What Is The Significance Of Birth Order?

Are you a brainy or bossy eldest child? A disgruntled middle child? Maybe the sheltered youngest sibling? Perhaps you're a spoiled only child. If you've grown up with brothers and sisters, you may have felt this way before. These stereotypes on birth order may sound silly, but there is an interesting degree of scientific accuracy in their foundation. But does birth order influence personality, or is personality shaped based on the ages of siblings around them? Research shows that a person's personality is not dictated by being the youngest or oldest innately, but rather more by the roles, responsibilities and relationships to others in the family. This means that just because you're the first born, you're not guaranteed to be the smartest. However, because you're the oldest in comparison to your siblings, you've had more time to acquire knowledge. Similarly, the youngest of the pack may garner a reputation for being sheltered or having difficulty succeeding in certain areas like school or the job market—not because they're incapable, but because of the expectations put forth by older siblings.

Other factors like socioeconomic status, sex, gender, race, religion and family size all influence the behavior, personality and outcomes of siblings. If anything, this context enhances the validity behind the social science which explains the differences among siblings from order of birth. Are you a middle child who feels slighted for higher instances of compromises? Were you an older child who shared responsibility for the upbringing of younger brothers and sisters? Whether you're part of a big family or are an only child, this playlist will help you understand the impact of birth order, and where you might fit in.

Written by Curiosity Staff September 11, 2014

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