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Birth Order Personality Traits: Can You Relate?
Birth Order Theory
Birth order can be explained as the order in which children are born into a family (first child, second child etc.).
It has long been theorized that the birth order of children can lay the ground work for psychological development and other meaningful lifetime experiences.
Alfred Adler (1870-1937)
Adler believed that birth order influenced an individuals personality in such a way that family relationships, work ethics, and love relationships were in turn affected.
Adler who was a "middle" child himself believed that we are all born inferior and look for acceptance from our loved ones. He coined this theory as and believed that this theory of searching for superiority was one of the driving motivations of human beings. striving for superiority
Psychology and the Child: Birth Order
The First Child
According to Adler, eldest children are socially dominant, very intelligent, reliable, ambitious and cautious. They tend to be born natural leaders. First born children are given their parents undivided attention, love, and presence from day one.
However, first born children are less likely to be open to new things, ideas and people. They are prone to be perfectionists and are almost always people pleasers. They constantly seek approval from their loved ones and strive for excellence at every turn.
Famous First Borns:
- Bill & Hillary Clinton
- Oprah Winfrey
- J.K. Rowling
- Clint Eastwood
- Bill Cosby
First Born Facts
- More than 50% of all Nobel Prize winners have been first born children
- More than 50% of all U.S. Presidents have been first born children
- A large part of Harvard and Yale graduates are first born children
Some things a first born may say:
- "I never get away with anything."
- "Everyone always depends on me."
- "I never got to be a kid."
- "Why do I have to do everything?"
The Middle Child
Since parents are often more easy-going and less demanding with second and third children, the "middle" child seems to have it easier. The parents are passed the don't touch this, don't do that, and have a more go with the flow type attitude towards parenting.
As a result, many middle children end up with a more relaxed attitude towards life than their older siblings.
Characteristics of the middle child include a competitive nature (rightfully so, they are competing for mom and dads attention form day one). With their creative nature middle children also have the tendency to become the entrepreneurs of the family.
Often coming up with grand ideas that set them apart from the crowd. They tend to be the most diplomatic, flexible and seek parental praise the whole way. They also tend to be natural negotiators and develop closer relationships with family and friends then their siblings.
Some things the middle child may say....
- "Nobody understands me."
- "Nobody ever listens to me."
- "My older sister/brother gets to do everything."
- "My younger siblings never get in trouble."
Famous Middle Children
- David Lettermen
- Princess Diana
- Barbra Walters
- Sarah Palin
The Youngest Child
By the time the youngest child rolls around mom and dad have travelled the road of "firsts" many times (the first word, the first steps, the first day of school etc.). Not to say that each time a child embarks on a "first" it's not special, it's just that the youngest child tends to get the "shaft" in this area.
The youngest child brings to mind the term "send in the clowns". Reason being is the youngest of the family tends to be fun, charming, confident, and the life of the party.
However the youngest child tends to be the rebellious, rule breaking, dependant, selfish and manipulative child of the family. They are often persistent to a fault and want things their way or no way (turning on the charm is easy for these children). They also tend to be the most financially irresponsible as they age.
Famous Youngest Children "Babies"
- Jim Carey
- Billy Crystal
- Goldie Hawn
- Rosie Odonnel
- Cameron Diaz
The Only Child
Multiply the oldest child by the youngest child and you have the only child.
They tend to be spoiled from birth and have a hard time when they don't get their way. Transitioning into school can be difficult for them since they are usually the center of the family. Only children tend to be mature for their age (as they socialize with their adult counterparts), their vocabularies are well above average and they find comfort in "hanging out with adults". They also tend to entertain themselves quite well.
Only children are confident, responsible, encouraging, and articulate on many levels.
However, this does not always work to their advantage as being "thrust" into the world can sometimes be a dramatic transition like many transitions for the only child.
Do you find you share any of these birth order characteristics?
Of course there are exceptions....
It's important to note that there will always be exceptions to the "rules".
Birth order theory is just that a theory. A combination of studies over a long period of time that yielded similar results.
as the oldest child in the family I can honestly say relate in more ways then one to the oldest child theory. However on a side note there are 6 years between my younger brother and I so I was also an "only" child for many years as well. I would categorize myself as a mix between the oldest child and an only child.
What about you?
Can you relate?
©Rebecca Fiskaali-Fordin 2012
All Text Rights Reserved
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