Have you ever compared yourself to your brothers and sisters and thought, “Why am I not successful like Tom?” “If only I was as good in school like Laura.”
Well, it looks as though you can now lighten up on yourself because as it turns out, it’s not your fault you are the way you are. It’s actually your siblings’ fault! Well, sorta.
Although there are many factors that go into the shaping of a personality, studies show that who you turn out to be is a direct result of the order that you were born in your family; your birth order. Psychologists have been studying (and fighting about) this subject for centuries and many believe that your birth order has a profound effect on your psychological development.
Want to find out who you really are? Hang on to your chair because we’re about to dive into (the good and the bad of) your psyche!
Out of Their Mouths: “Why do I always have to do that?” “Let me do it. I do it the right way.”
Strengths: Children born first in their families seem to have it all together—like they’ve really got it going on. Since they were the only child at first, Mom and Dad usually spent huge amounts of time with them, reading to them, explaining things, playing with them.
It’s believed that this early onset nurturing and undivided attention may be what propels firstborns to be overachievers. They are more likely to be conventionally successful, hold leadership positions, have higher IQs and generally have more education than their siblings.
They grow up around adults instead of surrounded by siblings, so they tend to be like mini adults themselves: conscientious and reliable, as well as responsible and protective.
Firstborns also display a lot of confidence and are extremely achievement-oriented. Interestingly, more than half of the U.S. presidents have been firstborns.
Challenges: The perfectionist, do-gooder side of firstborns may cause them to never cut themselves any slack. They tend to stress more about being perfect and dread making mistakes, which causes them to hesitate to jump into new situations. When they do try something new, they’re usually very cautious.
They’re given a whole lot of responsibility at home, which can make them bossy and inflexible. Firstborns are quick to take charge but can be pretty controlling. They’re used to being right and receiving praise and often have trouble admitting when they’re wrong.
Stress and pressure runs high in these kids because parents hold them to higher standards. They’re often compared to adults and can be expected to be role models for younger children; a position that they often find burdensome.
Famous Firstborns: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Middleton, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone
Out of Their Mouths: “No one ever listens to me.” “Why do you always pay attention to baby Michelle?” “It’s not fair.”
Strengths: Middleborns are typically easy going and “go with the flow” types. They don’t have the automatic rights of a firstborn so they learn early on how to compromise and negotiate in order to get what they need.
Mid-kids also are the most independent of all children, have the most realistic life expectations, and are the least likely to be spoiled. They’re often the “forgotten children” so they have higher tendencies to have strong friendships outside the family.
They’re normally quite successful socially as they have a lot of friends. They are more nurturing and show great concern for others. Because parents normally concentrate on the eldest and youngest, mid-kids often seek approval from their siblings or peers, instead of from their parents.
Challenges: Most mid-kids feel like their needs and wants are ignored because they’re not the “trailblazing” firstborns or the babies of the family. As a result, they can develop a silent animosity or feelings of resentment toward their older and younger siblings.
They can feel that they are not valued and need to fight for everything they want. This can often cause mid-kids to become rebellious and obsessed with fairness. They’re usually left out, which leaves them feeling like they didn’t get enough attention and that they’re not special. This can cause them to be secretive and do radical things to get the attention they so crave.
In order to set themselves apart from their overachieving firstborn siblings, they will go to extremes to become the complete opposites. They often think that life is unfair and can be very competitive.
Famous Middle Children: Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Martin Luther King Jr., Princess Diana, Abraham Lincoln, Julia Roberts
Out of Their Mouths: “No one ever takes me seriously.” “Where are my baby pictures?” “Let’s go sky diving!”
Strengths: Lastborns typically aren’t the smartest or keenest in the room, but what they lack in smarts, they make up for in personality! They’re known to be charismatic, witty, and natural charmers who seek the limelight. Many comedians and actors are well known lastborns!
They’re incredibly fun to be around, have ranked high on the “agreeableness” scale, and are exciting adventurers. They aren’t required by parents to be as responsible, so lastborns are known to to take risks (studies show that they’re the most likely to participate in dangerous sports).
Because their parents have already been around the block and usually give them a lot of room, lastborns become laid back and unaffected. Their tolerance for risk and adventure makes them great entrepreneurs and they are usually self employed.
Challenges: Lastborns often believe that nothing that they do matters or is important. They can’t compete with the achievements of their older siblings because their parents have seen it all and often react with disinterest. This causes last borns to feel that they are never taken seriously and are always climbing an uphill battle.
Parents are most lax with these kids and, as a result, most lastborns have trouble following rules and can seem scattered, irresponsible, and careless. They also can appear to be self-centered and narcissistic and often will manipulate to get what they need, feeling that it can never be earned.
Lastborns can act out out of rebellion if they perceive their other siblings as bigger, faster, and stronger than they are. This may throw them into competitive fury and cause them to feel the need to prove their worth.
Famous Last Borns: Eddie Murphy, Rosie O’Donnell, Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey
Strengths: Known as “super firstborns,” only children typically mirror the traits of firstborns because they too share a parent’s undivided attention…but they exhibit these traits to the highest degrees.
They are expected to act like adults (mostly because they’re around them the most) and are described as mature, diligent, precocious perfectionists. They’re great leaders and aspire to be model human beings who are always trying to impress their parents and others. These kids are great self-entertainers and the most creative of all birth orders.
Challenges: Onlies tend to be perfectionists who are burdened with high parental expectations. They expect a lot from others, hate to be criticized, and can get quite upset when they feel undervalued or when things don’t go their way. Because they never had to share (their parents’ attention or their toys), these kids can develop a self-centered streak.
Famous Only Children: Alicia Keys, Tiger Woods, Natalie Portman, Rudy Giuliani