Can your child’s birth order affect their personality? Read on to find out.
WORDS DR NICOLA DAVIES
Personality is most often associated with adults and yet we start to develop our personality at an early age. Indeed, some researchers believe that personality development begins before the birth of a child, with the mother’s moods affecting the psyche of her offspring. The foetus absorbs communication from the outside world, especially from the mother. Infancy and early childhood are therefore crucial periods of personality development.
What Forms a Personality?
A combination of genetics, psychology, and social influences leads to the formation of personality. Parents can observe from the very beginning how their infant’s personality is forming. Some babies may be relaxed and easy going from the start, while others can seem tense and fussy. As parents begin to know their newborn’s personality, they will gradually find it easier to respond to their child’s changing needs.
Birth Order and Personality
Birth order is another factor that can impact personality, possibly due to how we tend to raise our firstborn differently to our second born, and so on.
Only Child – These children grow up to be dependable, confident, and responsible due to having undivided attention from their parents. They can also be demanding and sensitive for this same reason.
Firstborn – These children often grow up ‘being in charge’ and taking on leadership roles because of the control and attention they have received from their first-time parents. They enjoy solo attention and seek approval, which can result in them not taking rejection or refusal lightly.
Middleborn – These children learn negotiating skills and how to navigate within the family structure as a result of having both elder and younger siblings. They are often good listeners and peace-makers, and are easy to get along with. At the same time, they can have difficulty standing up for themselves and may not be good with decision-making.
Last born – Last born children tend to be outgoing extroverts. As a result of being the youngest, they are granted more freedom and independence. Parents by now are confident in their caregiving role and don’t spend as much time fussing over their child’s every need. This makes the last born social and fun-loving, but they can also be attention-seeking at times.