Does Birth Order Influence Your Child’s Personality? Here’s What The Experts Say

There are many stereotypes linked to one’s birth order.

The oldest is known as the mature responsible one. The youngest gets the reputation as the “wild-child.” And the middle child is often forgotten about completely or known as the level-headed peacemaker.

But is there any truth to these stereotypes? Experts have studied this topic extensively, and the results just might surprise you.

When it comes to birth order, many experts who study this topic do find truth in the typical stereotypes.

But what exactly are they saying?

When it comes to the oldest, the leader stereotype holds true.

Parents reported:

“Because firstborns follow their parents’ lead, they like taking charge and have oodles of confidence, says Kevin Leman, PhD, author of The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are (Revell).

They don’t have older siblings to make fun of them when they learn to tie their shoes or ride a bike. Adults take them seriously, and that boosts their confidence. When parents gush over every firstborn “first,” it motivates oldest children to achieve.”

While the oldest may lean towards perfectionistic tendencies, be careful not to put too much pressure on them, by always depending on them.

Forcing them to watch their younger siblings every weekend or having them take on a parenting role are not healthy ways to increase their responsibilities.

In fact, the opposite may happen, and your oldest may grow to resent you and choose to rebel.

Middle children are tough to gauge because they can really go either way. And according to Dr. Frank Sulloway, this is exactly what to expect.

Parents continued:

“In the eyes of the middle child, oldest siblings reap all the privileges and the babies get away with everything, so middles learn to negotiate to get what they want. “Middle-borns are the most willing to wheel and deal,” Sulloway says.

They are agreeable, diplomatic, and compromising, and they handle disappointment well. They have realistic expectations, are the least likely to be spoiled, and they tend to be the most independent. Because they often feel left out, they tend to gravitate toward friends outside the family.”

In a family unit, it’s easy to favor the first and spoil the last. But don’t forget about the middle child!

Often trapped between two worlds, many middle children can struggle to find their identities.

As for the youngest, the baby of the family is normally the one who reaps the most privilege as mom and dad have finally relaxed and got the hang of this whole parenting thing.

In fact, the oldest often claims the youngest gets away with everything.

But do they?

Parents continued:

“Lastborns usually do get away with more than their siblings do, says Leman. They shoulder less responsibility, so they tend to be more carefree, easygoing, fun-loving, affectionate, and sociable, and they like to make people laugh.”

Just see if your youngest assumes the role of class clown someday.

But being the youngest isn’t all roses. Because lastborns view their older siblings as bigger, faster, and smarter, they may attempt to differentiate themselves by being more rebellious, says Sulloway.

Leman, himself the family baby, agrees with this statement: “Lastborns have an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude.” And if older siblings baby the baby, lastborns might be spoiled and manipulative.”

While there may be some truth in personality traits due to birth order, don’t let these stereotypes box in your children.

Allow them to be who they are.

If the youngest ends up being the bookworm, and the oldest has a sillier demeanor, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you struggle to understand why your children have certain tendencies, their birth order really can play a role!

Do you agree birth order influences a child’s personality?

Based on your birth order, do you find the stereotypes listed above to be true?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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