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.
As a quick overview, here’s how the author describes common first born, middle, last born, and only child personalities.
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 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.
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 types are considered to be a form of the First Born personality types, but “in triplicate.”
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.
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.