A recent survey by YouGov gives a fascinating insight to a clear divide in personality traits amongst first and last borns in British families. ‘In short, it turns out to be true that the oldest child in a family feels a greater weight of responsibility, while the youngest child feels a higher level of breathing room.’
In fact, 54% of oldest siblings were move likely to think they are more responsible compared to 31% of youngest siblings.
On the flipside 46% of youngest siblings were more likely to think they are more funny, compared to 36% of oldest siblings.
So how does birth order come into play?
In this era of small, planned families birth-order theory is more relevant than ever. We are now witnessing the emergence of children with easily defined birth-order personalities. When families are small and the age gap between siblings is two years or less then competition for spaces in families is at its most fierce. Now more than ever birth-order theory adds a clearly defined, easily identifiable dimension to children’s personality development.
Does your eldest feel the weight of responsibility?
First borns are often more motivated to achieve than later borns. They go for jobs where determination, strong powers of concentration and discipline are valued. First borns are born into a pressured yet treasured position. They are the centre of attention, which is an obvious plus if you are a first-born child.
The flipside to this adulation is that first borns are coached, prodded and pushed to perform. The expectations are high for first borns, particularly first-born boys, so pressure is something they know all about.
Is your youngest the joker?
Youngest children in the family are typically charmers and manipulators. They love to get their own way - and they invariably do. They are in the fortunate position of having a sibling break their parents in for them and they don't have the pressures of the first born.
Youngest and middles are often the family jokesters as they need to find a way to be heard. For the youngest, that can often be the only way! Funny builds relationships and gets you your place. Creative, artistic pursuits are full of later or last borns, One of the traits many last borns share is persistence. They learn when they are young that if they persist with what they want they will outlast their siblings and wear their parents down eventually. Persistence is a characteristic that pays off for this group.
How does your family measure up?
The position a child in his family holds is a predictor only of personality, but a powerful predictor nonetheless. It is definitely a factor that parents need to consider as we look for ways to raise happy, well-adjusted and confident children.
So what happens when birth order theory doesn’t work? For all the answers, check out my Parentingideas Club article When birth order doesn’t work
Find more of my Parenting Gold in Parentingideas Club - become a member today and get expert advice whenever you need it!
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