Does Birth Order Really Matter?

Birth Order and PersonalityThere are many different factors that influence our developing personality, but birth order is one of the more unusual ones.  Your place in your family is determined at birth and though blended and even broken families are more common now, for most people that place does not change much throughout their lives.  How then, does that impact your developing personality?

Experts suggest that it is a matter of the cues that you receive from your environment and the people around you.  The basic characteristics of who you are are set in your earliest years though and if a change in your family position occurs after a certain point, a corresponding change in personality cannot be expected.  Similarly, if it occurs before that point, then you personality reveals itself to be much more fluid.

Birth Order and Family Dynamics

In each family the children are treated differently. In some ways this is because they are individuals in their own right.  A good parent treats their child according to their emerging personality after all.  The two factors of personality and care are intertwined however, and as you alter the way you treat your child to fit their needs, your child alters the way they behave in order to fit they way they are treated.  This is one way to explain the observable effects of birth order.

Another way to explain might be to point out that parents are likely to treat firstborn children certain ways simply because they are first.  You might be stricter about following the recommendations of parenting manuals or more careful about your child’s illness.  A middle child might get a more lax and confident parenting style or they might get less focused attention due to the increased number of children the family has to care for.  The result is that certain family positions are generally associated with certain traits:

  • Firstborn - reliable, conscientious, structured, cautious, controlling, achievers
  • Middle-born - rebellious, people pleasers, peacemakers, social, friendly
  • Lastborn - fun loving, uncomplicated, manipulative, outgoing, attention seeker, self-centered
  • Only Child - mature, perfectionists, conscientious, diligent, leaders

The Limits of Birth Order

Of course, there are documented exceptions to this scenario.  There is no all-encompassing system that will tell you exactly how someone will turn out whether your are trying to figure out yourself or your child.  One example of an exception is the case of twins.  Twins tend to develop the characteristics of either first or lastborn children, but they also develop a clear system of leadership. One twin will be dominant, the other submissive.   There are other exceptions as well.  All of them point to the conclusion that birth order matters because of the way it affects a child’s family environment, not in and of itself.

Experts have theorized that the traits associated with birth order have developed as a response to the behavior of parents, the behavior of peers, and the behavior of siblings.  Presently evidence points towards all three having influence.



You might also find the following helpful:

Age-Appropriate Manners and Lessons

Parent's Survival Guide to Puberty

Bullying in Schools

Giving More Attention

Cleaning Their Rooms


Main Dishes and More

Main Dishes and More

Start saving time and money in your kitchen with these easy family-friendly recipes, packed with flavor.

Easy Recipes

Dinner Ideas

Chicken Recipes

Crock Pot Recipes

Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast Casseroles

Make a mouthwatering breakfast recipe or an easy, delicious breakfast casserole to turn any day into a special day.


Soup, Salads and Sides

Soup, Salads and Sides These great soups and side dishes go with everything from elegant holiday meals to a weeknight pot roast.

Soup Recipes

Side Dishes

Salad Recipes

Healthy Dinner Choices

Healthy Dinner Recipes


Healthy Dinner Recipes

Healthy doesn't mean bland with these delicious homemade dinner recipes.

Begin or maintain a healthy lifestyle for your whole family tonight.


Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Get a delicious dessert for every occasion.

Pie recipes, cookies, cakes, fudge, cheesecake recipes and Mama Shirley's favorites all make wonderful happy endings.

Kids Recipes

Kids Recipes


Kids Recipes

Our Kids Recipes are easy to make and fun for kids of all ages. They're perfect for teaching beginning cooking and kitchen skills.


Pot Luck Casserole Recipes

Casserole Recipes

Casserole possibilites are endless, making it even easier to prep a hearty dinner with ingredients you have on hand. Try some of our family classics for easy one-dish dinners.

Casserole Recipes

Stock Your Freezer

Freezer Recipes

We’ve all been there before, it’s getting late in the afternoon and you’ve realized there isn’t anything for dinner. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s where this section will come in handy for you.

Freezer Cooking Recipes




Names for Boys

Baby Boy Names

Choose the perfect name for your bundle of boy with help from our lists of thousands of boys names.

Boys Names

Names for Girls

Baby Girl Names

Find a beautiful name for your new daughter with easy to use lists of names and name meanings for girls.

Girls Names

Quotes for Life

Quotes About Life

The right quote at the right time can make you feel like there is a kindred spirit in this world that thinks like you do.

Some quotes have no other purpose than to make you laugh...something we could all use more of. Get inspired or reassured, visit the quotes pages often.

Quotes to Live By


These are the big lists for reference, all things vocabulary, reading and writing. 

List of Verbs

List of Pronouns

List of Prepositions

List of Nouns

List of Adverbs

List Of Adjectives


Bread Pudding Recipe

Bread Pudding

Cinnamon and vanilla infuse this custard-like dessert that starts with simple ingredients, but tastes like pure luxury.

Warm Spiced Bread Pudding Recipe

Easy Dinner Ideas

Easy Dinner Recipes

Try a variety of 30 minute meals, they're complete homemade dinners from kitchen to table in a half hour.

Quick and Easy 30 Minute Meals