Family Dynamics

A few years ago, I read a book called The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman. It’s about birth order and its potential influence on personality and development.

An old family picture circa the late 90s or early 2000s!

As a quick overview, here’s how the author describes common first born, middle, last born, and only child personalities.

First born
First born children are described as leaders that are often perfectionists that desire approval from those in charge. Leman also states that first borns are “typically aggressive” but are also often people pleasers.

Middle Child
Middle children are sometimes diverse in that they are “guaranteed to be opposite of their older sibling” and often have the feeling that they are ignored in favor of their older and younger siblings. They are also described as having personalities that lean towards being secretive and can often serve as peacemakers between their older and younger siblings.

Last Born
Leman describes the last children as “social and outgoing” but also the “most financially irresponsible of all birth orders”. He also comments that they have the potential to be manipulative as well as charming.

Only Child
Only Child types are considered to be a form of the First Born personality types, but “in triplicate.”

Family dynamics
Growing up, I lived with my mom, dad, older brother, and younger sister.

When I read the book and compared the personality types to my family, I found a lot of descriptions that rang true, while other’s didn’t. I think every family is different, and the amount of years between each sibling also makes a difference.

My brother, Will, doesn’t really fit the first born description. He’s not aggressive, and definitely isn’t a people pleaser. I would say he is a leader, though. Growing up, he led me everywhere and was always the first child to try something new. Today, he’s laid back, fun, and kind. He and his wife are both real estate agents, and she’s also a first born.

I’m the middle child, and I have to say that I definitely fit the description. I often felt that my siblings were favored over me–my brother because he achieved things first as the oldest sibling and my sister because she was doted on as the youngest.

I was sometimes a peacemaker (usually in the car… I always had to sit between Will and Hannah or else they would constantly pick at each other, haha) between Will and Hannah, though we didn’t fight too much growing up because there’s a 10 year difference between Will and Hannah, six years between Hannah and me, and almost four years between my brother and me. I would also say I’m the most secretive of the three of us.


From left to right: My brother, sister-in-law, Jimmy, me, my sister, and future brother-in-law!

I married a first born, Jimmy, and he is a lot more like a first born than my brother. He’s a wonderful leader and quite the perfectionist, especially with work-related tasks.

Hannah is the youngest child and she is absolutely the most outgoing and fun person I know. She’s charming, independent, and always busy. So yeah, I’d say she fits the last born personality pretty well.

She will be marrying Josh in June and he’s also a last born. Josh is a lot like Hannah–absolutely hilarious and very outgoing. I was the only one of my siblings not to marry someone the same birth order as myself. Some people say there are good matches between birth orders, which is pretty interesting, too. But that’s a topic whole other post!

My mom grew up with a younger sister, and I think she fits the first born personality somewhat. My dad was the second child of five, so I suppose that makes him a middle child. I think he has more first born personality traits, though because he is very much a leader.

Tell me about your family dynamics!



  1. How cool! I’ve never really stopped to think how birth order could potentially impact family dynamics, but I can totally see it!

    I have one older brother and he definitely has a stronger personality than I do. He is much more of a leader than I am! I can totally see some of the last born traits in myself too– I’m pretty outgoing and independent. The financially irresponsible part isn’t so true though… I love saving money LOL! 😀

  2. I am first girl, yet second born so I feel like I got the short end of the stick on both fronts haha. Perfectionist and pacifist and usually the one who tries to keep the peace. My sister is like Hannah and fits the last born person pretty well. I’d also say my older brother and I are very different! He’s a hunter, stay at home guy and I am the vegan who moved out immediately =P

    1. Maybe you’re a bit of both, the first born (girl) and middle child! I literally JUST realized you and I both grew up with an older brother and younger sister, ha!! Twins!

  3. I did a report on birth order when I was in high school and I’ve always found the subject interesting!

    I fit into four categories simultaneously! I have an older half sister on my dad’s side (who I am not close to really) so I’m the last born on that side. I have a younger half sister on my mom’s side so I’m the first born on that side. I’m the only child that my parents had together AND there are 6-7+ years between me and each of the two half sisters, which means I’m basically an only child. And if you put it all together, I’m in the middle. Whew. I definitely fit the only child personality and that’s the one to which I relate the most. I married an only child as well and I think he fits that personality well too. 🙂

    1. It really is so interesting!!

      I can’t believe you fit into four categories! That is seriously amazing! It would make sense that you fit into the only child personality, based on the age differences between your half sisters. How neat that you married an only child, too!

  4. Such an interesting topic! I’m the oldest and I definitely grew up as a perfectionist/people-pleaser! Over time, I’ve become more laid-back and easygoing.

  5. I’ve always wanted to read that book, so I enjoyed reading this!! I fit the first-born description pretty well… But I find it interesting that my brother (the middle child) almost fits the youngest child description, while my sister (the youngest) fits the middle description. My brother is super outgoing… and spends money like it grows on trees. 😉 My sister, on the other hand, is crazy into budgeting. And she was definitely always the family peacekeeper.
    Interesting stuff!

    1. Haha, it was like a quick little summary for you 🙂

      It’s so interesting that your younger siblings seem to fit each other’s description! I always wondered what your family’s birth order was! I always assumed your brother was the youngest and your sister was the middle child!

  6. Pretty interesting and great stuff
    Allie! keep in mind I was the first born male child, that book talks about that as well.

  7. Wow that’s actually really interesting and I never really thought all that heavily about what it “means” to be first, second, last child etc…. I love how it says the last child is the least financially stable, totally makes sense because they’re the ones that are typically spoiled lol….Idk how it works when there’s two kids, would it be first and last or first and middle? I definitely find myself being a mix of middle and last…. peacemaker and charming 😉 haha

    xo, JJ

    1. I think if there’s only two, it would be first and last?! It has been a while since I read the book though, ha. I think I need to read it again!

      So, are you the youngest between you and your sister?! I definitely see you as charming and outgoing!! What is Andrew with his siblings?!

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