Sure, you know that all your children act differently. But have you ever considered that the reason for their difference is the order in which they were born?
In the early 20th century, psychiatrist Alfred Adler proposed that children’s personalities are directly influenced by birth order. Since then, research has been conducted that has both confirmed and denied the associated links of birth order and personality. And while birth order theory is replete with contradictions, exceptions, and generalizations, those familiar with its basic tenets can often find at least a little bit of truth in the birth order classifications.
- Natural leaders
- Perfectionist tendencies
- Achievement oriented
- Don’t like surprises
- Can be aggressive
- Can be compliant people pleasers
- Model children
- Seek approval from authority figures
- A study in contrasts
- Opposite of their older sibling
- Value relationships
- Friends are a top priority
- Love a good time
- Can be irresponsible, especially with money
The traits listed above are general guidelines, as exceptions abound. Everything from adoption, divorce, blended families, alcoholism, disabilities, and sibling death can upset the traditional roles in birth order. The gender of children, such as all girls, or an older sister/little brother situation, can impact birth order, as well as age differences between the children.
Interested in learning more, including how birth order affects parenting? Check out psychologist Kevin Leman’s The Birth Order Book.