Birth Order and the Effects on One’s Personality

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Birth Order and the Effects on One’s Personality

Family and siblings are often some of the closest people in our lives, and their influences shape our ways of thinking and acting. / Photo by: Mark Bowden via 123rf


There are many stereotypes that revolve around the order of birth that can be seen in mass media, such as the troublesome younger brother or the responsible elder sister. But what does the order at which you were born really tell you about your personality?

Birth Order Impact

Our family and siblings are often some of the closest people in our lives, and their influences shape our ways of thinking and acting. We cannot control whether we’re the eldest or the youngest among our siblings, and it seems that it truly can have an impact on how we grow up as people. In fact, each spot on the order will affect you for the rest of your life and give you unique experiences that your other siblings won’t have.

The Eldest Child

Firstborn children are often thought to be put on a pedestal as they are given the undivided attention and care of their parents from the moment they were born. For a while, they do not lack any support or security, and this helps many firstborn grow up to be confident. In fact, a great number of leaders are firstborn children.

However, there are certain stressors that come with this seemingly optimal position. Firstborn children are often teased as being the “experimental children,” seeing as this would be the parents’ first time taking care of a child of their own. As such, they are also often given high expectations from parents and loved ones, especially as parents would want to feel successful on their first time raising their own, as stated by Psychology Today. It is then a very common thing that firstborns have their lives micromanaged, with parents giving advice and instructions on the best course of action according to what they had experienced. This results in many gaining a reliable and organized personality that goes in line with trying to please parents’ wishes.

Once a new child is introduced to the family, the firstborn then must learn how to share the love from their parents with someone else. They can often become embittered and jealous during these initial phases. However, more often than not, elder siblings then become surrogate parents who help nurture their younger sibling and become more responsible in the process, as stated by Best Psychology

Those Who Come After

Those born after the eldest, especially the youngest, can often be portrayed as privileged children, and in some ways this is true. They benefit from having parents who have already raised another child and get affection from not only two parents but also an elder sibling. They also have a tendency to learn quicker, as parents have improved their teaching strategies. As a result, they can often become tender or altruistic due to being disciplined less and having fewer responsibilities.

However, they also tend to feel as though they are left behind. With an older sibling who happens to get things done first, such as riding a bicycle or getting into a school sports team, they may feel like they must always try to catch up and feel neglected. In this way, they often tend to develop fun-loving, attention-seeking, and outgoing personalities that can catch the attention of those around them. They can even learn to become more manipulative or become self-centered so as to keep the attention on them.


Those born after the eldest, especially the youngest, can often be portrayed as privileged children. / Photo by: dolgachov via 123rf


Stuck in the Middle

The middle child exists in a limbo between the two, as they get to experience being both an older and a younger sibling. On one hand, they have someone to look up to and ask advice from, while on the other, they have a younger sibling who seeks help from them. They end up becoming great mediators and the most level-headed of the bunch as they must serve as a bridge between the older and younger children. They also tend to form unbiased opinions and become more sociable.

On the other hand, the middle child can often be the most neglected of the bunch. As one sibling is getting helped with a project by one parent, and the other parent is busy cleaning due to the baby making a mess in the house, the middle child may have a lack of attention. This is why some may end up becoming quite rebellious and competitive people. They feel the need to catch up with the elder while also keeping ahead of the younger. They also tend to have greater difficulty establishing their own unique identity.

Though the previous points may not apply to all people when it comes to their birth order, studies have been able to show that there is a great deal of truth in it. Of course, there will always be responsible younger siblings and eldest children who can be rebellious or attention-seeking, especially considering the countless factors that could go into forming one’s personality.

Perhaps some will have taken a closer look at their own habits and personalities and realized a thing or two about how birth order played a part.



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