Birth Order

birth order


Have you ever had problems socializing with others? Do you act differently with several groups of people? Ever felt needy of other people’s approval? Almost all of the time, we blame ourselves for these undesirable traits, because we believe that our choices made us that way. In reality, some of these choices are not actually made by us; instead they are passed on to us the day we were born.

Birth order is defined as the rank in which a person is born relative to his/her siblings. Birth order is believed to have a profound effect in the psychological development of a person. Often, we could hear people say things like, “middle children are attention-seekers” or something like “last born children are always stubborn and spoiled”. These statements are often stereotypes and may even be insulting, but we cannot deny that they hold some truth.

Alfred Adler was the first theorist to suggest that birth order does influence a person’s personality. Even though the theory received much controversy and dispute, most of the theorists agreed that birth order does often affect the individual’s style of life, how he deals with friendship, love and how he copes with problems. Some modern theorists also observed that some birth order traits can last an entire lifetime.

The theory of birth order influencing a person’s personality is not yet proven scientifically up to this date. There are numerous published materials stating that birth order does dictate the role a child takes in the family. However, recent studies indicate that while birth order does influence certain aspects of personality, these aspects are usually those that are not considered to be enduring or permanent. And since most people do not spend most of their lives at their childhood home, effects are not life-long.

Here are some of the typical characteristics that can be identified with each group.

First Child

  • Usually the most dominant and superior among the siblings
  • May develop a sense of responsibility over others
  • May be discouraged at times due to pressure
  • Is often very competent

Second Child

  • Inferior compared to first child
  • Often seeks to differ from the first child
  • May get rebellious
  • Tries to compete with the first child

Last Child

  • No sense of responsibility
  • Develops sense of inferiority over other siblings
  • May take up speed and become better than siblings

Only Child

  • Almost definitely spoiled and pampered
  • Self-centered
  • Likes to do things his way

Middle Child of Three

  • Usually has “Middle Child Syndrome”
  • Feels unloved and left out
  • Does not get enough attention
  • Seeks approval

14 thoughts on “Birth Order

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  2. The first child faces the dilemma of managing their angry, hurt feelings when the 2nd child arrives but nobody mentally prepared the 1st child to lovingly accept the newbie and worse, the 1st child looses all the attention and love that was always theirs. The 1st kid knows that it’s parents are to blame for this sudden painful change in the kid’s life but, if the 1st kid loves, respects and is well bonded with it’s parents, the 1st can not or dares not confront and complain to the beloved parents so the 1st may decide to direct it’s anger and humiliation towards an easier and safer target – the new baby! Once the 1st makes this decision, it conveniently forgets that it’s own parents set up the conflict and begins an attack on the hated, menacing 2nd kid. As time goes by, the 2nd kid begins to defend itself and they both unwittingly see each other as enemies from then on – all due to INADEQUATE PARENTING!

  3. I am a the middle child of 5 . I grew up on a farm and had a good upbringing with my family. I did struggle though with feeling left out and not getting the attention that my other siblings had. I have 2 older sisters and a younger brother who Im close in age with and then a younger sister. I ended up leaving home at 16 to make a life for myself. My parents didn’t contact me very often so I felt lonely .They haven’t been there for me in times of hardship. I d never been an outgoing type of person so found it hard to make friends. I eventually met a lovely man whom I married and had a family with. That helped take away the loneliness away. I have 5 children now. I still struggle with my family though, I still get left out of things, they hardly ever contact me or visit. Ive tried my hardest to be part of the family by visiting when I can , calling them etc. I did go through a period a few years ago where I felt like cutting them off altogether. I feel like I’m in visible to them. The youngest gets spoiled, they visit her often and stay with her for 2-3 weeks at a time , she lives a 3 hour flight away in another country. For some reason they are always to busy to visit me and the kids. I live too far away, yet Im only 1 1/2 hours drive. The only way I can handle this feeling of loneliness and rejection is to let it go, other wise it justs eats me up, and I suffer depression. I don’t want to be like that as I have my own kids to bring up. I want to give them the love that I feel I missed out on. Its not easy but Im going do my hardest to make sure they all feel loved and that Im their for them.

  4. I have five children. The girls are 21 and 6 yrs old. The boys are 15, 12, and 10. 12 is the typical middle child. Low self esteem, jealous of 15, but is the smartest( all of them are highly intelligent, but he and the girls have a slight edge). I call him the double middle child. 10 acts like the baby of the family, even 6 bosses him around. 21 is the typical oldest and doesn’t want children because she had to take care of the others. She’s like a second mom to them and she’s stricter than I am. Yes, my husband and I loss energy after the 4th child. So the older children are upset that we don’t discipline 10 and 6 as much. 15 has the most confusing position because 21 has been away at school for four years and his younger siblings don’t respect him as the “oldest.” 12 feels that 15 is weak and will step in as needed. But 15 gets offended and will start an argument. 12 does not back down, but will walk away if things get too heated.
    I’ve always been interested in birth order…I have a younger sister by four years and I was like a second mother.
    I was very concerned about my double middle child. I spent the least amount of time with him when he younger and I decided to find something that we have in common to do together. To my surprise, he enjoys cooking. And he’s good at it! So we spend alot of kitchen time together. I truly enjoy him ( like I said before the kid is really smart.) For a long time, 15 was my favorite because he was the first born son. (You know, the whole mother-son connection.) I spent the most time with him when he was a baby. You would think that I spent the most time with 21, but I worked when she was young. She was jealous of the boys for a while. 10 is the most spoiled, but very laid back and mild mannered like 15. 6 is a sweet ball of fire like her fierce older sister. Both are very generous and beautiful ( if I may say so). I love them all dearly and I can’t wait to see what they will be like in ten years.

  5. As a middle child we don’t need their attention for not having their attention is the attention they give us. We should not feel neglect, even when we do, just learn to let it go, just let it go. That was the intention of their attention. We became independent quickly as we grow, stand out from the crowd , we are the center of attention. That’s why some of them dislike us and envious. Learn from on ours own mistake. For mistake can be corrected for without mistake, how els can we learn and change ours way of habit in life style.

  6. I have two older brothers and a younger sister.

    We enjoy our life, they enjoy the better life as a child/
    teen/adult/even now they have it easy, kinda not so much now, but with the love of the parent. They have it all. And they want what you have. They don’t like what you have or accomplish.
    They can’t have it all, not in this world you can t, can not have two things, that would make three.
    and speaking of three I am the third one. They don’t want the three, skip to the fourth. 1 2 4.0
    If your parent are good to you, well that’s great!
    I agree with The theory of middle child, evidently.

  7. I am a middle child. Im 15, and i do think the youngest does get spoiled and the oldest does get a lot of attention. But obviously they are like that for reason. Iv done a lot of research on birth order for an information speech i have to do. And what i have learned is that being middle child has just as many opportunities as being oldest or youngest. We are very good in romantic situations, and we can almost make anyone fall with our charm. There shouldn’t be a thing called middle child syndrome. Doing that is just making another way for us to complain about how we dont get enough attention. If we want attention we should fight for it. There is no need to sit here and diss out siblings. They should get to enjoy there life just as we should get to.

  8. Everyone with or without a sibling, no matter what his/her birth order is…has, as my eldest would say, “issues.” The middle child gets plenty of attention in my household, whether she is present or not. I know the same goes for my younger (middle) brother. Parents love their children the best they know how. We need to stop labeling — for our children’s sakes. They can google quicker than we can and pride themselves for being able to add one more excuse for whatever their current syndrome is to the list. (First born parent of three)

    1. I would have to disagree with you. Although in some housholds like yours middle children get more attention, in many they do not. And judging by the fact you are the eldest, i dont expect you to understand. Im not saying you have to agree with every birth order trait (personally I agree with all of the ones on this page) please understand this is not labeling. Rather, it is just stating the obvious.

      As i said before you being he oldest makes a large difference. i am a m

  9. I don’t think that the youngest is going to be better and that shouldn’t say that, its going to make people feel mad. Even my older sister didn’t like that. Just because the youngest avoided everything the other siblings did wrong (which means she/he doesn’t even get to go throw the BS in life) doesn’t make them better. If anything their spoiled and know that they could get away with anything so they do dumber shit then what me and my sister have done. Like my younger does, weed, smokes, drinks, sneaks out most of the time(which is dumb because my parents are always saying she can go) and cries when she doesn’t get what she wants. My ex best friend was the youngest but she herself would yell at me when ever I didn’t do what she wanted me to, she was like that with everyone. I know that their not all like that because my other friend is the youngest and shes really nice and isn’t spoiled no one in her family is. So they should really change that about the youngest being the better one.

  10. I am a 28 year old male born between two other males of 30 and 22 years old. Since I was born in the middle, then technically I would be a middle child but because of the difference in age between me and my younger brother, would my personality actually be more like a younger child or would it be more like a middle child?

    1. I would guess younger, but I would like to ask how well do you get along with your younger brother? I would also guess that you have a great relationship with your older brother and may even admire him a great deal.

  11. My parents did not legally name me until I was eight years old. I was named after the holiday on which I was born. Middle child, two older brothers, two younger sisters.

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