Effects of Birth Order on Personality

Many studies have taken place in order to discover the relationship between birth order and relationship dynamics within the family. Such studies can also show information which is predictive of how an individual will fair when it comes to career prospects , the ability to earn money and personality in later life. It’s thought that people, while being shaped by many things from genetics to their environment, also develop a certain way due to their ordinal birth position, otherwise referred to as birth order.

# First born children

First born children are logical and confident. They are used to being innovative and like to be the centre of attention. Firstborns are more likely to suffer from feelings of sibling rivalry, as they were the first to be special in their family, and find it hard to accept another baby being born who suddenly gets a lot of the attention they were once able to keep to themselves.

Dominant first born children are characterized as being leaders, who are prone to academic achievement, compared to younger siblings. They can be perfectionists who become stressed if things aren’t just so. More pressure is put on them from parents and grandparents to perform and do well.

# Second born / middle-children

Second born children are more dreamy and creative. They have good imaginations and may end up with a career in the world of music, or art. They don’t always understand why their first born sibling can achieve more than them, as they don’t recognise that age difference can be attributed to their older siblings superior abilities. This can lead to them judging themselves harshly and feeling inferior Because of this they often choose to be proficient in areas their older sibling doesn’t excel in.

Second born children tend to be better emotionally adjusted and form good relationships. They stand up for the underdog, and recognise injustice quickly.

Middle born children can often feel left out when it comes to the attention their siblings get. They don’t get special attention for being born first, or benefit from being the last born.

# Last born children

Last born children are the most socially adaptable. They are likely to enjoy working in teams and joining groups, and have high self esteem. They are far less likely to have to deal with sibling rivalry, as their arrival doesn’t rock the boat. They tend to be independent and private, and may be perceived as being self concerned.

Last borns learn that persistence pays off, and can carry this forward as a positive trait into later life.

# An only child

An only child also doesn’t have sibling rivalry as a problem, and gains more attention than children who have to share. As they spend more time communicating with adults, they’re also more likely to have a great vocabulary and good communication skills in general. On the other hand, they’re more likely to find it difficult to form relationships, and end up having help for psychological disorders.

# Parental birth order

Interestingly, parents birth order can affect how they relate to their children, as they’re likely to feel empathy with the child who is born in the same order as they were.

It’s important to consider variables outside of birth order which can affect the results of studies which give the world it’s information. Some birth order findings have been criticized, as families who have more children have also been in a low income bracket, and their social status may have had a bearing on results. However, plenty of other studies support similar findings, despite the socio economic status of study groups.

It would seem that individual personalities are formed due to birth order, as well as other aspects people already attribute to formation. Whether a person is an academic perfectionist, a creative dreamer or a great communicator may have more to do with where they fall in position in their family than was once considered.