What Does Your Birth Order Say About You?

By Education.com, DivineCaroline

Does birth order shape our personalities? Scientists the world over have spent countless words and oceans of ink debating the issue of nature versus nurture. But how your child develops might have as much to do with the order in which they were born, as it does with their genes or environment.

Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Freud and Jung, first put forth the idea, claiming that when a child is born deeply impacts their personality. According to Adler:

Eldest children are socially dominant, highly intellectual, and extremely conscientious. Unfortunately, they’re also less open to new ideas, and prone to perfectionism and people pleasing—the result of losing both parents’ undivided attention at an early age, and working throughout their lives to get it back.
Middle children, sandwiched between older and younger siblings, often develop a competitive nature, making them natural entrepreneurs later in life. They tend to be the most diplomatic and flexible members of the family and often, eager for parental praise, develop musical or academic gifts.

Youngest children, according to birth order theory, tend to be dependent and selfish—as they’re used to others providing for them. But despite the negatives, they’re also quite often the life of the party—fun, confident, and comfortable entertaining others.

And only children? Like last borns, they are regularly spoiled, according to Adler, and have a hard time when they don’t get their own way. School can be a particularly difficult transition, as they’re used to being the center of the familial universe. But all that parental focus pays off. Only children are often mature for their age. They wow people with their vocabularies and their comfort in adult circles. Plus, all that self-entertaining fosters creativity.

Adler’s theories have been debated for generations. Whether they’re scientifically sound or not much more than hogwash, muse about them as you raise your children. And regardless of when they were born, help each of your kids recognize what makes them unique and resist the urge to compare them to their siblings. That’s sure to make every member of your family thrive.

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Jo S.6 months ago

Thank you.

Dimitris Dallis
Dimitris Dallis2 years ago

Too general I believe, but there is a point...

Amandine S.
Past Member 2 years ago


Angela Ray
Angela Ray2 years ago

The world would be a much better place without middle children.

LMj Sunshine

Interesting generalities, thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Interesting generalities, thank you.

Joe R.
Joe R.3 years ago

A lot like reading my horoscope - pretty general.

Tahni W.3 years ago

I do not like how the only child gets the label of 'spoiled'. My experience was one of complete and utter loneliness and I had no one who understood or saw when I was abused. I have no one to compare childhood circumstances with, I had no one to understand or lend a hand when my alcoholic father was dying from his alcoholism.
That word means something only if it means 'treated poorly and almost ruined'. Or 'responsible for every emotion and psychotic rant of an abusive mom'. Or....'what it means to be a child and have two messed up adults dependent on you to care for them while also raising yourself'.
Spoiled indeed!

Ana F.
Ana F.3 years ago

I don't agree.

Matilda H.
Past Member 4 years ago

I don't think this is quite accurate, however, I agree that birth order can have an affect on personality.