Have you ever gathered together as an adult with your brothers and sisters at the holidays or family reunions and observed how they talk and interact with each other and with you? Do you ever ask yourself: “How are you so different from me?”
You might find that your oldest sibling is always trying to tell you how to run your affairs or wonder why your middle sister has so much accumulated wealth while you are scraping by. Some of your questions could be answered by simply looking at the family birth order and where each family member falls in line.
First-time parents try to do everything perfect for their first-born child. As a result the child could grow up reflecting this attention in her characteristics and personality. She could be a perfectionist and high achiever. And, according to a study by Careerbuilder.com, first-borns are more likely to be over-represented at Harvard and Yale more likely to seek higher education.
Pioneering psychologist Alfred Adler found that first-borns were more likely to be burdened by the responsibilities of being the oldest and the disappointment of being “dethroned” by their siblings. According to Adler, this made them more neurotic and could even lead them to substance abuse.
Careerbuilder’s 2006 study also found that every astronaut to go into space had been either the oldest child in his or her family or the eldest boy. And more than half of all Nobel Prize winners and U.S. presidents have been first-born.
On average, parents spend 3,000 more quality hours with first children between the ages of 4 and 13 than with the next sibling, according to a study from Brigham Young University.
Careers in medicine, engineering and law, according to the Careerbuilder study.
The parents of middle children are a little more relaxed this time around. This might explain why they have a more easy going and independent attitude than their older siblings.
You might notice your middle sibling seems out to get more attention and seeks recognition. They will often try to be the opposite of their first born sibling’s need to be a perfectionist.
The children in the middle are often the most level-headed in the family. According to Careerbuilder, middle children often
take on the role of mediator and peacemaker. As such, other brothers and sisters will come to them to negotiate or settle disputes.
Middle-borns receive less financial and emotional support from parents, yet are far less likely than their siblings to be in therapy, get divorced or be neurotic, according to the book “The Secret Power of Middle Children.”
Careers in education, law enforcement, fire-fighting, construction, personal care, according to the Careerbuilder study.
The youngest or the baby of the family tends to be the most self-centered. Parents sometimes seem to be almost too relaxed with the last born, leaving them with the least amount of responsibility and the most freedom.
Being the cute, special one growing up, they will always find ways of attention-seeking later in life. This could take the form of being the life of the party, the most outgoing in a crowd and the most fun-loving in the room. The youngest child tends to be the most creative and can be very charming - even manipulative.
Psychologist Frank Sulloway has studied birth order and is the author of “Born to Rebel.” Sulloway theorizes that younger children are more likely to be rebels because they are constantly seeking parental attention.
Careers in art/design/architecture, editing/writing, information technology and sales, according to Careerbuilder.
Only children spend more time around their parents and other adults. The traits they pick up tend to make them more mature, conscientious and responsible for their age. Professionally, as they get older, they mature into diligent, confident and highly competent employees. They are highly responsible and perfectionists.
Careerbuilder reports that popular careers for only child are information technology, engineering, nursing and law enforcement.