I recently read an article in Parents magazine. The article, by Marisa Cohen, was titled “Predict Your Baby’s Future” (Parents, September 2011). The article talked about the different “hints” that can give parents a glimpse of what their infant’s personality might be later in life. The one that I found interesting was the role of birth order.
What The Article Said
According to Cohen’s article a part of our personality is influenced by when we are born in relation to our siblings. First borns are more likely to be leaders and have higher IQs than their younger siblings (with each younger sibling having a lower IQ than the sibling before them). It is believed that the reason for this is that the oldest child gets to spend more one-on-one time with their parents.
The youngest child is often more outgoing because they learn right from the start that they often have to do more to get their parent’s attention. These traits often lead these kids to be class clowns.
It seems that the middle child takes over the roll of peace keeper. They feel that they can earn their parent’s approval by being the one to help their older and younger siblings get along.
Only children are influenced by the amount of time that they spend with adults. Due to this they often end up being more reliable and mature. It has also been found that the lack of siblings does not hurt their social skills.
As soon as I finished reading the information I started thinking about whether or not the information seemed true for the people that I knew. My brother and I seem to fit the mold. My younger brother is smart, but learning and retaining information has always come easier to me. My brother is also far more outgoing than me. I’m more quiet and shy. Also a trend I’ve noticed in my extended family is that the oldest child is usually more responsible with money because they usually are the saver while the younger child is the spender.
I couldn’t think of a person who really fits the role of the peace keeping middle child. Personally I think that the amount of time that the middle child spent being the youngest child may have something to do with it. If they are the youngest for a long time having that role taken away from them could cause more animosity between the younger two siblings than peace keeping.
That got me thinking about how the age gap between the siblings played a part. If the oldest is only the oldest for a year, will the little bit of one-on-one time that they get still cause them to have a higher IQ? For that matter how to changing roles effect the child? My husband was born a youngest (as all younger siblings do), a few years later became a middle child, and then a few years later was adopted and became the oldest child. What effect would that have on his personality as far as birth order goes?
I feel in some ways birth order can have an effect on some people, but I personally don’t feel that it has the same effect on everyone. I hope that’s true because who wants to think that every child they have will have a lower IQ than the child before them? If that were the case we’d start feeling like we were setting our younger children up for disaster at birth!
Do you think birth order plays a role on someone’s personality?