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by Lori Herren May 13, 2021 5 min read

Oldest child, middle child, youngest child or baby of the family, you can be assured whatever “order” in which you were born, you’ve heard lots of stereotypes applied to you for that very reason. Is there a correlation between your personality traits and the order in which you were born? Is the youngest always the most spoiled? Is the oldest always the most responsible and loyal? There are certainly some experts that see a pattern in our birth order and how it can shape who we are. Each of us, no matter what order in which we were born, have our own personality, quirks, gifts, strengths, and challenges. It’s an interesting topic to investigate. Read ahead and see if you see some of yourself in the birth order investigation.

 

First Born

A lot of expectation and importance is always placed on the first born child. Whether male or female, it takes a strong person to “break in” your parents as they try and figure out their roles and responsibilities as Mom and Dad. It’s overwhelming and quite eye opening to become a parent for the first time. One thing is certain: parents aren’t perfect and they will most assuredly make mistakes. Since so many eyes and expectations fall on the first born, let’s take a look at the personality traits and strengths often assigned to the first child to enter the family.

  • Stays close and remains close to their parents
  • Always striving to do well at everything
  • Structured rule follower, responsible
  • Very careful and cautious, not one to get into trouble often
  • High achiever
  • Loyal and reliable
  • Likes to be in charge, controlling
  • Have a tendency to score higher on IQ tests, get higher grades than siblings

 

Firstborns do have so many great personality traits, but do face struggles and challenges, just like everyone else. Some typical first born challenges can be:

  • Set in their ways, resistant to change, happy in their comfort zone
  • Often the overachiever, first born have a great fear of failure and never feel quite good enough
  • Put very high expectations on themselves and rarely give themselves a break
  • Naturally given more responsibility at home which causes them to take charge in other areas, putting pressure on themselves to be perfect

 

Middle Child

The middle child, the one who usually gets the most flack in the birth order chain, is another interesting look into the influence of birth order. Research has a lot to say about the personality traits and strengths of the middle child:

  • Often seen as the “people pleaser”, which can come from attention spread between them, an older and younger sibling
  •  Seen as “the social one” thriving on their friendships and part of a large social circle
  • Can, at times, be rebellious 
  • Always finding a way to make peace and bring peace
  • Strongest negotiator and one most likely to compromise in the family
  • Finds themself trying to answer the question, “who am i?”
  • Find their identity and strongest bonds more among their friends 
  • More agreeable and easy going than the older and younger siblings

 

Those who find themselves the middle child also have challenges and struggles. Some of those include:

  • Don’t get as much attention as the older and younger siblings
  • Sometimes feel left out, not as important as the other children
  • Feel like they need to turn to outside sources for the attention they need

 

Youngest Child

The youngest, the baby, the spoiled one, the favorite, however you refer to the youngest or are classified in your role as the youngest, there are some advantages to being the baby, or last of the kids! Some strengths and personality strengths of being the youngest are:

  • Free spirited and fun loving, adventurous
  • Outgoing and charming personality
  • Goes the extra mile for attention
  • Super focused on self and accomplishing personal goals
  • More likely to take more physical risks, play dangerous sports
  • Have a tendency to get away with more than their older siblings

 

The youngest do have fun but they also face challenges, some of which can be:

  • Some find themselves being manipulative in certain areas
  • Self-centered
  • Not taken seriously because of being the youngest
  • Least disciplined of the family
  • Sometime experience feelings of being unimportant and overlooked

 

Only Child

We’ve covered birth order in families where there are multiple siblings, but we’ve yet to cover a family dynamic with interesting characteristics of its own: the only child. Statistics show that from 1976 until 2015 the number of families with only one child doubled, from 11 to 22%. New data coming out from the Census shows that one child families are the fastest growing type of family here in the United States. Those that are an only child have strong personality traits and strengths, some of which are:

  • Perfectionist and hard worker
  • More mature for their age
  • Diligent and careful thinker
  • Headstrong and courageous, independent 
  • Good at planning and executing tasks
  • Like to think outside the box

 

As well as only children are at finding their successes, being the only child does have it’s challenges and drawbacks. Some of those are:

  • Being self-focused and self centered
  • Harder time at sharing and group activities
  • Social skills are harder to achieve within one’s own age group

 

Family

No matter where you fall in birth order: first, last, middle, or only child, you are unique, the only one of “you” around and important in your own right. You might have agreed with some of these traits, disagreed with others, or happy to point out the traits of your siblings as you read the article. It is interesting to see some of the parts that create, weave and build us as people and as families. Embracing our differences and similarities, is what makes us one big happy (most of the time) family. So tell your family you appreciate them today!

 

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Sources:

https://www.parents.com/baby/development/social/birth-order-and-personality/

https://www.channel3000.com/the-rise-of-the-only-child-whats-behind-the-rising-number-of-single-child-families/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-birth-order-affect-personality/

https://www.truity.com/blog/birth-order-and-personality-study

 

Lori Herren
Lori Herren

Lori D. Herren is a graduate of the University of West Georgia where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications for Broadcast Journalism and Public Relations, with minors in Marketing and Music. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and pursuing her love of music.


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