Surprising Ways Birth Order Shapes a Person's Behavior
Sat, April 17, 2021

Surprising Ways Birth Order Shapes a Person's Behavior

Studies have found that birth order affects the behavior of children, from the youngest, middle, and oldest child / Photo by: Brocreative via Shutterstock

 

Studies have found that birth order affects the behavior of children, from the youngest, middle, and oldest child. According to Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist and author of the 1967 book titled, "Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are," the secret to personality differences among children and individuals can be traced back to birth order and how parents treat their kids because of it. In this way, according to Leman, "you can bet your paycheck that your firstborn and second born are going to be different.” Meri Wallace, family therapist for over 20 years and author of “Birth Order Blues (Owl Books),” sharef that this is related to how parents interact with their child with unique challenges specific to their spot and position.

 

Firstborns

According to a survey of more than 5,747 respondents, the TypeFinder Personality Test (based on the Myers and Briggs’ typology) found that firstborns tend to like taking the lead; they are the most natural leaders, diligent, conscientious, structured, and achievers. As the oldest in the brood, they will have responsibilities that translate into leadership skills even at an early age. Parents also tend to invest more time in firstborns and expect them to grow as good examples for their younger siblings. Firstborns were found to exhibit thinking and judging personalities. The survey also revealed that 19.5% more firstborns were ESTJs, or extraverted, sensing, thinking, and judging than if birth order and personalities were unrelated. For INTJ, or introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging, it’s 17.5% in firstborns. The least likely behavioral traits and personalities exhibited by firstborns were feeling and perceiving. A free-wheeling perceiver personality would be difficult to emerge given the parents’ complete attention on firstborns.

According to Entrepreneur, an American magazine and website that carries news stories about entrepreneurship, small business management, and business, more than half of US presidents were firstborns, as were famous world political leaders such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Benito Mussolini, and Angela Merkel. Top CEOs are also firstborns including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson. Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and every actor who’s played James Bond or who have chosen to portray macho roles in movies are all firstborns.

The theory with firstborns is that they are the “first draft” in childhood parenting. Parents tend to show more protection, nurturing, attention, as well as strict guidelines on firstborns. This can oftentimes be gleaned in family photo albums where there are disproportionately more pictures of the eldest child compared to their siblings. Firstborns are also given a lot of responsibility at home, are quick to take charge, and can impact stress negatively.

As the oldest in the brood, they will have responsibilities that translate into leadership skills even at an early age. Parents also tend to invest more time in firstborns and expect them to grow as good examples for their younger siblings / Photo by: Brendan Delany via Shutterstock

 

Middle Children

Middle children tend to be relationship-oriented, agreeable, open-minded, free-thinking, and rebellious. They are often more social, empathetic, and the peacemakers. However, they also have a strong sense of neglect and unbelonging. Studies suggest that middle children do not receive as much attention as their firstborn counterparts. They never had the parents all to themselves like firstborns and also did not receive the same amount of attention as the youngest, so they are eager to please and impress as a result. They are also easygoing and have amazing negotiating skills. 

Middle children, according to the survey matched mostly as an ISFP or introverted, sensing, feeling, and perceiving personality types, with 41.67% of respondents likely to be a middle child. ESFP or the extroverted version and ISFJ or introverted, sensing, feeling, and judging were among the other behavioral traits close behind. Truity, a website for free personality tests, shared that middle children are 6.93% more likely to be a Feeler and 7.23% less likely to be a Thinker. 

Middle children were once the baby of the family until they were dethroned by the younger sibling. For the reason that middle children were sandwiched between parent’s attention devoted to the firstborn and the baby of the family, middle children are very likely to be extroverted, relying on bonds outside family compared to the eldest and youngest and are more inclined to take risks. Famous figures who were middle children were Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle children are able to lead through cooperativeness, negotiation, and peacemaking, qualities suited for CEOs such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They are also good interviewers such as David Letterman.

 

Youngest Children

The youngest child tends to be the most free-spirited, not the strongest or the smartest in the room so they develop their own way to win attention. The youngest are outgoing, social, natural charmers, adventurous, and more open to unconventional experiences. ESFPs and ESTPs are 22.22% and 14.29% more likely to be younger children, according to Truity. But being the youngest also had the least impact on individual personality traits. 

Leman shared that the youngest are least likely to be disciplined, more likely to play team sports like football and soccer versus their older siblings who go for individual activities like track and tennis. A UC Berkeley study suggested that youngest siblings are 1.5 times more likely to participate in high-risk sports. 

The youngest tend to live in the shadow of their older siblings, with comparisons that make their life unfair. Their personalities are suited for creative vocations, as evidenced in celebrities Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, and Billy Crystal.

While the youngest, middle, and eldest children each have their unique personality traits, this is all still dependent and influenced by family structure, cultural nuances, and are never completely the same in any two families, Certain traits may manifest similar to other families, but there are many other traits different and unique to each one’s experiences. These traits may help you learn more about yourself and how you interact with your siblings and the society in general.

The youngest child tends to be the most free-spirited, not the strongest or the smartest in the room so they develop their own way to win attention / Photo by: DenisProduction.com via Shutterstock