Does Birth Order Matter?

The study of birth order is nothing new. For years, researchers have been trying to prove that the order you are born in your family, does/does not affect who you are, who you become, and why you do what you do. Regardless of where you fall, every family position has it’s benefits and challenges.


Sole recipient of undivided attention, oldest children get their parents all to themselves which can make them feel very special. But this attention can also bring higher expectations. They are expected to set a good example for younger siblings and blaze a trail. Oldest children tend to be perfectionists as they try to meet expectations. Firstborns tend to be organized, more responsible, and leaders. They often find themselves asked to take care of , teach, and watch out for younger siblings.

Younger siblings would probably say firstborns are bossy, controlling and perfect in parents eyes.

As parents, it is important to cut your oldest child some slack. Don’t expect perfection.

Middle Children

Being born in the middle is a very unique place to be. Parents have already had a child so they have some parenting experience, and with the birth of another child, they have to divide their time and attention between more than one. Middle children often feel like they have to live up to their older siblings accomplishments. They feel like every one compares them to the siblings that come before them. Middle children often choose a different direction from their older siblings so that they can feel unique, and are more likely to be involved with friends so they feel special. Middle children often feel forgotten. They are either peacemakers or troublemakers.

As parents, we need to make sure we don’t compare our middle children to their older siblings, and that we don’t let them get lost in the shuffle.


Youngest children are known for getting away with anything. Spoiled and selfish, they feel the world revolves around them. They are viewed as less responsible and have fewer rules. Youngest children have to compete for attention, have to be more self sufficient and usually receive less attention for the good things they do. They need praise.

Older siblings might be jealous of the youngest because they have more freedom and less rules.

As parents it is important to set guidelines and expectations for your youngest, just like with your oldest. “Too tired to parent”, is not a good excuse.

The order that your children are born into your family does not have to define their lives. By taking a minute to understand the common feelings and practices that come with birth order we can be better parents to all of our children.

Take a minute and think about where you fell in your family. Were you happy there? Do you like how you were treated? Decide what you liked and didn’t like and how it has affected you. Then realize that you are probably going to have a first, middle and youngest. Will you do things the same?

Were you an oldest child who felt a lot of pressure to be perfect? Was that hard? Make an effort to not put the same pressure on your first born. Where you a middle child who felt forgotten and left out. Work hard so your middle child doesn’t feel the same.

We don’t want to use birth order stereotypes as an excuse for lazy parenting. Instead, use the information to gain insights into who we are, and how we are raising our children. We can raise happy, healthy and well-adjusted children regardless of what order they are born.

Are you an oldest, middle or youngest?

Do you like where you fell?


  1. 1
    Olivia L says:

    I’m a stereotypical oldest child – perfectionist, responsible, caregiving, etc. And yes, a bit bossy sometimes too! 😛

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