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On my quest to do more research for a project that I am working on, I discovered this information, which I feel compelled to share. We’re all human beings capable of growing, changing and maturing. But our childhood experiences are critical to whom we become. In many ways they’re the root of us. And here’s why:

Children tend to be constantly seeking attention from anyone or anything within their environment. They also seek approval –  from parents, family members and friends.

Siblings play an important role too … and so does the lack of them.

Did you know that there are some personality traits that can be determined by your birth order? While I often write and speak about the childhood development phase of ‘imprinting, modelling and socialisation’, which influences us enormously because it’s about our interactions with the world around us, how we view them and how they shape us, but this is something additional – the birth order theory.

The first-born child…

First time parents, only child, the expectations are high, and the standards are even higher. The tension and stresses are also higher because most parents have no idea what they’re getting themselves into and they fret and fuss …. Just because they are experiencing the responsibility of parenthood for the first time. Usually, it isn’t until parents have a second or even a third child (etc!) that they loosen up a little!!

There is so much attention on the first child and this is where the exciting information comes into play. First-born children tend to possess a ‘I will take charge,’ attitude. They can be dominant and perfectionists, naturally taking a position of leadership, especially over younger siblings when they arrive.  As the leader of the pack, firstborns often tend to be:

  • Reliable
  • Motivated
  • Conscientious
  • Structured
  • Cautious
  • Controlling
  • Achievers

First-borns are natural leaders because they were the first. Simple as that. They frequently live a sense of entitlement and even superiority. However, from my research they can come in two very different flavours, one is the ‘mother’ archetype, the caregiver, caring, nurturing and constantly rescuing others at the cost of their own care.

And then there is the other flavour – the ‘aggressive’ mover and shaker who can come across as bossy. These first-born likes to be in charge and can be emotionally intense if they don’t get their way because they are goal orientated. They want complete control at all times because they have a strong desire to ‘win’ which can come across like they are moody and occasionally lacking in sensitivity. They can be intimidating, particularity by pushing people too hard or refusing to take a ‘no’ for an answer.

The middle child…

Once the second child comes along, there is a lot more ease. Parents have sort of hit their strides, they’re feeling more confident, the stresses aren’t as high, they’re not jumping from the seat of their pants every time the baby cries!

And, naturally, second born children don’t get all that undivided attention that the first born did. They’ve got an older sibling to look up to as an authority figure, and parents as well….

And then perhaps there is a third child, which makes the second born, a middle child, and a little more challenging to define.

Middle children learn early that they’re sandwiched between the oldest and the youngest. In an effort to avoid conflict or competition with an older sibling, they will often ‘rebound’ – go in the opposite direction. Rebound is a key concept for middle children – they sometimes come across as rebellious.

However, the ‘classic’ middle born can also be a people pleaser, they don’t like confrontation – they’ve grown up getting it from the top and the bottom of the sibling rung, so they avoid it like the plague. And because they are people pleasers, they don’t have strong boundaries and tend to blame themselves for everything.

In general, middle children tend to possess the following characteristics:

  • People-pleasers
  • Social
  • Adaptable
  • Somewhat rebellious
  • Thrives on friendships
  • Has large social circle
  • Peacemaker

But middle-children are awesome team players, reliable, steady and very loyal. They are naturally true mediators and negotiators, they are skilled at seeing both sides of any situation. They’re always eager to make everybody happy!

And here’s a little secret…. Ssshhhh!… they are the most secretive of all children, keeping things to themselves.

The youngest child…

As we move down the chain you can see how things shape up right? The last child, doesn’t get as much attention as the first and the second etc.… so they spend their entire life trying to draw attention to themselves. They are often the clown or performer of the family, they are the life of the party or the funny ones that light up a room with their performance.

Most last-born individuals come across as ‘extraverts’ because of their attention-seeking behaviour. They are very energised by the presence of others, and they ooze confidence … Often, they are not afraid to take a risk, with an attitude of “what do I have to lose?” The youngest children are manipulative, social, outgoing and … they make amazing sales people.

The baby of the family tends to be:

  • Fun-loving
  • Uncomplicated
  • Manipulative
  • Outgoing
  • Attention-seeker
  • Self-centred

There is always a shadow side to every attribute and the one for the youngest child is that they get bored quickly. They can have amazing ideas, and not do anything with them because they’re already moving onto the next thing …  They have a strong fear of rejection and a short attention span and because of their people skills, they are pretty good manipulators. They can come across as being selfish and only thinking of oneself.

The one and only child…

The best way to describe an only child is to take the first-born and multiply it by two! In many ways an only child is very similar to a first-born child however they take those traits to a whole other level!  They are born leaders and tend to lean towards perfectionism.

Being the only child is a unique position in a family, without any siblings to compete with, the only child lives with a strong sense of entitlement. More than likely your typical only child is a list maker, a scholar, and thrives on logic. They tend to be more on the conservative side of things and be quite introverted. The only children, are the mega-movers of our world.

As an only child they are extremely responsible, mature, independent and a very creative individual. They are extremely organised, very conscientious and task focused. When they put their mind to something, it has to happen!

In effect, this makes an only child something like a ‘super-firstborn’ where they have the privilege of having ALL their parents’ support and expectations on their shoulders. Thus, only children tend to be:

  • Mature for their age
  • Responsible
  • Confident
  • Perfectionists
  • Conscientious
  • Diligent
  • Leaders

The shadow side to this individual is that they do not like to admit they are wrong, they are not very good at accepting constructive criticism and when you do something wrong that is not aligned with their values… watch out! You can kiss your friendship goodbye as they are not very forgiving.

Of course, personalities play a part, but the research shows how birth order can directly affect some of the ways we ‘show up’ as adults.  Since these behaviours are deeply ingrained into that deeper part of our unconscious mind, they offer a wonderful insight into our personal blind spots – and when we work with these, we can become better versions of ourselves.