Essay Sample on Birth Order

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1671 Words
Date:  2022-11-02


Birth order refers to the chronological order of children or siblings in a family. The study of birth order was pioneered by Alfred Adler (1870-1937), who argued that the position of a child in the order of birth has significant impacts on the child's growth as well as his personality (Very & Very, 2012). According to Very and Very (2012), a definite relationship exists between a person's personality and the spot he was assigned at birth. In most cases, birth order is inescapable human experiences and is thought to influence the emotion, intelligence, social, and self-motivation of people in the world (Damian & Roberts, 2015; Marini & Kurtz, 2011). However, being last, first, or being born in the middle itself is not important, what matters is the way that particular birth order affects how both siblings and parents treat the child and how the kid feels about it. Other environmental factors such as socialization of the child and the expectation of the parent influence the personality of the kid. Physical attributes, gender, birth spacing, and being a twin affect formation of personality and the interpretation of behavior when family environment is the major source of influence on a person's development (Bleske-Rechek & Kelley, 2013). Such factors also influence how children are treated by their parent and how each kid is viewed by his or her siblings. The paper will discuss the powerful impact that birth order has on the children's behavior, emotions and personality development.

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The research conducted in the last two decades have produced varying impacts of birth order on the development of personality (Damian & Roberts, 2015). Siblings' share about half of their genetic make-up, but, their personalities vary just as those of strangers. Birth order plays can play a significant role in personality development as they keep on competing for limited resources mainly parental resources. Personalities differ adaptively to maximize extraction of resources from the parents (Hertler, 2017). By fate, a kid is born in a specific position in the family, and this spot affects unique emotional experiences (Wallace, 2016). Firstborns are regarded as the most privileged kids because they bask in their parent's love without sharing, and all attention is given to them for a significant period. The extended period with the parents enables the child to develop positive emotions. Most of them emerge feeling loved with a great sense of self-confidence and security. The experience helps them to go into the world and become responsible leaders.

However, the children at this spot also face tough emotional challenges. The parents are inexperienced, loving, and have high expectations from them. Most of the parents want their firstborns to be successful in life. According to Kelley (2013), firstborn children benefit more due to their status quo, and due to this, they tend to be rule-bound and conscientious. Due to this high expectations, parents critique and micromanage their firstborn to ensure they do not make any mistake. For example, the child might score 98% in their spelling test and be criticized for failing to score the additional two points. As a result, the child will feel pressured to succeed, and he may become a perfectionist as he equates the love he gets with success (Harkonen, 2013). At the adulthood, this might have positive impacts as they will be able to work under maximum pressure.

The firstborns experience awful feelings of loss after giving their baby coat to the new member of the family, and the attention and love from the parents ought to be shared among the two siblings. Mostly, they feel jealous because of the special attention and care the little sibling receives. The firstborn feel intruded because the second born will always mess up with what he or she is doing. They are also required to behave better and give more to the family, and this might make him feel resentful. But, in the process, they get a positive experience because they are required to nurture the younger sibling. The experience enables them to be sensitive and love other people.

The second born benefit from self-confident and calmer parents and enjoy special care and attention given to him as the baby. They have the advantage of modeling and learning from their older sibling. Due to this, the second born may be able to read and write at a tender age (Carette, Anseel, & Van Yperen, 2011). However, the second feels insufficient when he compares himself with his older sibling. For example, the firstborn ride a bicycle well while the second born cannot be able to ride a tricycle. The second sibling, in this case, cannot understand that their age difference brings the problem. The firstborns are mostly parent-identified, conscientious, and respectful to the people in power or authority (Hertler, 2017). Children born afterward, find these useful resources having already being exploited and due to this, they tend to try less to occupy these paths. Moreover, a second born kid feels jealous after realizing the older sibling accomplishes daily activities such as preparing for school or performing a play before him. Such events consume a significant amount of parent's time and attention as they try to ensure, their child does not feel invisible or left out. The care that parents give to their children varies from family to another. In this regard, within the same family birth order affects each of the personality traits and intelligence separately (Rohrer, Egloff, & Schmukle, 2015).

According to Voo (2018), middle children are the hardest to pin down since they do not necessarily playoff their older sibling. The middle kid shares the positives of being older and younger sibling. They usually learn from the older sibling and who often watch over them, and they have younger ones who look up to him, and he has the responsibility of nurturing them. Under this spot, the sex of the kid plays a great role in their personality development. For instance, in case the firstborn is a girl, and the middle one is a boy, he may possess the characteristics of the firstborn as well as his own from the environment because although he is technically the second-born, he is the firstborn male. As second-born boy child with an older sister, the boy qualifies as the firstborn male in the family, and this can help him to develop nurturing leadership qualities expected to be possessed by the first-born. In this spot, the boy might play the role of a father to the other younger ones and try to be sensitive to their needs and protect them.

Nevertheless, the middle child faces some unique challenges associated with this particular spot. The child feels upset after losing his position as the baby of the family, feels jealous and left out because both the younger and older siblings demand so much attention. For example, it is normal for one parent to be assisting the older one with homework, while the small one is being prepared for bed by the other parent, while the middle kid is sitting lonely waiting for attention from either family member. The middle child is highly competitive with both younger and older siblings. The middle kid is continuously struggling to catch up with the older ones, while still racing to ensure he stays ahead of the younger siblings. Since some families have more children than others, the number of siblings and the positions affect the development of the child differently (Rohrer, Egloff, & Schmukle, 2015). Another significant and unique dilemma faced by middle children is that they are not the youngest nor the oldest, hence, they have to struggle to develop their own unique identity.


In conclusion, most of the researches on the relationship between personality and birth order have revealed a sporadic link between the two factors. Firstborn siblings have much to benefit from due to their status quo, and due to this, they should be rule-bound and conscientious. On the contrary, lastborn kids have unconscious inclination to obtain sibling's investment by differentiating themselves. In most cases, lastborn children are more open and agree with the decisions made by their older siblings. When comparing different personality traits from the same family, firstborns are more conscientious and achieving, while lastborn kids are rebellious and more open. However, the personality of the siblings is greatly influenced by their unique genetic dispositions, which makes them react to the environment differently. The child is also likely to interact with the non-shared environment such his peers without the influence of the position or spot he occupies in the family. Due to this, more research needs to be conducted to understand the extent to which the birth order influence the personality traits of a person.


Bleske-Rechek, A., & Kelley, J.A. (2013). Birth order and personality: A within-family test using independent self-reports from the firstborn and later-born siblings. Journal of Elsevier, 1(1), 1-4.

Carette, B., Anseel, F., & Van Yperen, N. W. (2011). Born to learn or born to win? Birth order effects on achievement goals. Journal of Research in Personality, 45(5), 500-503.

Damian, R. I., & Roberts, B. W. (2015). Settling the debate on birth order and personality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(46), 14119-20.

Harkonen, J. (2013). Birth order effects on educational attainment and educational transitions in West Germany. European Sociological Review, 30(2), 166-179.

Hertler, S.C. (2017). Beyond birth order: The biological logic of personality variation among siblings. The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 1(1), 2-18.

Marini, V. A., & Kurtz, J. E. (2011). Birth order differences in normal personality traits: Perspectives from within and outside the family. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(8), 910-914.

Rohrer, J.M., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S.C. (2015). Examining the effects of birth order on personality. Journal of National Academy of Sciences, 112(46), 14224-14229.

Very, S.P. & Very, S.P. (2012). Effects of birth order upon personality development of twins. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 114(1), 93-95.

Voo, J. (2018). How birth order affects the child's personality and behavior. Retrieved on 7 December 2018 from

Wallace, M. (2016). The effect of birth order on children. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 7 December 2018 from

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