Birth Order

I am the middle of three sisters. Yes that’s right. The much maligned MIDDLE CHILD. I was also born on a Wednesday which makes me a CHILD OF WOE. Things aren’t looking good.

How smug is Sunday?

I dismissed all this birth order stuff as total and utter drivel. I likened it to horoscopes. What’s all that about!? Capricorn, this month you will suffer money troubles. Really? Every Capricorn??

As schoolgirls, my friends and I used to love reading out each other’s horoscopes. If yours was rubbish you could always have a good laugh at somebody else’s. We loved it. Also those sex surveys from Cosmo even though we didn’t have a clue what they were talking about… and don’t forget Position Of The Fortnight from More magazine, which were always laughably ridiculous…

position of the fortnight
Position of the Fortnight

I don’t believe the stars control my destiny and I don’t treat quiz results as gospel. So I was doubtful that my birth order would have had any impact on my personality whilst growing up. Then I started reading more and more about it. And well…

From what I can see people are generally divided into four categories Eldest, Middle, Youngest and Only. If you’re the third of four children I guess you get to pick. *shrug*

Eldest – The Achiever. Apparently eldest children tend to have more in common with other First Borns than with their own siblings. This is down to being placed in the Mini Parent role in childhood, “I’m popping out for a few minutes, you’re in charge”. They tend to be high achievers. Eldest children benefit hugely from having extra attention from their parents. According to one article I read, the eldest child gets 3000 more quality hours spent with them between the age of 4 and 13 compared with the next sibling. Eldests have the reputation for being strong and dominant.

Eldest Traits: Ambitious, Leader, Responsible, Cautious

Middle – The Peacemaker. Almost all the researchers and scientists agree that middle children receive the least amount of attention within the family unit. They are very concerned about fairness and tend to have a small, close friendship circle. Middle children are unlike all other birth positions as they are not special. Whilst they may act out against this as children, they tend to benefit from it as adults. Middle Borns tend to be people-pleasers with excellent negotiating skills.

Middle Traits: Social, Fair, Considerate, Sensitive

Youngest – The Entertainer. Being the baby of the family definitely has its perks. Parents are likely to be more relaxed this time around so the youngest gets away with murder! The baby gets fussed and most relish the attention. Youngest children are usually more creative, the life and soul of the party. Having older siblings that have already been there and done that means the youngest tend to rebel more and shy away from responsibility.

Youngest Traits: Charmer, Risk-Taker, Extrovert, Attention-Seeking

parenthood steve martin
Parenthood (1989): “By the third kid, you know, you let them juggle knives”

Only – The Enigma. Perhaps this is the one position that has the scientists stumped? One article entitled “The Dilemma of the Only Child” said these children were stigmatized as many people’s automatic response to only children is that they are spoilt brats. As the mother of an Only it was tough reading. One article described the Only as ‘The Lone Wolf’, socially inept, unable to relate to other children. Another said they were gregarious ‘Social Butterflies’ flitting from party to party, friends being very important to them as they didn’t have siblings. Who knows?

veruca salt

But one thing they did all agree on was that only children quickly learn to please their parents and tend to seek their approval for a lifetime. Only’s are usually mature for their age due to spending all that time with adults and largely excel in their academic studies. They share a lot of First Born traits, generally being high achievers and perfectionists.

Traits: Conscientious, Diligent, Gregarious, Socially inept… Spoilt?

Maybe you see yourself and your family in this post. Or perhaps you buck the trend? A large age gap can definitely skew things. I know a couple of people who are the baby of the family but due to a large age gap they are more like only children so have the personality traits of Only’s/First Borns.

Without any prompting or further information I asked Twitter who they thought drew the short straw. 96 people took part. Everybody agrees that the baby gets the easiest ride with only 10% voting for the Youngest Child, 20% think the sibling-less Only Child and 24% think the mini parent Eldest Child. But with a landslide of 46% the clear winner was the hard done by Middle Child. What can I say? …I knew it all along.

So are you true to your birth order personality type? If, like me, you just love a quiz you can take one here

But I can’t talk about this anymore, I have a pony to buy.

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