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Birth Order Character Traits

by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff


 
The environment that a child is raised in plays a big part in how their personality will
develop. Consequently many child will exhibit different character traits and characteristics depending on their birth order or if they are an only child. Of course birth order doesn't guarantee that your first child will have all or even any of the traits typically associated with a first child; but birth order tends to accentuate character traits that your child already possesses. Of course if there are large gaps between your children or you have one boy in a family of girls you might have overlapping birth order characteristics. My brother was the third child but the only boy and he exhibits many of the same first-born traits that I have.

Here is a table showing some of the birth order character traits, both bad and good, associated with first, middle, last-born, and only children.


First Middle Last Only
Natural Leader Flexible Risk-taker Close to parents
High Achiever Easy-going Outgoing Self-control
Organized Social Creative Leader
On-time Peacemakers Self-centered Mature
Know-it-all Independent Financially irresponsible Dependable
Bossy Secretive Competitive Demanding
Responsible May feel life is unfair Bored easily Unforgiving
Adult-pleaser Strong negotiator Likes to be pampered Private
Obeys the rules Generous Sense of humor Sensitive

First-born children desire control and they will typically become a compliant nurturer or a more aggressive mover and shaker. Either way parents need to remember not to demand too much of their oldest child. Make sure your child knows your expectations, because they are constantly trying to seek parental approval. Both my son and I exhibit typical first-born birth order character traits. He is consumed with following the rules and is a high achiever. He can also be bossy. I often have to remind him that his sisters are younger than him and cannot be expected to do all that he can or is asked to do.

The middle child will demonstrate the greatest variety of character traits, but they will usually be opposite of their older sibling. They will try to be unique, so help them recognize their own talents. Don't compare your middle-child to their older sibling. Middle children often feel stuck in the middle so take time to listen. I find sometimes that my middle daughter gets the least attention. She isn't involved in as many things as her brother and definitely doesn't demand attention like her little sister, so I have to take the time to recognize her. Letting your child make family decisions, like where to eat dinner or what movie to watch, will help empower them and make them feel special.

Youngest children are usually very different from their older siblings. They tend to be more social and funny. They don't have as much responsibility and are more carefree. They are also often driven to catch up with their older siblings and follow in their footsteps. It is important that parents still enforce the rules when their youngest comes along. It is easy to just let things slide, but once it starts it is hard to stop. Parents often baby their youngest child because they are the last one. But it is important to teach responsibility, you don't want your youngest child feeling like they can't or not knowing how to do anything for himself. You also need to applaud their accomplishments, true your older children have already learned how to ride a bike but for your youngest it is a new thing.

Only children have traits similar to oldest children but usually to a greater degree. Only children need to be given plenty of opportunities to socialize with children their own age. Although only children are often mature beyond their age do not burden your child with adult information, remember they are still a child. As with first-born children don't expect too much. Only children tend to push themselves demanding self-perfection, remind your child that you only expect their best and it's okay to make mistakes.

With each child come different challenges and issues that a parent must face. Being aware of birth order characteristics may help you understand your child better and recognize why they possess some of the character traits that they exhibit.

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