Did you grow up with siblings or as an only child? If you have sisters or brothers, the order of where you fall between them may affect your personality to some degree. This is the birth order theory. Let’s say you were the youngest of 3 kids. To you, your older sister may seem bossy and like a second mom. The middle kid is your brother. He was quiet while at home, off doing his own thing all the time or hanging out with his group of friends outside. You, the youngest, were the comedian of the family. Big sister and brother thought you were spoiled and got away with everything. You felt like they got to have all the fun and do things you weren’t allowed to do, so secretly you tried to get them in trouble with mom when you could.
Many researchers believe that there are common personality traits that carry across firstborn, middle, and lastborn children. To date, studies show that personality traits are indeed similar among people of the same birth order. Similarly, some personality traits are shared with all people no matter what order they were born in. Each child in a family has a unique position. That position often helps determine who they are personally and how they develop within the family.
Traits of Firstborn Children
- Your firstborn child may tend to show leadership qualities, even from a very early age
- Firstborns are usually confident, responsible, obedient, and creative
- They can tend to be bossy
- Your oldest child may stand out as high-achieving
- Firstborns usually do really well in environments where they are asked to use their minds and command control of a group
- The firstborn child is responsible and feels a need to take care of others
Being the first child in a family allows your child plenty of time with you. There are no interruptions from younger siblings. This extra time alone with parents usually results in kids who take care of others. Firstborn children often remain this way as adults in their personal and professional lives.
Traits of Middle Born Children
Your middle children hold a unique place in the family.
- The middle child may be the family peacekeeper
- They may be the opposite and become the family rebel
- A middle child may be quiet at home but often more social and outgoing outside of the home
- Middle children tend to have strong bonds with friends
- They may feel left out, unimportant, or not loved
Middle children are born as the second, third, fourth, etc. child of the family. Until a younger sibling arrives, they are considered to be the youngest. The arrival of a younger sibling forces middle children to adjust to being in between an older and younger sibling. These kids may both be receiving (or demanding) more parental attention. If feeling unseen, middle children may negatively behave in ways that will get attention. Parents who give their middle child(ren) personal attention and praise, find that they grow up to do just as well in life as their older sibling.
Traits of The Youngest Child
The last child born into a family has the coveted title of the baby. As a result, they may get the bulk of everyone’s attention. Or the opposite, no attention at all depending on how busy the parents are.
- The baby usually comes across as fun-loving and outgoing
- Babies can also be jokesters and have big personalities
- Growing up in a family as the youngest tends to make the baby more self-centered
- They may become more attention-seeking than their older siblings
- Babies may become very good at getting others to do what they want
- The youngest child in the family is often adventurous
Your baby may decide that they can coast through life if you coddle them too much. You shouldn’t hold out praise. But don’t forget to hold them to a high standard of responsibility.
Only Child Traits
Children who are raised without siblings have the ability to show traits that are similar to firstborns, middle or youngest children, depending on the level of attention from parents.
- Only children, like firstborns, often get a significant amount of time with their parents
- They can grow into confident, caring, high-achieving adults
- On the other hand, if you have unreasonable standards or ignore your only child, they may engage in attention-seeking behavior
- An only child who is spoiled by you may feel entitled to get their way from others
- Only children require parenting that encourages them to be social
- An only child tends to act more like adults, so may not relate well with kids their own age
- Also, parents need to be responsible and leave room for their only child to be themselves
All Children Are Unique
In conclusion, regardless of birth order, every child is special. They all require love, guidance, and support. As a parent, you know how amazing your child is. Therefore, you’re already doing a good job at helping them become the best version of themselves.
If you want to read more about birth order, here is some more information.
- Article: What Your Sibling Birth Order Reveals About Your Personality Traits (Even If You’re an Only Child)
- Article: What to Know About Birth Order
- Book: The Birth Order Effect: How to Better Understand Yourself and Others
- Article: Birth Order Theory: Insights Into Your Personality