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July 2, 2014
by Christie Hunter

Birth Order as an Adult

July 2, 2014 04:55 by Christie Hunter  [About the Author]

There is no denying the fact that factors like education and parenting style play a vital role in developing the personality and learning skills of a child, but another factor that significantly influences the personality of a child is birth order. Factors like communication skills, cognitive skills, decision-making abilities depend on the birth order of a person. Not only this, birth order also influences the psychology of a person.

Although parents love every child equally, they cannot pay equal attention to every child. Therefore, factors like the number of siblings, age gap between siblings and birth order decide the personality of a child (Leman, 2009).1

This article will highlight the ways in which birth order affects the adult life of a person and what are the factors or personality traits which are directly influenced by the birth order. Moreover parents will also be guided to adopt the right parenting strategy for every child in accordance with the birth order:

Personality Analysis According to Birth Order

Varma (2013) 2 in a research study conducted an in-depth analysis of how birth order can influence various personality traits of a person. Here is a quick overview of personality analysis according to the birth order:

1. First-Born

First-borns are usually considered as experimental children. Mostly they are overly pampered kids which make them dominant and a little overpowering. Parents’ adequate attention and time during early childhood years help them in developing their cognitive and learning abilities.

As Adults:  As adults, first-borns are keen observers and confident. They like to make decisions on their own and avoid depending on others. Their ability to differentiate between right and wrong and responsibility make them reliable leaders. However, first-borns are usually attention seekers and don’t like others overpowering them.

2. Middle Children

Griffin (2012) 3 conducted a detailed research on the influence of birth order on human behavior and learning abilities in which the author mentioned that middle children are the trickiest ones to deal with. They usually feel deprived of attention and care because of younger and older siblings, therefore needing constant attention from parents.  However, most parents try to keep middle children engaged in different activities so they don’t feel attention deprived, which makes them creative and innovative.

As Adults:  As adults, middle children are stubborn and sometimes unreasonable. Although they are not perfectionists, they are extremely creative and have a different vision from others. Another quality of middle children which makes them stand out of the crowd is their sprit to strive for their right. They are usually quite straightforward and outspoken.

3. Last-Born

Youngest children not only receive attention and affection from their parents, but also from older siblings, which makes them quite demanding. Irrespective of their age, parents and other siblings always treat them as kids and this can impact their decision-making abilities.

As Adults:  As adults, they are usually careless and unorganized. Attention and care makes them self-centered and sometimes manipulative. However, they are fun-loving, innovative and have good learning abilities.

Aspects Influenced by Birth Order

The study Barnett (2013) 4 highlighted a number of aspects of adult life that are influenced by the birth order. Some of these aspects are:

1. IQ

First-borns usually have good reading habits and therefore have higher intelligence levels than other siblings. As adults, their ability to analyze various aspects of a problem makes them reliable decision makers.

2. Career Success

As youngest children are usually self-centered and ambitious they strive a lot for a successful career. However, a number of studies mentioned that career success and choice also depend on a number of factors, like competence, leadership abilities etc.

3. Decision-Making Abilities

As middle children usually don’t get adequate time from parents and learn to make decisions on their own from a very young age, they are usually brilliant decision makers. However, unlike first-borns they are not dominant and consult a number of people before making a move.

4. Marital Relationship

Usually middle children and first-borns are more understanding than the youngest ones. This is the reason that youngest children usually don’t lead content married lives, as they are usually rigid and have unrealistic expectations for their partner. 

Parenting Strategies

Pollet (2009) 5 mentioned in the study that it is very important for parents to understand the psychology of their children and adopt the right parenting strategy in accordance with their needs. It is also very important for parents to maintain a good age gap between children, so every child can receive adequate attention and affection from parents.


1. Leman K. (2009). The Birth Order Book: Why you are the way you are?

2. Varma S. (2013). What Birth Order Can Predict About You?

3. Griffin L. (2012). Born In Between the secret power of middle children

4. Barnett H. (2013). How your birth order affects your adult life?

5. Pollet TV. (2009). Birth order and adult family relationships: Firstborns have better sibling relationships than later-born?

About the Author

Christie Hunter

Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at -

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