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How Birth Order Can Shape Your Personality

You might have heard from somebody who the oldest child in a family is very responsible, while children without siblings are much more egoistic and demanding. Are these just stereotypes or can our order of birth shape our personality? 

I decided today to find the answer to this fascinating question. 

The theory of birth order started in the late 1920s with Alfred Adler, a friend, and colleague of Sigmund Freud. Adler believed that perhaps the order in which you were born affects your personality inherently.

The youngest (first-born) child. The oldest child is usually attentive, power-oriented, and predisposed to leadership, according to Adler. Since they often take responsibility for their younger siblings, primborns develop to look after themselves, become more willing to become parents, and take initiative. 

The second (center) child. The older brother is a "pacemaker" for the second child and often struggles to overcome their older sibling. The pace of growth is higher. The middle children in a family are often ambitious, but rarely selfish. They are also more likely to set themselves unreasonably high goals. This increases the number of failures, but knowing how to cope with life's problems is what strengthens them. 

The youngest (last-born) child. As a rule, parents and even older siblings take care and care of the youngest child. That is why they may feel less experienced and self-employed. Lastborns are, however, usually very motivated to overcome their older sisters and brothers. Very often they succeed greatly and are recognized in their selected field. They're the fastest athletes, the most talented musicians, or the best artists. The youngest children in the family tend to be very sociable, but more irresponsible and frivolous than the elderly. 

The only child. The only child. Without siblings, the only child frequently competes with his father. With too much melancholy from its parents, the single child expects melancholy from others too. The key qualities of this lifestyle are dependence and self-centeredness. The only child often has trouble interacting with other children. Many children without siblings become perfectionists and tend to achieve their goals, regardless.

How it affects IQ score

The theory that your birth and siblings have an impact on your personality and level of IQ has recently become very popular. However, it also created a considerable divide between researchers. Some reject the theory completely, whereas others believe it plays a key role. More than 20,000 adults were studied from the US, United Kingdom, and Germany by researchers from University Leipzig and Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (both German). In this study, they compared children with the order of their birth within families. 

They found that older children usually have higher intelligence testing performance. But the scientists did not find any effects on emotional stability and imagination.

How it shapes the personality

More evidence was provided in another research that the order of birth affects one's character. The scientists analyzed the characteristics of 377,000 high school students across the United States. 

What they found was that firstborns tend to be truthful and dominant in general. They are, even so, less sociable and less stress-resistant. The middle kids tend to become more meticulous and scrupulous. The youngest child in a family will be more open and social. Children without siblings are often nervous and are also very friendly and outgoing.

Is birth order important?

But you have to concede that there are certain inaccuracies throughout the results of this study. The study does not take into account social ethnicity, education, the social assistance of parents and siblings interactions. While birth order may influence one's personality or intellect, we should not forget that the marriages between a parent and a child as well as the upbringing in their residences are far more important in shaping one's life as individuals.

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Adler Alfred Adler Sigmund Freud


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