Does birth order have an affect on personality?

Being the first child, middle child or the last-born does affect your behavior and personality more than people tend to think. “The one thing you can bet your paycheck on is the first-born and second-born in any given family are going to be different,” says Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist who has studied birth order since 1967 and has also written the book ‘The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are’.
The question however arises; Does birth order really affect how one’s personality is shaped? To our surprise, the answer is yes. A child’s rank in the family exerts influence on intelligence and personality. As the leader of the pack, mostly first-born tend to be more intelligent and high achievers as compared to the younger ones. As data was analyzed on 377,000 U.S. high school students, the researchers found that firstborn children on average had an IQ one point higher than the children who were born later.
Since parental attention is completely diverted to their beloved firstborn, the middle child would often feel ‘left out’ as stated by therapist Meri Wallace. That however, does affect how personalities are shaped when children are growing up. It perhaps sets back to the nature nurture debate. No two children carry on the same roles even though they belong to the same family and yet the same parents. The first child is always cared for the most as compared to perhaps the second one. That is where the different personalities set in. The parents know well which one is more responsible and for them perhaps the youngest one can be labeled as the most ‘pampered’ one. Moving on, children themselves tend to shape their behaviors according to the treatment they receive ever since they blink their eyes open when they enter the world. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychiatrist was one of the first theorists to suggest that birth order influences personality. He stated that birth order can leave an indelible impact on an individual’s style of life and the way they grow up to be adults. The takeaway raises the question, does birth order matter when it comes to IQ, intelligence or personalities?


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