How birth order affects your personality and behaviour

by Staff writer

Whether you’re the first-born, middle child, last-born, or only child, birth order can have a big effect on your personality and behavior.

Though nothing in life is perfectly formulaic, but understanding simple basics can provide you with clues about why you think, feel and respond the way you do.

A great part of you is learned and so often this is based on the way your parents and siblings interacted with you when you were still just a kid.

Here are a few insights about firstborns, middle-borns and last-borns you may want to know:

1. Firstborns

If you are a firstborn, you were the family guinea pig for parenting techniques. This means that at the same time you were growing up, you were teaching your parents what being a parent is really like.

This could explain why firstborns sometimes act like mini-adults.

Firstborns are well-organized list makers and leaders with lots of practice. Of course, at multiple times, they were held responsible for their siblings.

Firstborns take life seriously, feeling the pressure to always be better and do better. They crave details and are often very critical of themselves and others.

Little wonder many of them end up becoming stiff perfectionists.

Firstborns are diligent and easily excel at winning the hearts of their elders.

As the leader of the pack, firstborns often tend to be:

  1. Reliable
  2. Conscientious
  3. Structured
  4. Cautious
  5. Controlling
  6. Achievers

2. Middleborns

If you are a middleborn, chances are you took one look at the star above you and decided, No way can I compete with that.

So you went your way in the opposite direction.

Stuck in the middle, you learned how to negotiate peace between warring siblings. Since you were least likely to be noticed missing, is it any surprise you focused on friends and are very loyal?

Middleborns are great diplomats. They avoid conflict. They’re independent and secretive. They don’t often share feelings and are even surprised when others pay too much attention to them.

This attitude can also sometimes turn the other way round and develop into a raging rebellion.

“The middle child often feels left out and a sense of, ‘Well, I’m not the oldest. I’m not the youngest. Who am I?‘” says therapist Meri Wallace.

This sort of hierarchical struggle leads middle children to make their mark among their peers, since parental attention is usually devoted to the beloved firstborn or the baby of the family.

In general, middle children tend to possess the following characteristics:

  1. People-pleasers
  2. Somewhat rebellious
  3. Thrives on friendships
  4. Has large social circle
  5. Peacemaker

3. Lastborns

If you are a lastborn, you grew up as the apple of your parents’ eye. You manipulated siblings into doing your work, but they also used you to get what they wanted from your parents. Who could say no to you? You are the entertainer. Your life catchphrase is, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

Lastborns are people-oriented and can sell anything. They’re affectionate, engaging and act impulsively. They love to be the center of attention, and “Surprise” is their middle name.

Youngest children tend to be the most free-spirited due to their parents’ increasingly laissez-faire attitude towards parenting the second (or third, or fourth, or fifth…) time around.

As the baby of the family, lastborns often tend to be:

  1. Fun-loving
  2. Uncomplicated
  3. Manipulative
  4. Outgoing
  5. Attention-seeker
  6. Self-centered

4. Only Children

Being the only child is a unique position in a family. Without any siblings to compete with, the only child monopolizes his parents’ attention and resources, not just for a short period of time like a firstborn, but forever. In effect, this makes an only child something like a “super-firstborn”: only children have the privilege (and the burden) of having all their parents’ support and expectations on their shoulders.

Take firstborn qualities and supercharge them, and you’ve got the only child!

Thus, only children tend to be:

  1. Mature for their age
  2. Perfectionists
  3. Conscientious
  4. Diligent
  5. Leaders

Tell us in your comments which order you are and the qualities listed that you find true…

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One Comment on “How birth order affects your personality and behaviour”

  1. I am the first born and the characteristics above leaves nothing out in describing my personality.

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