Each child is born with a distinct and different personality. But did you know that the order in which a child is born can also influence your child’s personality? Here is a bit of information on birth order so you know what to expect of your child’s personality.
The idea of birth order influencing personality comes from Alfred Adler, who was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud. Adler observed that the family unit was a social group in which each person held differing positions of power. A child’s search for identity, power and attention was influenced by their positions as compared to their siblings. Adler suggested that all children are born into a “different” family, depending on their order of birth. As they strive for superiority between their siblings, they struggle to find attention and affection from their parents. These are some of the major aspects of family life that influences the personality of a child.
Adler suggests that there are four main types of birth order personalities: first born, second born, only children and youngest born. The personalities that you can expect from each birth order type is as follows:
•First borns. These children usually have one of the strongest personalities. This may be due in part to the parents having a strong “script” that they hope the oldest child will follow. Usually the oldest child receives the strongest discipline and participates in the activities that the parents want the child to participate in. Since first borns are usually expected to help out with the younger children, they are often very responsible and reliable. First borns may feel uncomfortable when they are not the one running things.
•Second borns. These children may behave in a manner directly opposite from the first borns. The reason for this is that they see the competition with the first born and instead of competing with them they simply decide to be different. They strive for attention by being naughty, artistic, or people oriented instead of responsible and reliable. They often put people first.
•Youngest borns. As the youngest, they are often disciplined less harshly and babied for many years. They may be encouraged not to grow up, since their parents don’t want to see their baby leave the nest. Youngest borns may also be creative, artistic and fun loving. They are not driven to encourage great things and may have trouble finishing projects.
•Onlys. Only children have a unique situation. Since they spend so much of their younger years in the company of adults, they often develop very adult-like characteristics. But because of a lack of social interaction with people of their own age, they may have a bit of trouble becoming engaged with other children. Onlys are usually driven and have high expectations of themselves and others. They may be pampered, self-absorbed and selfish.
Obviously, there are other factors influencing personality besides just birth order. The age of the parents, the gender of the child, the gender order of the siblings, religious beliefs, social status, and economic situation also may have a dramatic impact upon personality. So your child may retain some of the personality types of his/her birth order, but not all.
Bear in mind, however, that a child’s birth order is not the only, or even the most important factor in a child’s personality. If you treat your child differently based on his/her birth order, s/he will definitely develop a personality based on that birth order. But if you are able to treat all of your children equally, your child will most likely develop a personality based on other factors. It all comes down to this: if you expect your child to act a certain way, s/he will usually live up to that expectation. So just let your child be him/herself.