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Birth Order Gives Insight

Innumerable studies have shown us that birth order affects our children’s personalities and character traits. There have been many reputable books written that document and prove that the sibling position in the family makes a huge difference in the make-up of a child. Their birth order even affects us into adulthood!

Before I give you some of the most obvious traits for each position, let me also say that these are general and will vary according to many factors in each family. The closer that each sibling is born, the less distinct the differences. The further apart the stronger the traits will be seen.


It’s also possible to have two distinct combinations within one family. For example; A family may have two or three children that are close in years. Several years after the youngest child they may have another set of kids and this creates another birth order separate from the first set of siblings.


It is the changing home environment that determines the differences. Each child is being brought home to a different dynamic. The only child suddenly becomes the big sister or brother. The attention he had to himself is now being shared with an unknown newcomer!


The baby of a family is moved up (or down!) to being the middle child and finds himself being required to share toys and attention. Just being forced to share mom’s lap is a tough change to accept!


It is also very normal for parents to become more relaxed in their parenting style as the years pass. The stuffy nose of the third born child elicits a dramatically differing response from the first stuffy nose of the first-born! Parents learn that babies are not as fragile as first believed.  So the family structure and essence develops and changes with each new addition.


It is interesting and helpful to see the birth order traits in your family because it may help you understand how they see themselves. If you are able to know why your child is jealous or clingy it will give you more confidence in walking them through the experience.


Here are some of the traits and characteristics that the researches have discovered to be common among children according to the order of birth.


Only Child

•    Confident
•    Enjoys center of attention
•    Has difficulty sharing
•    Enjoys privacy and quiet
•    Can be demanding

First Born

•    Natural leadership
•    Organized
•    High achiever
•    Bossy

Second Born

•    Competitive
•    Can be rebellious
•    Seeks different talents from siblings

Third Born or Middle Born

•    Easy going
•    Peacemaker
•    Kind and generous
•    Artistic

Baby of Family

•    Expects service
•    Creative
•    Risk taker
•    Easily bored
•    Has good sense of humor