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Characteristics typical to different positions in the family:

Updated on March 5, 2013

The children in the family may assume different roles, personalities and responsibilities in every home. The children may assume different positions in the family such as being the eldest, second, youngest, middle and the only child in the family.

Here are the observed characteristics, traits, features or attributes typical to various positions in the family:

(This may not be true for some families)

Only Child

  • Pampered and spoiled
  • May feel lacking in some abilities because of the presence of the adults around him
  • May exhibits selfishness
  • Most likely to be dependent on others and may decline to cooperate
  • May employ the “divide and conquer” stratagem to get own way
  • Will only please other when he only wants to
  • Creative
  • Have the persevering trait of the oldest, and the inadequacy of feelings and demands of the youngest

First Child

  • May become the only child for a period of time and used to be the center of attention
  • Believes that he should muster superiority over his siblings and being right and in control is often vital
  • May feel unloved and neglected the moment the second child is born
  • Will go all-out to keep or regain parent’s attention through obedience, it his will not work he will opt to misbehave

Second Child

  • Seldom has parents’ full attention
  • Often have a sibling ahead and who is more advanced
  • Always acts as if in a race and will try his best to catch up or overtake the eldest child
  • If first is good second may become bad
  • If first child becomes successful, he may feel unsure of self and with his abilities
  • May be a rebel and often doesn’t like position
  • May nurture a competent and responsible behavior, or otherwise (become very discouraged)
  • May feel squeezed if a third child is born; has the tendency to elevate down other siblings

Middle Child of Three

  • Have neither the rights enjoyed by the oldest nor privileges of the youngest; makes him feel that life is not fair.
  • May feel left out, unloved and squeezed
  • Has a feeling that he doesn’t belong to the family
  • Becomes discouraged and a “problem child,” or may promote self by pushing down other siblings
  • Can be adaptable and may learn to deal with both the eldest and youngest sibling

Youngest Child

  • May behave as if he is the only child in the family
  • Feels like everyone is bigger and more capable
  • Let others to do things, come out with decisions and take tasks
  • May feel weakest and the smallest and may not be taken seriously
  • Becomes bossy when it comes to getting service and own way
  • May feel inferior or becomes speeder to go past older siblings
  • Remains the baby of the family and may relegate others in services
  • If youngest of three often form an alliance with the oldest child


Parent education Leader’s Manual


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    • GeneralHowitzer profile image

      Gener Geminiano 6 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Well said there ma'm and thanks a lot for finding time to drop by...

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Since I have a large family, I see very complicated dynamics. Since most of the kids are middle chidren, they would form alliances that shifted as they grew. The youngest was doted on, but she was also pulled back in line by the others when she acted spoiled.