The debate on whether birth order influences child personality rages on. The main question that has been asked in the past is whether being the youngest or the oldest has anything to do with the child's personality. This paper shall attempt to focus on how birth order influences the children's personality.
According to Neville (2007), older siblings are often charged with a lot of responsibility especially over the younger children. Thus, with time they learn to become more responsible in life. This personality trait is acquired from the nature of their age, being the eldest. Busy parents will usually leave the younger children in the hands of their older siblings. Hence this creates the personality trait of being responsible which will manifest throughout life.
Older children often are rated to have high levels of intelligence since they are expected to set the pace for the rest and thus they learn to work hard. Working hard is a personality trait that is synonymous with the older children. However, some researchers according to Ernst and Angst (1983) dispute the fact that older children have a higher IQ. He suggests that older children are busy with most of the family responsibility and will thus develop their IQ at a slower pace.
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On the other hand, older children are often entangled in the fight against a shift of power and will most often lose out of their learning process, making them less intelligent. Critics indicate that the middle children are more likely to have a higher IQ than their elder siblings. This is attributed to the reason that most of the middle children often seek to excel and gain much more recognition and take their position within the family. Researchers describe them as survivors.
The sense of responsibility is also created and developed by the parents who are often strict to the older children. Parents view older children as role models to the rest and are therefore taught to be responsible and take control over the rest quite early.
On the contrary, the middle children will be challenged most often trying to establish their position within the family. For most of their youth, they will be busy competing for resources with their younger as well as older siblings. Reese (1996) argues that this creates a personality trait of being aggressive in the middle children. The children will also be easy going as they attempt to get along with most of the family members so as to gain recognition.
Perhaps the children with the worse personality traits are the youngest children within the family. Since they are the responsibility of others, they will rarely emerge to become responsible. They will also be despised by their older siblings most of the time as they try to fit in and play with them. This will lower their esteem and lead to the younger children being creative so as to survive (Reese, 1996). Moreover, the younger children will also develop a strong sense of humor that will help them fit into the rest of the family. Younger children also seem solitary most of the time and thus develop the personality of egoism.
Lonely or only children will usually display a higher level of maturity and self control. Since they gain 100% of their parent's attention, only children will often be left alone in the house and thus they learn to be responsible. Only children develop a personality trait associated with being egoistic or individualistic. This is due to the fact that they are often alone most of the time.
It is not safe to assume that birth order influences personality traits of children entirely. There are a couple of other pertinent factors that come into play when molding the personality traits of a child. For instance, the immediate environment in which the child grows is an important contributor to issues of personality traits. Neville (2007) reveals that the personality traits of children are the product of their environment. The environment in this case is the family where the children are brought up. Birth order is merely one contributor.
Critics of this theory suggest that personality of children often result from their genes and not from their birth order. Perhaps birth order is important in other facets when determining marriage couples, but not personality traits of children entirely.
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Birth order therefore influences the children's personality traits to some extent. First borns are known to be responsible and aggressive often due to the high level of responsibility that parents have placed on them at a tender age. Middle borns are known to be innovative and easy going. They also possess a higher IQ than the first borns. Younger siblings are humorous and more egoistic or solitary.
Therefore, birth order influences personality traits among children and thus child development. This is attributed to the responsibility that birth order lays on a child. Responsibility comes with age. It should be acknowledged that parents also play a major role in influencing the personality traits of their children by providing the right environment for their growth so that they are able to become responsible in life.
Position within the family contributes immensely towards the development of personality traits associated with dominance or low esteem. First borns are often dominant and bold, while last borns are timid, and vulnerable.
Ernst, C., & Angst, J. (1983). Birth order: its influence on personality. California: Springer-
Neville, H. (2007). Is This a Phase? Child Development & Parent Strategies, Birth to 6 Years.
Edinburgh: Parenting Press, Inc.
Reese, H.W. (1996). Advances in Child Development and Behavior, Volume 26. Washington: