Only birth order because of all the nurturing
she received at home while her older brother was in
school. This really “powers up” her #2 birth order.
The attraction for George was her #2 traits. She
continued her career as an actress and did not give
it up or “step out of the mirror”, neither did
George. With the added power of the Only
characteristics she was the one in charge, not
George. The marriage lasted only 4yrs.

Amal Alamuddin a Firstborn
Amal is the firstborn and has a younger sister Tala. I
don’t know Tala’s date of birth but she does have
a 12yr old daughter. I assume she is no more than
2yrs younger than Amal. This makes Amal a #1 birth
order and it does not look like she has been
dethroned by her younger sister. Like all birth orders
Firstborns have two sides.  As a #1 she can be either
domineering by  giving orders or she gets her way by
being nurturing and supportive.  Let’s hope this is her
type because George does not like to be told what
to do.

Will the Marriage Last?
With the divorce rate above 50% this is a question
to which everyone wants an answer.  It looks like
George has matched his childhood family birth order
as his sister was a #1.  Amal comes close but the #2
in her family was a girl not a boy. She will have a
harder time understanding George, especially when
he wants time with his buddies.  This match is very
close to the ideal birth order combination. It has an
excellent chance of lasting a lifetime.

For more information on Birth Orders go to  and buy the book with
the same name by: Dr. Robert V.V. Hurst

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Koch Brothers: A Study in Birth Order

                               Seated:  Charles      Fred        Mary       Fredrick
                               Standing:    David                              William

There have been few American families that have been
as politically influential than the Koch family.  They own
the second largest private corporation in America. The
four Koch brothers are on the Fortune 500 list of the richest
people in America. Their desire to keep a low profile
working behind the scenes has been breached by family
quarrels that began in childhood.  Birth order interactions
were allowed to “work” themselves out by parents that had
other interests that superseded their sons. Bill the youngest
said the situation at home was “more like the movie Lord of
the Flies” that brought out the basic instincts of survival
among the brothers. This allowed their birth orders full
expression. Each birth order has its own expression and
the quest for power over the other sibling continues into

The Start: First two Generations
Fred C Koch was born September 23, 1900 to a penniless
Dutch immigrant Harry Koch. Harry became a newspaper
Owner in Quanah Texas a small town with less than
 2,000 people.  His older brother John Anton Koch was
born in1898.  John followed into the family business but
Fred took another course as the second son often does.
Fred started college in Texas where he learned to box,
this may have helped release his stress. He later went to
MIT where he graduated with an engineering degree.
While at MIT he and a friend invented a thermal cracking
process for turning crude oil to gasoline. They tried to sell
the process to the American oil industry but were rejected.   
In 1930, Russia was looking to modernize their oil industry
and welcomed their help. The Russian government paid
them well but this relationship did not last. Fred developed
a hatred for Communism and was instrumental in the
birth of the John Birch Society, an anti-Communist group
based in southern California.  He and his partners now had
the money to start their own oil refining business in the
US.  Number 2 birth orders make money so others will
not tell them what to do. They don’t do it for the material
things that money can buy. This was Fred and the start
of Koch Enterprises.

Fred starts a family
Fred married Mary Robinson Koch at age 32, later than
most men at the time. He and Mary had four sons. Frederick
(Fred) 1933, Charles 1935, and the twins David and William
(Bill) in 1940.  Fred and his wife were more obsessed with his
business and her busy social scene than raising the boys and
spending family time together. There was no silver spoon for
these boys. Fred paid them only for chores and did not give
them an allowance. When he was home he ruled the boys
with an iron fist. Most of the time they were left alone to
interact between each other.

The Boys Birth orders
Fredrick was the firstborn, Charles the second born but the
twins born five years after Charles made up a “family” within
the family. The twins interaction was greater between each
other and less with their older brothers. The five year spacing
gave them Double Birth Orders. David, the oldest of the
twins, was the third birth but the oldest in this “second family.”
He has a 3/1 birth order. William (Bill) was the fourth born
(19 minutes younger) but the second in this “second family”
he has a 4/2 birth order. When people have double birth
orders they display characteristics for both birth orders but
not at the same time. Unaware of their dual birth orders they
may find it difficult to control which one is going to appear
and this can cause stress. There is also sibling rivalry between
these two. David has the superior birth order numbers, 3 & 1
 and Bill a 4 & 2 will want to dethrone him.

Fredrick the Firstborn
Fredrick is the firstborn and was named after his father.  As
many fathers, Fred Sr. had plans for his firstborn son to
follow in his footsteps and take over the family business. 
Sometimes the pressure is too great and the firstborn,
he drops out and lets his younger sibling dethrone him
and takes a different course. This is devastating to the
father, especially one so driven as Fred Senior.  Fredrick
 is the shortest of the boys at six foot two. He was closest
to his mother and shared her interest in the arts and was
not athletic. He loved to act and sing. He left home for
boarding school after the 7th grade.  When he was in his
20’s many thought he was gay. In the 60’s the mention of
Fredrick vanished from his father’s biography. Partially
disinherited by his father he now spends his time and
money restoring castles and historical houses.  He has never
married and owns the private photo collection of George
Platt Lynes and Jerome Zerbe focused on homoerotic
imagery. He and youngest brother Bill were bought out of  
Koch Enterprises by their 2nd oldest brother Charles.

Charles the Second Born
Charles has all the characteristics of a second born.  Just like
his second born father he didn’t like to be told what to do.
If there was any sibling rivalry it was short lived. His father
picked him to succeed him by putting a lot of pressure on him
as early as age nine. Charles was rebellious and was kicked
out of many private boarding schools starting at age 11. 
Many say he was a “bad boy” that turned good. In terms of
birth order he now has to act the part of a firstborn but has
the characteristics of a Second born just like his father. When
this is just an act he may go overboard in using his power.
As a #2 material things are not his main interest but being
free of authority is a high priority. He still lives in Wichita
Kansas, eats in the company cafeteria and goes to work
everyday even in his 70’s.  He, like his father is using his
money for political change. He is thought to be the money
behind the “Tea Party” movement and the support of
conservative candidates. Second borns like Bill Gates and
Warren Buffett share this trait and they too will continue
to get wealthier. During the period that brother Bill brought
a lawsuit against the company, Charles shunned his brother.
You don’t tell a number 2 what to do!

David the Older Twin  3/1 birth order
David is 19 minutes older than his younger twin brother.
The twins start another family group because they are
five years younger than Charles. This gives David some
firstborn and third born characteristics. Growing up he
fought a lot with his younger twin.  He seemed to win
more boxing matches so held off any dethroning by his
younger twin. He and Charles are the brothers that run
Koch Enterprises. He would be drawn to Charles who is
acting like a #1 which is part of David’s birth order.  As a
#3 we see David’s charitable side and his interest in
helping those in need on a larger scale. He gives to
hospitals, theaters, art and education. Living in New York
he is thought to be its wealthiest resident. Like his brother
he feels he can change the world with an interest in
politics. In 1980 he ran as VP on the Libertarian ticket. 
He is Chairman of Americans for Prosperity a political
action group that is very conservative. During the law
suit brought by his younger twin David was torn between
loyalty to his twin and his older brother Charles.

William the Younger Twin 4/2 birth order
William or Bill is the true baby in the family. He was the
fourth born.  He also has the number two birth order which
would make him combative. Bill #4 was always jealous of
Charles his #2 brother and even went to the same boarding
school. Of course, he did not know that they shared a birth
order. Someone with a 4/2 birth order would be a
combination of an impulsive child with the “don’t tell me
what to do” of the #2.  These two birth orders together can
make a combustible mix. The baby #4 wants things and the
#2 is ready to fight for them. Bill has been known to be the
“Playboy” of the group and has been married 3 times. 
He won the Americas Cup in Yacht racing in 1992 and is a
collector if art and wine.  Known to have a hair trigger
temper and is quick to sue others if he feels cheated. He
and older brother Fredrick sued Charles and David after he
thought the $800 million buyout was too small.  They lost
the case. During the trial he said he had mixed feelings.
One was purely economic the other emotional attachment
To the company. The lawyer asked, “In the competition
 between the two halves of yourself what won out?” “Get
the highest price” Bill said. This was an open display of his
inner torment trying to balance his two birth orders. Unless
he can understand that he really is two different people and
begin to control his birth orders he will be forever unhappy.

Families and Birth Order
Some parents feel it is their fault that their children do not like
each other and can’t get along.  This is not their fault as you
can see with the Koch brothers.  Because of their great wealth
their personalities were on display in open court. Expressing
their birth orders made them who they are.  All people, if
given enough time will have a life that matches their birth
order.  Those with double birth orders have a more difficult
time balancing their life. It is their Life’s Fingerprint!

For more information on Double Birth Order purchase my
book Life’s Fingerprint: How Birth Order Affect Your Path
Throughout Life, by Dr. Robert V.V. Hurst