The Affects of Birth Order Essay

This essay has a total of 1923 words and 9 pages.

The Affects of Birth Order

The Affects of Birth Order

There are many things that can alter the personality of an individual; some of these are
voluntarily inflicted, while others are uncontrollable. Among the uncontrollable
altercations, birth order is perhaps the largest influence on a person’s
disposition. Personality is influenced by the “place” a person has in their
family as well as the family situation. It is important whether an individual is an only
child, first born, second born, third born, a boy among girls, or a girl among boys, and
so on.

Birth order is a key element in gaining an understanding of one’s self as well as
other people. Through birth order placement, one develops a behavior pattern as well as
ways of thinking and emotional responses. This effects all aspects of living such as,
expectations, mental weaknesses, marriage, and spirituality. Understanding the birth order
characteristics is a simple method in determining how and what makes another individual

An only child is one that has no siblings; they are in fact the “only” child
in the family. They are classified as a special case of a first born. Because an only
child has no siblings to play with, they have to overcome feelings of loneliness and often
times, boredom. To combat their solitude, only children make up imaginary playmates and
games to amuse themselves. They also become resentful of adult intrusion and cope with
intrusion in one of two ways. They either go into fast mode to avoid the intrusion
altogether or they use slow mode, accepting the intrusion and trying to see the help in
it. Only children also tend to be extremely selfish. Growing up with 200% of the
parents’ attention, they hold much resentment for anything that takes away that
attention. Because of this undivided attention, the only child tends to be dependent
through their adult lives. It is also common for the child to become bitter towards one
parent, usually the parent of the same sex. Only borns are also subject to emotional
disturbances. Statistically, they are more apt to require clinical help and to return for
further counseling later in life. An example of this would be shown by “In military
training camp, only children were more likely to consult a psychiatrist, be diagnosed as
psychoneurotic, and be discharged from the service.” (Toman, 1992, p.132) Another
characteristic of only children is that they grow up favoring adult company and in turn
use adult mannerisms and language at an early age. Other less important attributes of only
children are: short tempers which usually result in tantrums, ethicality, constant
perseverance for acceptance from all, sets boundaries for themselves and others and is
more sensitive to pain.

First borns are almost an entirely different in comparison to only children. They tend to
be highly motivated and strive to set examples for the younger siblings. Because of this
motivation, first borns gravitate toward higher educational and career aspirations than
the later born children do. An example of this is the fact that twenty-one of the first
twenty-three astronauts were first-born children. They also become the authoritarian and
also the protectors of their siblings. This causes them to be very responsible
individuals. Insisting that power is their possession, first-borns reach for perfection in
every detail and become very determined to have things, as they want them to be. First
borns also grow up feeling forgotten by the parents. They grow embittered because they now
have to share the parents’ attention with another sibling or siblings. This causes
them to crave attention from people. They are apt to be “show-offs” and very
demonstrative in their actions. Medically, first-borns are more likely to be born
premature and in turn have more birth disorders. They are also more prone to asthma,
phobias, and paranoia tendency. Educationally, first-borns have higher I.Q, better
information recall, as well as math and science skills. They are more than twice as likely
to end up in a position of leadership where their organizational skills are put to the

Second born children are best described as balanced. Due to their older sibling, second
born children have superior cooperational skills and act as mediators between their older
sibling and their parents. They often feel neglected and inadequate; feeling as though
nothing they do will merit parental attention and appreciation. The felt neglect of these
children makes for a high rate of delinquency among second borns. Another attribute of a
second born is a high creativity level. Often disregarded by the first born, second borns
exercise their creative skills to comfort and amuse themselves. In constant attempts to
come out of the older sibling’s shadow, second borns develop a strong sense of
determination. They also have an almost unhealthy competition level that usually boils
down into rivalry. The second child are sensitive to injustices and unfairness, this is
due to their own felt inadequacies. Because of these sensitivities, second borns become
very sociable and talkative. They also have a large circle of close friends and
connections. In accordance to this, second born females have a statistically higher rate
of extraversion.

The third born child is typically the most vulnerable child. The second born conveys their
own feelings of inadequacy to the third born. The third born does not typically see it as
inadequacy but interprets it as vulnerability. Because of this vulnerable feeling, the
third child grows up feeling as though they have to be strong in all scenarios. They see
the showing of emotions as weakness and tend to be very sparing with their emotional
displays. Third borns also have issues with who and when they trust other people. The lack
of trust instilled in third borns also makes them go with their own instincts and rarely
heed the advice of others. This is a derivative of the constant need for them to choose
sides between their siblings and their parents. Third borns are typically grouped with the
last born children. Last borns are the “baby” of the family and are never
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