Kids (4-12)

10 Ways that Birth Order Affects Your Children

My sister was the adorable one; she was the baby.  I was the peacemaker—the middle child.  What about your children? Your oldest child probably is more driven, responsible and mature.  And, yes, your “baby” is likely more extroverted, funny and cute.  Well, even though you can’t change the birth order of your kids (or yourself!), it’s still good to know the ways birth order affects your children.

1. The Eldest Overview

First born children are a bit like crash test dummies. Parents are learning with every experience. The baby comes into this world and Mom and Dad both look at each other and say, “What do we do now?” Natural instinct takes over. However, there is certainly a steep learning curve when it comes to raising your oldest child.

2. The Eldest – Natural Leaders

According to author and renowned psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman, first born children are often high achievers, organized and detail-oriented. He states they are natural leaders because more was expected from them. In turn, they expect more from themselves. “They’re the movers and shakers of life and they lead everything from the PTA to the U.S. Presidency.”

3. The Middle Overview

“Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.” The most famous example of the perils of being the middle child. Everything always seems to be about somebody else. At times, they can feel like the odd man out in the family.  They are constantly trying to live up to the eldest’s legacy and dealing with the magic charm of the youngest. This usually makes for a mentally strong human being later in life…or someone who is insecure.

4. The Middle – Entrepreneurs

Dr. Leman claims that middle children have the best psychological chance to become entrepreneurs along the lines of Bill Gates, Donald Trump or Steve Forbes. They are good listeners, negotiators and people-pleasers. He also states, “They are the most loyal friend on the face of the earth.”

5. The Youngest Overview

They can’t lose position in life. The youngest child is the last and reaps the rewards of that. Moms especially hold on to their youngest as long as they can. The baby of the family almost always has the unique ability to get away with just about anything. There is a prevailing attitude in the family that wishes to protect the youngest at all costs – even when it’s not rational. The baby learns that lesson early and applies it well. The most laid-back folks on earth are usually last-born kids.

6. The Youngest – Always The Star

In Dr. Leman’s analysis, last born children are usually happy people. They are likely to end up as entertainers, in just the family, or as their chosen career. Famous examples are Ellen DeGeneres, Eddie Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg. They are the least likely to wind up as President of the United States. The youngest child is usually very outgoing, manipulative and very good with people.

7. The Only Child

In a special class is the only child. Minus any sibling rivalry, the only child gains the benefits of both the eldest as well as the youngest. This, of course, can be a great thing or a curse. For instance, the solo child tends to lean towards a self-centered existence. And is spoiled at times. However, they also mature much faster and are generally special achievers.

8. The Only Child – a Superhero

Dr. Leman states that, “Only children are super first borns.  They’re little adults by age seven.” They are sensitive and their feelings can be hurt very easily. In many cases, they do not get along well with children of their own age. They prefer older classmates or even adults as friends. “The only child has a great chance of being extremely successful.” Famous examples include: Albert Einstein, Lance Armstrong and Elvis Presley.

9. Twins

The mysterious children. Twins, especially identical, usually have a very deep connection with their sibling.  They feel each other’s emotions and thoughts as if they were their own. In most cases, twins never lose a close relationship throughout life. For this reason, twins are often times very well-adjusted adults. They have a deep sense of security that stems from being born with a soul-mate intact. Quite a gift!

10. The Other Side of the Coin

Despite the truth of all the research and facts regarding birth order, they are not the only factors at play. Many aspects go into the development of a child’s personality and the adult they will eventually become. Gender. Age gaps. Race. Social status. Religious beliefs. Married parents. Divorced parents. Many, many things. Suffice it to say, human beings cannot be pigeonholed into set molds. We are all created with our own unique gifts and purposes.


Related Resource: 5 Ways to Turn Sibling Rivalry into Sibling Revelry


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