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The Order in Which Children Are Born Determines Who They Become as Adults

Updated on April 23, 2019

Babies Are More Fun

Who gets more attention
Who gets more attention

Oldest, Youngest or Middle child

It is a pretty well known fact that the youngest child in a family often gets spoiled, gets babied, or possibly does not have as much work or responsibilities as the other kids in a family. Often this is because the mother knows that this will be the last one and doesn't want to let go of her baby. This tends to bring jealousy and strife between siblings and can even lead to abuse of the tike.

The oldest on the other hand, seems to get a lot more responsibilities, for it is very easy to ask them to help you out with chores, watching their younger siblings, and often times get a rather harsh upbringing, for the new parents haven't had a chance to try out different styles of discipline or do not know yet the tricks of the trade so to speak.

The oldest child often times feels like they have lost part of their childhood, or have been made to grow up too fast, for they get buried in the things that parents feel they are old enough to do, and get left out of the baby play the youngest gets to thrive on for a much longer period of time.

The middle child has neither of these, for they are not the oldest, and the novelty of a new baby the first child gets isn't there. The middle child is second hand news, to put it in a not very pleasant manner. They very often get a lot of hand me downs to wear, are looked over when it is time to look for someone to take the parents place, babysitting for example. They often feel like they are not special in any way, for the first born is all about almost grown up, and the baby is showered with attention for being so cute. The middle child will often feel neglected, left out of the parents time and attention. Very more often then not they will look for attention and if it is not forthcoming, will act out looking for any kind of attention even if it is bad attention.

The youngest child sometimes is so babied and showered with attention that he or she never quite grows up and learns to take on any kind of responsibility, and will sometimes be the clown in the class in school, for laughing and joking and being noticed comes so easily and they feel comfortable in this light. At the same time the oldest will very often be too serious, won't take time to have fun and will grow up to be the adult who always makes sure everything is taken care of instead of just goofing off and having fun.

Unfortunately, the middle child of the family is not careful to pay attention equally to all, will continue with his need to be noticed, feel that he is not worth as much having self esteem problems, and can become used to bad attention. As they get older, it is them that will often feel depressed, and will quite often feel the need to self medicate, make friends with others who also feel the same way. They might spend a lot of time associating with these friends instead of thinking about his future, and a career. If this follows him into adulthood, he might grow up to be a person who doesn't think twice about taking chances, might break the law without much thought, and has control issues on into his adult relationships, demanding the attention he missed as a child.

Also, being the first born son has it's responsibilities, whether or not you are the first to be born. If the baby of the family is a first born son, this affects the happy go lucky spirit turning the child more toward being what his father expects him to be, and having to live up to the expectations of perhaps taking on the family business, or becoming a mirror image of his father.

All of these things and many more determines how we look at ourselves, and how others in our family look at us and expect us to be. The expectations, or the lack of them can have serious effects on our personalities and who we become both mentally and emotionally. These expectations will cause behavioral changes for children will almost always do the things that are going to make our parents proud of us.

As much as we might not realize it, the order in which we are born into a family can very much form the character and personality we have into adulthood, and for the rest of our lives.


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  • gmwilliams profile image

    Grace Marguerite Williams 

    8 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

    To ddsurfsca: Great hub. However, you omitted the only child. The only child is the most individualized and most independent of all birth orders. Only children will never be dethroned which affects their self-confidence. Studies show that only children are the most confident of all children as they have their parents' undivided attention. Furthermore, only children are allowed to reach their utmost in human potential as they are not pigeonholed in rigid familial roles as children with siblings are. I should know about this because I am an only child and love it!

    Enough about me. I believe that your description, sypnosis, and analysis of the birth order scenario is a centillion percent accurate. This hub describes my mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and colleagues to a "t".

    I worked with a woman who is the youngest of five children. She was spoiled, selfish, and was very conceited, deeming herself a princess. I instinctively hated her and once brought her to tears, telling her exactly what I taught of her. She did the least work of my unit while I did the most.

    She had dreams of being a fashion designer; however, she never achieved them and remained a clerk after 30 years although she graduated from FIT. I, on the other hand, advanced into a very high position making in the high five figures before I retired. Only children are often superconscientious and superresponsible in addition to being superachievers. Only children are also matter of fact and do not suffer fools gladly. My being punctuous and superdiligent is probably why my supervisors used to give me extra and difficult assignments. Contrary to stereotypes, only children are not spoiled and selfish at all. We onlies just have a high and individualized sense of self and we know what we want out of life and are not afraid to obtain it! Anyone who tells me that only children are spoiled and selfish is likely to get a brisk rebuff or worse, a punch in the nose! Great hub, I loved it!

  • Joy56 profile image


    8 years ago

    I am a middle child, i have lots of hang ups about it, but i went on to spoil my middle child.... he seems o.k. though.... I am actually looking for your poems, i came here off the forums and got distratcted here. I am loving your work

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    8 years ago from Oxnard

    The problem is not with the number of children, but with the parents realizing and changing the problems. I was the oldest, and lost half of my childhood due to the responsibilities dumped on me, but my mother who was an only child also had a boatload of problems due to being an only child too. She never learned to share, was extremely self centered, and never wanted to do her part of the chores, even as an adult. As a matter of fact, all us kids were sure that the only reason she had kids was to have someone to do her work for her. I am not sure there is an absolute answer to any of it, but to be aware of the possibilities. It is the responsibility of all parents to be aware and educate themselves of these problems and then do their best to avoid the traps that are so easily hidden and easy to fall into.

  • gmwilliams profile image

    Grace Marguerite Williams 

    8 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

    I know, read my hubs as "gmwilliams". My mother was the oldest of ten children-she was thrust with responsiblities at a young life. As soon as she could, she left home for boarding school and never returned. As a result, the third oldest, my aunt, was left as surrogate parent to her siblings. She too left home, got pregnant early, and led a miserable life. She became a bitter women who hated her life. Contrast this with my youngest aunt. She had a life of privilege and comfort. The other sisters resented her and called her a spoiled brat. There is much covert jealously within the family. My mother hated being the oldest and my next eldest aunt hated her birth order. As I stated in my hubpage, many people in large families hate it. This makes me glad that I am an only child. I am so lucky.

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    9 years ago from Oxnard

    There is a formula to figure out who is taking what position is the case of more than three kids, for example if your first child is a boy, then when you have a girl you have another first born, first born girl, and all of the same rules apply to this child.

    Paradise7, do not get mad at me for saying this, but all babies of the family deny being spoiled

  • Paradise7 profile image


    9 years ago from Upstate New York

    I was the baby. NONE of us were spoiled! (Maybe that's a GOOD thing, in the long run?)

  • Missi Darnell profile image

    Missi Darnell 

    9 years ago from Southern California

    Well maybe because I have 5 we differ, except for the baby of course. He's babied by us all. Especially three older sisters. The other kids actually accuse me of being partial to my middle child. I try to be fair with them all. But yep, the baby is the baby and probably always will be.

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 

    9 years ago from Florence, South Carolina




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