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Birth Order and Spacing

Effects Of Birth Order Discovered, Birth Order Characteristics, The Importance Of Spacing, Criticisms, Birth Order Today

Birth order is defined as the science or method of understanding the dynamics of an individual's place in the family. A large amount of research has been conducted on birth order, also known as ordinal birth position. Birth order has fascinated parents, physicians, and others for over one hundred years, in part because everyone is a participant. Everyone is born into a family and thus are affected, one way or another, by birth order position. In fact, the dynamics and persuasive influences brought on by birth order between family members are often unmistakable.

Characteristics of Middle Children

Research indicates that middle children seem to be more relaxed and impartial than their older and younger siblings. They sometimes feel "squeezed" and accordingly develop characteristics that help them negotiate—and sometimes manipulate—their place in the family environment. Because of their ability to play diplomat and peacemaker, they appear to have balanced personalities. Middle children tend to be:

  • Flexible
  • Diplomatic
  • Independent
  • Balanced
  • Resourceful
  • Generous
  • The opposite of their oldest sibling

Characteristics of Youngest Children

As the "babies" of their families, youngest children often do not get enough credit for their accomplishments. Consequently, they may rebel or simply stop trying to please authority figures. Youngest children typically acquire wonderful social skills because of their interactions with older siblings. They are generally charming, playful, and sometimes a little absent-minded. Research seems to indicate that youngest children tend to be attracted to vocations that are people-oriented, such as sales and teaching. Youngest children are inclined to be:

  • Risk takers
  • Outgoing
  • Creative
  • Funny and charming
  • Rebellious
  • Persistent
  • Lacking in self-discipline

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 1