The birth order of each child in a family is outside of their control, but it will influence who they become.  Their personalities, the direction of their lives, and even the spouses that they choose, will all be set by their birth order. 

A first born child will be confident and controlling.  The middle child is usually restless, and often referred to as “typical middle child.”  The “baby of the family” often remains the baby for his or her entire life.   

Does birth order really matter?  Yes, because it may determine how each child feels about his or her parents when they grow old. It also matters how well all of the children get along when they are making decisions for their aging parents.  

Birth Order Does Matter 

Siblings are never the same because parents are different with each of their children, and children never take the same role. One child often becomes the caretaker, and another child will choose another role maybe as the academic or the athlete.  

We Are Different Parents with Each Child 

The oldest child grows up under a parent’s microscope, with every new step they take, from birth until adulthood.  The second child has to learn how to survive under the dominating older brother or sister who has never learned to share. The child that is caught in the middle is often dominated by the firstborn, because he or she is wiser and more competent.  By the time the baby of the family arrives, parents are usually worn down or worn out, and less likely to micro-manage this new little person.  

The parent has also figured out that the new baby is not going break, and they can be more flexible with their attention and discipline. As a result, the baby learns early on how to manipulate and entertain his parents.  

While the eldest child is programmed for excellence and achievement, the middle child is raised to be understanding and conciliatory, and the baby seeks all of the attention. As a result, birth order is a powerful variable while any personality is unfolding.  

The Firstborn Child: The Achiever 

The eldest child will probably have more in common with other firstborns than their own brothers and sisters. Because they have had so much control and attention from their inexperienced parents, they become responsible, reliable, well-behaved, careful and similar versions of their parents. 

The first born children are high achievers, dominating, and often perfectionists who drive every one crazy.  They often assume leadership roles in law careers or in medicine, and many even become CEO’s. Because the first born has learned parental skills, they try to dominate their younger brothers and sisters. They often have a sense of loss when the second baby is born, because their special place of authority is threatened.   All of the attention that was exclusively placed on them the first born child, is now shared with this new baby, and everything changes. 

The Middle Child: The Peacemaker 

The middle child, will probably be the most understanding, cooperative and flexible, yet also competitive. He or she will be concerned with fairness, and will be the opposite of the oldest and youngest child. The middle child, will most likely find a close group of friends to represent their extended family because they seek attention which they do not get from their family. The middle child is often slower to find his or her life’s work, but they often hold positions of power, because they have become masters at negotiating, which allows them the attention that they seek. The middle child will never excel in the same area as the older sibling, but their amazing social skills will help them negotiate and navigate through many family issues. Many middle children become entrepreneurs because they have mastered many of life’s skills while they were growing up.  

The Youngest Child:  Life of the Party 

When the baby arrives, the parents are now seasoned and confident with their parenting skills.  They are more lenient and not necessarily paying attention to their every move or accomplishment as they did with the older children.  The baby learns quickly how to manipulate and fascinate the parents because no one wants them to grow up. The youngest child always has been given more freedom than the other children in the family and they tend to be more independent. The youngest child often has a lot in common with the oldest child in the family because they both have been made to feel special. The baby is more outgoing and willing to try new things.  They are also more sentimental and forgiving than their older siblings. The youngest child often has influence over the entire family because everyone supports the “baby” both emotionally and physically.  

It probably won't surprise you that the youngest children often select careers in the entertainment industry as actors, comedians, authors, or directors. They also make good doctors and teachers. Because their parents were more laid back and lenient, the youngest child will expect more freedom to follow his or her own path in a more creative way. The “baby” in the family usually does not have the same expectations of responsibility that are placed on his or her older siblings.  

The Only Child 

Children who grow up as an only child were surrounded by adults, and they become more verbal and often more mature than other children their age.  They are often more intelligent and excel more than children who have grown up with siblings. The only child is often resourceful, creative, independent, and confident. The only child also actually has a lot in common with the first born children and the youngest in a family. 

Research on Parenting  

I have been fascinated over the years while assisting adult children with their aging parents, in how the children either come together or begin to argue with each other at every turn.   

For some time I have been researching birth order, because I wanted to understand why many adult children have strong feelings about how to care for their aging parents.  When the adult children are forced to work together it can either be cooperative or a complete disaster.   

It appears that the parents have a great deal of influence in the early years of child development in how their children will work together harmoniously. This is important information for parents, because they must create an environment that is positive, safe, healthy and stimulating when their children are born. 

They also must understand each of their children’s personalities and temperaments as they grow into adulthood.  The parents should organize the child’s activities and educational opportunities to help them experience their fullest potential.  They also must take time to understand that a first-born child feels highly responsible and they must lighten their load.  They must also recognize that the baby of the family is experiencing a more lenient environment and they must be more diligent in their discipline. Please don’t forget the middle child, because they also have a need to find their own place in the family to excel and not be forgotten. 

Well-adjusted children become well-adjusted adults. As children they were allowed to find their destiny, no matter what their birth order may have been, and their parents  supported them to be unique and special individuals on their journey of life.