How Birth Order Affects Your Children’s Personalities

Here's how birth order affects your children's personalities and a few tips about what you can do about it.

Parent’s that decide to have a family should study how birth order affects each child because there is definitely a difference in the personalities of each child in the pecking order. Whether you choose to have a large family or a smaller family, there is definitely a difference between the oldest and the youngest child. The eldest child is always going to be the experimental child that might drive parents crazy because they never had any experience before raising children so each age is a challenge. This is especially frustrating for the eldest child because as they enter the teen years and their parents seem hard on them, they can resent the fact that the younger siblings seem to get away with more than they did. Sometimes the eldest child and maybe even the only child may end up in therapy for years because they end up being confused because they didn’t feel that their parents had enough confidence in their decisions.

The Impacts

Birth order can have a strong impact on your children’s feelings, the way they behave and the way their personalities develop. When a child is born into a family as a number, this is when they will experience different emotions. Each child in the pecking order has advantages and different challenges.


The firstborn may get all of her parents attention and love for a while and can reap emotional benefits from being the firstborn. They can grow feeling more secure and have more confidence in some cases. This is when your child might go out into the world as a leader from research saying that many of the presidents and CEO’s of business have been the firstborn. This is not always the case though. They also will have some emotional difficulty being the firstborn. Parents are not experienced and have higher expectations and expect the eldest to be a success. This can be a problem because parents often criticize everything the oldest does, especially when it comes to their grades and how they present themselves. This is when the firstborn can feel too much pressure to become perfect and can become confused between love and success.

The oldest also feels more of a loss when they reach different milestones in their lives and have to grow up and give up their childhood. This happens when their bed goes to the next one in line or some of their belongings. They can become jealous because the next child is getting more attention and the younger one becomes their responsibility at times. They become resentful because they are expected to set all of the examples for their younger siblings. The good thing is the oldest did receive quite a bit of nurturing so they make great nurturers when it comes to caring for their siblings. This helps the oldest learn how to show their love in a larger capacity and be more attentive to others needs.

Second Born

The second child has the advantage of having parents that are way more relaxed and self-confident. They enjoy doting on the second born and they also have the advantage of looking up to an older sibling. The second child may learn quicker but can feel inadequate if they are still playing with kid toys while the older sibling is growing up and they don’t feel included all of the time. The second born has problems understanding age differences and keeps trying to catch up to the eldest child in order to feel special.

The second child can be jealous because their oldest sibling is always the first one to try anything new. Sometimes, parents tend to be more attentive to the oldest because they are involved in plays and other things that the second child is too young for. The second child feels bossed around by the oldest child at times because the oldest has more experience and can push the second child around.

Middle Child

The middle child has the advantage of being the oldest and youngest sibling because they have both to emulate. The middle child learns from their older sibling and the youngest child looks up to them. A middle child does have challenges as well to face and can be upset when they aren’t the baby anymore. They can feel left out and not important because the oldest and youngest are getting all of the attention. One parent might be helping the oldest with homework, while the other parent is feeding the youngest child. The middle child will then sit and sulk because they have to wait their turn for some kind of attention.

The middle child can be very competitive with their siblings. They are trying to catch up with the older child and running to stay ahead of the youngest child. The middle child also has another problem because since they are not the oldest or the youngest, they have to struggle harder to find themselves and who they really are.

Tips for Parents


Don’t put pressure on the eldest to be perfect and make sure they know your love is unconditional. Make sure you keep reassuring them that you have more than enough love for the entire family. Show them pictures that you saved of them growing up and make sure they have their own privacy when having a friend come over. Keep the other children busy with a project so the oldest one feels they have a life that’s their own. Talk to them and ask them to tell you about their frustrations if they are jealous or angry when it comes to the other kids in the house. Make sure that any anger and jealousy they are experiencing is not normal and let them know you are around to talk.


Tell the second born that they are not old enough to do everything their eldest sibling can do because they are younger. Let them know that eventually, they will be able to catch up and do the same things as the oldest child. Make sure you tell them they are doing a good job when they reach milestones, even if the first one accomplished the same thing in the previous years. If you have been busy helping your oldest child, make sure you plan some time with your second child. Plan a day together and make it seem important and put this on the calendar so they know they will have time with you. Include the second child in special events that the oldest child accomplishes.

Help the youngest be more assertive with their oldest sibling and watch from the sidelines. Don’t let the oldest child boss the youngest child around and make sure the youngest child gets to pick and choose what to do as well.

Middle Children

Pay very close attention to the middle child so they don’t feel left out. Make sure you let them know that their thoughts and opinions are valuable as well. Find out what their interests are and encourage them so they will find their own unique way in life. If they are interested in a particular program, let them try it to see if they enjoy it.

When it comes to helping your kids learn about their pecking order, look at the difficulties each child will face in life. Ask them to all talk about how they feel about their lives and if they feel they are getting enough attention. Encourage them to express their feelings if they are angry so you can keep reassuring them and telling all of them that you have loads of endless love for all. Talk about your own birth order experience with them so they understand how you felt at times. If you were the oldest, then you can relate to the oldest child and have a conversation about it when they are having issues.

It’s not easy being parents but there is quite a bit more knowledge out there now then there was 50 years ago so you can grab that knowledge in a matter of minutes. If your children are grown up and you feel that there wasn’t enough knowledge available back then, talk to them and get their input because it’s never too late.