Birth Order Says About Your Personality

December 2, 2022

5 min read

Introduction

Traditional wisdom says our birth order shapes our behaviour and personality. Although siblings share the same gene from the same gene pool, not everyone’s nature and character are the same. So, where do these behavioural differences and personality traits come from?

This blog will delve deep into the different aspects of birth order and how it influences personality and parenting.

What is Birth Order?

As the term suggests, birth order means the order in which we are born in our family, i.e., firstborn, second-born, last-born, or only child.

  • The birth order of the firstborn kid in a family would be the oldest/eldest child.
  • The birth order of the second or middle child or children (when there are multiple middle kids) would be a middle kid(s).
  • The last-born child is called the youngest in the family.
  • And if there is only one child in a family, they would be called the only one.

How does birth order affect personality?

Various genetic, social, cultural, and environmental factors mould our qualities and personality. However, some researchers believe – birth order is also a predominant factor here.

Alfred Adler, a renowned Austrian psychotherapist, introduced the birth order theory in the 20th Century. He suggested that the order in which our birth takes place profoundly impacts our personality, life choices, and outcomes.

Besides Alder, many other psychologists believed that the key to understanding personality differences among siblings lies somewhere in the birth position. Kevin Leman, PhD, the author of The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are, is one of them.

In most families, parents somewhat happen to treat and relate to children differently, depending on their birth order, says Meri Wallace, an experienced child and family therapist. As a result, some personality markers may become integral to the traits of the oldest, second or middle, youngest, and only kid.

Recent assertions about the birth order theory indicate that earlier-born kids score higher than the later-borns on the intelligence scale. However, no well-built explanation shows any link with personality. Nonetheless, the concept of birth order-induced personality traits and differences among siblings continue to be a matter of debate in pop psychology.

How can birth order be used to improve parenting?

How does understanding the birth order play make us better parents? Let’s find out!

How can birth order be used to improve parenting?

 

  • Birth order helps us evolve as parents.

Sarah Smelser, LPC, a family and marriage counsellor, opines one of the best ways to understand how birth order affects parenting is to comprehend relational interactions between family members.

Picture this: We brought our firstborn home. Our anxiety level and expectations were high then. From checking for diaper leaks to sanitizing the toys and pacifiers, we went the extra mile to ensure everything fell in place for the baby. Right? And over time, we became more comfortable with attending to our child. It also reduced our anxiety while adding stability to our routine.

And then, by the time we conceive for the second time, we will become more relaxed and knowledgeable about child care. We may not get paranoid about germs and may not sanitize things now and then. So, this is how our parenting patterns are likely to evolve with birth order.

  • It helps us support our child’s individuality.

When we know the birth order game well, it will support us to tend to every child based on their individuality. Here are some examples:

The eldest

The eldest one in the family is likely to feel more stress living up to our expectations. They may often feel like a babysitter, too. So, we should not force them into something. Instead, we should look for the signs of pressure and help them feel at ease. Convince them, tell them stories about their childhood, and that they have the same level of care and love as their siblings.

The middle

We should make it a point that our middle one believes we are treating every child of ours fairly. Second-borns tend to feel excluded. Make sure that the second one feels included in the family. Spend some extra time, do some secret talks, and praise them for their accomplishments. Moreover, always take pictures of the middle child. They must not feel that our photo albums are flooded with the photos of the eldest and the youngest.

The Youngest

We happen to pamper our youngest kid a little more than others. However, we should not do that as it can make them dependent on us. And such kids are more likely to become lazy and lack self-confidence and discipline. Involve them in doing chores and taking responsibility. Also, keep an eye on how other kids in the family treat the smallest kid.

The only one

Always remember! Not having siblings can make it difficult for such kids to learn to interact and share. So, we should plan playdates for them and devote as much time as possible so that they do not feel lonely. Do check if they are becoming overly critical or purists. Shell out efforts to manage their expectations.

What makes your birth order unique?

Refer to the table below to learn more about children’s personality traits, depending on their birth order (according to Adlerian theory)!

 

Common

Personality 

Traits

Birth Order

Eldest

Middle

Youngest

Only

Reliable

Peacemaker

Outgoing

Mature

Cautious

Adaptable

Risk-taker

Independent

Structured

Dreamer

Charming

Confident

Controlling

Social butterfly

Dependent

Sensitive

Leaders

Generous

Easy-going

Loyal

Conclusion

Although birth order plays a crucial role in understanding a child’s personality and behaviours, other factors, such as gender, age differences, family size, and a child’s individuality, are also critical. Reach out to the expert psychologists at United We Care if you need more information on personality-related concerns and questions.

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