You’ve probably heard the stereotypes before: First-borns are high achievers, middle-borns are attention seekers, last-borns are needy, and only children are self-centered. Are all of these stereotypes true though? A majority of society says yes, and now to many people’s surprise, scientists are now saying yes too. Now that we know birth order does in fact affect one’s personality, the big question is: How is your birth order bettering your life circumstances and what do your birth order qualities say about you? Even more important, how is your birth order holding you back? We investigate the strengths and weaknesses of each type of child below:
First borns are known to be the “smartest” offspring, as they have had the most individual attention from parents before their siblings came along. Their intellect sometimes comes off to others as being “a know-it-all,” especially because they have the tendency to correct their younger siblings and friends. According to studies, their IQs are higher than their siblings and they often earn a higher annual salary later in life.
Natural leaders, first-borns are known to pursue careers as politicians, spokespersons, and managing directors— first-borns are wonderful public speakers. First-borns are also high-achievers and are known to dream big in life. Did you know that 21 of the first 23 astronauts to go into space were either first-borns or only children?
The downsides of being a first-born is the fact that they often do not “cut themselves slack” and are constantly afraid of failure. They are usually a type-A personality, where they are perfectionists and very organized. Additionally, first-borns can be incredibly stubborn and not open to new ideas, which may make them more unimaginative. Although they should know better than to break the rules, they often argue with their parents more, perhaps because more responsibility has been placed on them to take care of their younger siblings.
True to the popular stereotype that middle children constantly seek attention, it seems that this type of child tries his or her very best to stand out among their siblings. After all, they do not enjoy the prestige of the eldest child or the attention of the youngest child. Thus, they look to other resources for that feeling of specialness, such as friends. Consequently, they have more intimate friendships than their siblings.
Additionally, middle-borns are known to be excellent negotiators and mediators within the family, especially when their older sibling gets in a fight with a parent. Constant differing of their needs to their other siblings makes them adopt a more “go with the flow” and selfless sort of attitude in life. Furthermore, they avoid conflict if possible, and when there is conflict within the family, they tend to blame themselves.
Do you think that middle children really do earn the same amount of attention as their other siblings? If so, you may want to think again. According to a study by Thebabywebsite.com, a third of parents with three children admitted to giving their middle child the least attention. Yikes.
Because they vie for parents’ attention, middle children are known to be far more competitive, where they constantly compare themselves to their brothers and sisters. As a result, they tend to be successful entrepreneurs later in life.
Last-borns are predominantly extroverts, which comes as no surprise since they are entertainers. In other words, they are the life of the party and the star in the spotlight! They have great people-skills, and make friends the most easily when compared to their older siblings. When it comes to personality tests, they score higher in the “agreeableness” category. Many actors and comedians are babies of the family.
Last-borns are also known for their adventurous spirit, which may explain why
they get bored quickly and are more likely to take risks. According to studies, they are more likely to take physical risks, where they will play contact sports like football more often than their other male siblings. They also learn physical skills earlier, such as walking, because they have older siblings to imitate and play with.
Some of the negative aspects of being the baby in the family include the fact that they are often very dependent on others and are used to “getting their own way,” which leads to poor compromising skills. To those around them this may be mistaken for “selfishness.”
Last-borns also tend to be less responsible than their older siblings because they often grow up with less chores and responsibilities in the home. Additionally they may gain a feeling of hopelessness where “nothing I do matters,” because they cannot amount to the achievement attained by their older siblings. The youngest children often put themselves under high expectations to be as equally successful or more successful than their elder siblings. Finally, last-borns are sometimes resented by their other siblings, as they enjoy privileges at earlier ages. For example, last-born females often get their ears pierced earlier than their older female siblings.
Only children have some extremely admirable personality characteristics. They are often more mature than their fellow peers, and excel in school and sports. This success is most likely due to the constant individualized attention they receive at home. Additionally, they are extremely organized and dependable. When you want a job done correctly, ask an only child!
Although only children can be very social, they often have trouble when interacting with others because they are known to be extremely sensitive, where their feelings are easily hurt. Furthermore, they are not used to the criticism that they may receive from others since their parents often give them positive reinforcement at home.
Accustomed to individualized attention, this may be why only children have a difficult transition when it comes to attending school; they are not used to sharing attention with others.
Only children are more likely to be involved in more extracurricular activities than those children who are not the only child in a family. It is probable that only children’s parents have more resources to spend on just one child and do not have to divide their resources among several children, which means that they can usually spend more money enrolling the child in activities. Only children often excel at multiple activities because their parents have more time to help them improve their skills during off hours.
The downside of being an only child is the fact that parents place high expectations on their sole child, which causes the child a lot of stress. Only children can sometimes adopt the mentality that their parents’ love is dependent on their success.
So what do you think? Does your birth order description apply to you? Leave me a comment below!