How Children Are Affected by Their Birth Order

BIRTH ORDER, ONE OF THE MAJOR INFLUENCES IN A PERSON'S LIFE

The place a child occupies in the family constellation(oldest, middle, youngest, and only) oftentimes have a deep and unconscious impact on his/her life.
The place a child occupies in the family constellation(oldest, middle, youngest, and only) oftentimes have a deep and unconscious impact on his/her life.

OLDEST CHILDREN

Oldest children are pressured to be the responsible one in the family.They have the highest expectations placed on them.They are children the least, having to grow up faster than any birth order.
Oldest children are pressured to be the responsible one in the family.They have the highest expectations placed on them.They are children the least, having to grow up faster than any birth order.

MIDDLE CHILDREN

Middle children often occupy a quite nebulous position in the family.They are neither the oldest nor the youngest.Their position is somewhat in-between.They are oftentimes overlooked, left out and ignored by other family members.
Middle children often occupy a quite nebulous position in the family.They are neither the oldest nor the youngest.Their position is somewhat in-between.They are oftentimes overlooked, left out and ignored by other family members.

YOUNGEST CHILDREN

Youngest children are often indulged by their parents and older siblings.They are often attention seeking.They have the longest and stressfree childhoods and adolescence.
Youngest children are often indulged by their parents and older siblings.They are often attention seeking.They have the longest and stressfree childhoods and adolescence.

ONLY CHILDREN

Only children are the freest and most individualized of all birth orders.They also grow up in an adult environment which makes them highly mature and advanced.They are also highly individualistic, resourceful, and imaginative.
Only children are the freest and most individualized of all birth orders.They also grow up in an adult environment which makes them highly mature and advanced.They are also highly individualistic, resourceful, and imaginative.

Celebrated Oldest Children

Celebrated oldest children include the following: Oprah Winfrey
Celebrated oldest children include the following: Oprah Winfrey
Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart

Roles Children Assume Within the Family Constellation

This was not meant to be a hub. I was writing this piece to answer a question nevertheless, here is my hub. A child's place in the family constellation is one of the main determinants besides socioeconomic class and education which the type of person a child becomes. Birth order definitely influences children. Firstborn children were first the center of their parent's universe; however, another person arrived and he/she is dethroned. As a result of this, the firstborn later develop characteristics of overachievement, being a leader, and being a helper. As Teri Joseph in Soul Food said to the middle sister, Maxine, " I am the oldest, I am the responsible one!"

In small to medium sized families, the firstborn child assumes the role of leader and executive. In medium -large, large, and very large families, the firstborn child, especially if she is a girl, is assigned as in loco parentis or a surrogate parent. .These roles are usually forced upon firstborn children of large to very large families and as a result, the firstborn children begin to resent their parents and younger siblings. Such firstborn children begin to resent their leadership status, viewing it as onerous. This leads to many firstborns want to avoid leadership roles at all counts. Many firstborn daughters in large families resent and/or hate their mothers for placing them in such a predicament. Famous firstborns include James Franco, the late Helena Rubenstein, Hillary Clinton and William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, Penelope Cruz, Jane Fonda, Vanessa L. Williams, Juliet Mills, Mira Sorvino, Susan Sarandon, Kim Wayans, John Stamos, Luci Arnaz, Liza Minnelli, Marisa Berenson, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Joan Hart, Vanessa Redgrave, Patty Davis, Michael Douglas, and Victoria Principal.

The middle child is the least individualized child in the family constellation. He/she is always known as so-and-so's older sibling or as so-and-so's younger sibling. He/she is not known for himself/herself. As Jan Brady, the quintessential middle child laments, " It is always Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" In medium-sized families, the middle child is not usually overshadowed by his/her older and younger siblings and some parental attention to paid to him/her. However, in medium-large, large, and very large families, the middle child or some cases, middle children can be overlooked by their parents and overshadowed by their older and younger siblings. Many middle children have no sense of self and develop into non-entities, fading into the background because it is safer that way. However, quite a few middle children become very attention-seeking and vocal in order for them to be noticed and not to be overlooked. Famous middle children include the late Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, M'onique, the late Charles Bronson, the late Grace Kelly and her son, Prince Albert Grimaldi, Sarah Jessica Parker, the late John F. Kennedy, the late Richard Burton,the late Bob Guccione, Donald Trump, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Gabrielle Union, and the late Ronald Reagan.

The youngest child in the family is the baby. This is it, no more children. Parents usually baby their youngest child long after he/she can reasonably take care of himself/herself. In small to medium size families, the youngest child is not babied so much. However, in medium-large, large, and very large families, the youngest child is babied, pampered, and spoiled, not only by the parents but their older siblings. Youngest children in large and to very large families can be described as bratty and attention seeking. They often do not have the responsibilities that older siblings have and they often do get away with murder. Since their older siblings have taken center stage so to speak, youngest children either rebel and try new ground or they just coast along in life, believing since everyone in the family did this, they do not have to make an effort. Many times the youngest child in a family is bullied by older siblings who resent taking care of them and/or for the attention and adoration they receive from their parents. Famous youngest children include Mark Wahlberg, Janet Jackson, Ben Stiller, the late Marlene Dietrich,the late Anne Frank, Mel Brooks, Robert Clary, Tommy Davidson, Eddie Murphy, Goldie Hawn, Lana Wood, Barry Williams, John Travolta, Dr. Wayne Dyer, the lateTed Kennedy, Nicholas Turturro, and Kathy Griffin.

Yes, the only child. While the only child is the MOST maligned birth order, it is the most individualized of birth orders. Furthermore, the only child is the freest birth order in that the only child can develop his/her human potential to the utmost. The only child is not pigeonholed into rigid, familial roles as the firstborn, middle born, and youngest children are.

The only child has nothing to fear for when he/she is born, he/she broke the mold. The only child will never be dethroned and will always be the center of their parent's world. As a result of being surrounded by adults, the only child is very mature and adult-like from a young age. Also only children has an advanced vocabulary as a result of being around adults. Only children either feel comfortable in the company of adults and/or older children. Being with same aged peers and younger children are not the only child's cup of tea. Only children also are superconscientious, superambitious, and inordinately successful because of high parental expectations.

Only children are also the most independent and individualistic of all birth orders. Only children are quite comfortable being alone for long periods of time. Only children are the children who can contentedly play by themselves and they are highly creative and imaginative more so than children with siblings. Famous onlies include Charlize Theron, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Aniston, Robert DiNiro, Maria Riva, Betty White, Swoosie Kurtz, Cynthia Nixon, Kristine Davis, the late Margaret Truman, Chelsea Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, Rudolph Giuliani,the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Natalie Portman, Alicia Keyes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nancy Reagan, Judy Licht, former anchorperson, the late Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, Laura Bush, Megan Mullaly, Larry Hagman, the late Susan Pleshette, the late James Brown, Robin Williams, Jerry Lewis, Anthony Hopkins, the late Hedy Lamarr, the late Carroll O' Connor, and Melissa Rivers. In summary, a child's place within the family constellation is one of the most influential determinants in developing his/her present and future persona.

CELEBRATED MIDDLE CHILDREN

Celebrated middle children include the following:  Gabrielle Union
Celebrated middle children include the following: Gabrielle Union
Catherine Zeta Jones
Catherine Zeta Jones

CELEBRATED YOUNGEST CHILDREN

Celebrated youngest children include the following: Mark Wahlberg
Celebrated youngest children include the following: Mark Wahlberg
Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin

CELEBRATED ONLY CHILDREN

Celebrated only children include the following: Megan Mullaly
Celebrated only children include the following: Megan Mullaly
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly

© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 3 comments

Monisajda profile image

Monisajda 5 years ago from my heart

That was interesting. I somehow suspected that if I decided to add the third child to my family, my second would be somehow overshadowed. How does that play out when you have a large age gap between siblings? For example, if the second child is at least 5 years old when the third one arrives.


connecthedots profile image

connecthedots 5 years ago from U.S.A.

I have long felt the most desirable birth order is to be the youngest. In my experience, some people like being an only child and some hate it. Interesting generalizations, though.


J Jordaan 2 years ago

Hi there. And sorry that I'm 'that guy'. But your post is not accurate in the last child section specific. The last borns have a much higher chance of success that their siblings. Competition starts at a very young age and this can have dramatic effect on the career of last born. This is also relative. Education and parent over indulgence can backfire this opportunity.

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