Studies have shown that the birth order of children plays a significant part in their development in functional families that can be exacerbated in dysfunctional families given their extreme dynamics.
It is common for families with more than one child to joke about the innumerable photos of the first child, followed by a considerable drop off in the number and quality of photos almost algorithmically in proportion to the number of children. While it is presented as a joke it is not funny when development issues such as self-esteem are examined.
The first relationship a child has in this world is with his or her parents.
The entire purpose of that relationship at that time is supposed to focus on the needs of the child more than the needs of the parents. This basic bonding right from the upstart is often not present in dysfunctional families .
It really does not take much to become a parent as I am fond of saying , but it is extremely difficult to become an excellent parent and create a reasonably functional family .
Parents have children for many reasons including accidentally and simply do not bring their unconditional love to the table .
What could be more hurtful than being told by your mother that you were an accident and she wished you were never born, or being told that you are” just like your father ,a lying son of a bitch”.
In dysfunctional families the parents may place their needs on the child and expect the child to sacrifice his or her needs to soothe the parents anxiety .
The First Born:
The firstborn is by birth right the center of the world forever within the family. The problem is that the parents often promote the idea while other siblings reject it.
The often insufferable attention that the first child receives can pay off in spades in terms of how that child develops:
- Research has shown that the eldest child often has a higher intelligence on average than their younger siblings of 2.3 points. It’s probably as simple as when the family grows the parents have less time to spend with each child;
- Eldest children are typically the ones that focus the most on family loyalty, traditions, and achievements, and are often more obedient and responsible.
- Oldest children are typically the rule followers , are competitive and conventional
- Given their high self-esteem the eldest child often performs better in school and becomes more successful in the professional world . They are by their birthright more prepared to take on leadership roles.
- Firstborns were typically found to be slightly more conscientious and more agreeable.
The Middle Child
Caught in the middle this child often reflects on not being the oldest, but not being the youngest and walking that balance .
In general middle children tend to possess the following characteristics :
- People pleasers after having learn skills to attain attention ;
- Somewhat rebellious
- Have a large social circle and thrive on friends
- The peacemakers in the family
Middle children are actually hard to pin down as they play off their older sibling . It can also make a great deal of difference if the middle child is a girl, and the first child is a boy or vice versa.
The Last Born:
Youngest children tend to be the least photographed, but the most free-spirited due to their parents increasingly laissez-faire attitude towards parenting after each successive child.
The last born will always remain the baby of the family and tends to be:
- 1. Fun-loving
- 2. Outgoing
- 3. Self-centered and attention seeking
- 4. Manipulative
- 5. Uncomplicated
The Only Child:
Without siblings to compete with the only child monopolizes his or her parents attention and resources, not just for the short period of time like a firstborn, but forever .
The only child has the privilege and the burden of having all of his or her parents support and expectations throughout their life .
Thus only children tend to be:
- 1. Mature for their age
- 2. Diligent
- 3. Conscientious
- 4. Perfectionists
- 5. Leaders