Beware Your Sibling-Free Co-worker?
Researchers love to explore birth order. For decades, they’ve been talking about the leadership and academic skills of first-borns, the ability of middle children to see things from multiple points of view, and the attention-seeking yet affectionate nature of the youngest in the family. But perhaps no group excites as much curiosity as only children, who are praised on the one hand for being mature and detail-oriented but also seen as overly critical and unable to share.
According to this article, the problems of only children may not end in adulthood. A study on workplace conflicts in which relationship status and birth order were taken into account found two groups stood out – single people and only children. The researcher behind the study maintains that only children miss out on mastering the give-and-take of relationships while growing up. “If you have siblings, you soon learn that you can’t always get the biggest piece of the cake every time.” As for singles, he believes they are more prone to conflict because they often don’t have anyone with whom to regularly discuss everyday problems and thoughts.
As both family size and marital rates continue to drop, does this mean potential problems for workplaces of the future? From your own experience, do singles and sibling-free colleagues seem more argumentative, or does this study just perpetuate stereotypes?