Is your child a social butterfly or school scholar? You may be surprised to discover the answer may lay in their birth order. Whether you’re a first, middle, last born or only child goes a long way to explaining your personality. The key is in how parents treat their child because of their birth order.
Finding out about birth order can be an ‘Oh wow!’ experience for parents. Here’s a brief rundown of the personality traits to look for.
Firstborn (the school scholar): Parents tend to be by-the-book, very attentive and strict with firstborns. This, in turn, may cause the child to become a perfectionist – always striving to please their parents. Firstborns are diligent and are often reliable, conscientious, structured and controlling. Twins, only children and gap children (more than five years between their sibling) often act like firstborns.
Middle child (the peacemaker): The middle child often feels left out and has a sense of ‘Well, I’m not the oldest and I’m not the youngest, so who am I?’. This leads to middle children becoming social butterflies who are popular with their peers because their parents’ attention is usually focused on the firstborn or baby of the family. Middle children are often people pleasers yet somewhat rebellious and don’t like being told what to do.
Last born (the free spirit): The youngest tends to be the most free- spirited due to their parents’ increasingly laid-back attitude towards parenting. Last-born children are generally fun loving, outgoing and uncomplicated, yet somewhat manipulative and attention seeking.
So what if you’re a manipulative, self-centered last born? Don’t worry, psychologists agree that personality is not fixed and you can consciously make a choice to change parts of your personality you don’t like. If you’d like to read more, Dr. Kevin Leman is a psychologist who has studied birth order since 1967. His book The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are is very interesting.