Other Free Encyclopedias » Social Issues Reference » Child Development Reference - Vol 3

Firstborn Children - Speech And Intelligence, Birth Order And Personality

parents siblings firstborns family

Many people believe that firstborn children, because of their privileged position in the family, behave differently than later-born children. Although parents, siblings, and nonparents probably overemphasize the influence of birth order, evidence suggests that the experiences of individuals are related to their ordinal position in the family.

Psychologists have studied the distinctive personality of firstborn children for more than a century. Alfred Adler, the father of individual psychology, postulated that the child's position in the family has a monumental effect on the child's personality. He believed that the firstborn child is dethroned by the birth of a sibling and the firstborn must now share parental attention with a rival. In order to cope with this traumatic betrayal, firstborns become problem children or they strongly emulate their parents. Because of their identification with their parents and their perceived loss of status, power and authority become extremely important to firstborn children. Although Adler's theory was not based on empirical research, it spurred thousands of studies that related birth order to everything from extrasensory perception to juvenile delinquency.

Many of the commonly held ideas about first-borns originate from inferences about their interactions with parents and siblings. The extant literature suggests that parents harbor expectations of how firstborns should behave and parents act in accordance with those beliefs. During infancy, mothers attend to firstborns by responding to and stimulating them more than latterborns. Mothers also tend to rate their firstborn infants as more difficult than later-born children. This finding may reflect that mothers feel more comfortable in their parenting role by the time a subsequent child enters the family. The relative amount of attention that firstborn preschoolers receive tends to decline with the birth of siblings. Nevertheless, firstborn children continue to experience distinctive relationships with their parents. Investigators have found that parents expect higher achievement, are more controlling, and make added demands on their firstborn young children. Moreover, throughout childhood, fathers tend to be more involved with their firstborns relative to later-born children.

Firstborns also seem to initiate more interactions, both positive and negative, with their younger siblings than vice versa. They are more likely to engage their younger siblings in conversation, but they are also more likely to be verbally disapproving. As compared to older peers, firstborn children tend to instruct younger siblings by providing appropriate feedback and guidance. The opportunity to be a "teacher" may help explain why firstborn children, on average, have higher IQs than only or youngest children.

Fragile Syndrome X [next] [back] Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

about 5 years ago

We loved them last year and they are on their way this year !

Vote down Vote up

over 3 years ago

In my sentiment, if all website owners and bloggers made honourable paw thing as you did, the web give belike be a lot more valuable than e'er before.
http://sahabatpoker.com/

Vote down Vote up

over 4 years ago

A blog like yours should be earning much money from adsense.’~::-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brown-Button-Pocket-Leather-Jacket/dp/B008HOE6BK

Vote down Vote up

over 4 years ago

This post is very informative thanks.

jump manual review

Vote down Vote up

almost 5 years ago

I wish people would write more about speech and intelligence in children as you have done. This is something that is very important and has been largely overlooked by the internet community

Vote down Vote up

almost 5 years ago

a quality resource for free. You may want to contact the blog

Vote down Vote up

about 5 years ago

Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will bookmark this site.

Vote down Vote up

about 5 years ago

you will have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of every community prior to making your final decision around the home suited for you.

Vote down Vote up

about 5 years ago

you will have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of every community prior to making your final decision around the home suited for you.

Vote down Vote up

about 5 years ago

We loved them last year and they are on their way this year !