Behavioral science has long been studying the birth order of individuals to learn how different one’s personality and chances of success can be based on whether they were an only child, the first born, middle child or the youngest. Many scientists believe parents treat their children different over a period of years, so resulting in each child being distinctive from the other sibling.
Think back on your own childhood. If you were the first born and as siblings came along, each appeared to be treated in a unique way. One major variation is the first and second born, tend to be total opposites. It is figured that the second born has to be unique to gain attention from the parents by being opposite the oldest sibling. For example, the oldest does very well in school, the second born will either dislike school or tend to do poorly, even if they are fairly bright.
So how does this tie-in with family history? It actually can help explain why your parents or a grandparents were different than your aunts and uncles or great aunts and uncles. It is a good note to add with any family history.
The only child has never had to complete for the parents’ attention, they were always number one. However, with that, every expectation is now on the shoulders of an only child. As an only child and adult they do tend to be more mature at an earlier age, do make good leaders and are conscientious in every task.
Firstborns for the most part tend to be very cautious in relationships and business. Yet, they are the most likely to find success and earn more money because they are conscientious and work for achievement. This at one time was especially true for first born sons. What happened years ago was that a first born girl might have been pushed aside when a second born was a boy, making him now with the characteristics of a first-born. In more recent times, it is more equal the girl and boy first born.
The middle child tends to believe they are stuck in the middle, not the oldest or the baby of the family. They can be somewhat rebellious, but they are the ones who have all the friends and love being very social. The middle child grows to love people and being around large groups. Especially the second-born people, they have generally been the ‘black sheep’ of the family line. A third born sibling may become the more creative and artist person.
The baby of the family tends to be a bit self-centered since all the attention by parents, grandparents and siblings is always centered on the baby. The parents are not longer strict in raising the youngest child like they were with the first couple children. There are much fewer expectations in later life for the youngest. The baby of the family loves attention, seeks it out all the time and what things their way.
The birth order varies in the cases of twins or triples. When they are born; first, middle or youngest, all of them are that rank. Whenever there are more than 5 to 6 years between the birth of the next child, the birth order changes. There won’t be a middle child, because that new baby 6 years later is now like a first born, as if the parents started over. Instead a person may have more of a double birth order. With several years between siblings, that person can be more like an first born and an only child. If they are the last child born, that makes them the youngest also.
So it's important to look at each ancestor (parents, aunts and uncles) and see their birth order, noting if some of these characteristics apply to them. It certainly did for some famous people.
President George Washington - a first born leader in war and peace
Oprah Winfrey - a first born wealthy television personality
David Letterman - a middle child comedian with the easy going personality
President Abraham Lincoln - a second born who was strong in his own beliefs and willing to stand his ground
Rosie O’Donnell - the youngest child this comedian knows how to get what she wants
Harriet Tubman - the youngest born who insisted on things her way
I am first-born in my family with three other siblings within six years. I really do see the birth order affect.