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Birth Order and Spacing

Birth Order Characteristics

In what order a child is born into a family is not the only determinant of behavioral characteristics or of future success or failure, but there is little doubt that birth order may influence certain personality traits. Listed below are various characteristics that correspond to the main three birth order positions: oldest/only, middle, and youngest. It is important to remember that these are only tendencies and that environment, genetics, and parenting styles all play a significant role in how children develop as individuals.

Characteristics of Firstborn and Only Children

Firstborn and only children typically get a lot of attention from their parents. Much of what they do is recorded in baby books and little achievements are celebrated as major events, so it is no wonder that these children often develop an appreciation for success and seek ways to acquire new skills. These children are seldom allowed to be just kids. Parents tend to be demanding of firstborn and only children, which leads to high expectations and undue pressure. Typical characteristics of firstborn and only children include:

  • Self-confidence
  • Perfectionism
  • Good organizational skills
  • High achievement goals
  • Scholarliness
  • Conservatism
  • A tendency to make lists
  • Good communication skills with adults

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 1Birth Order and Spacing - Effects Of Birth Order Discovered, Birth Order Characteristics, The Importance Of Spacing, Criticisms, Birth Order Today