Because firstborns are the center of Mom's and Dad's universe, their intelligence is stimulated and they have higher IQs which, in turn, enhances school success resulting in higher incomes. They are likely to pursue more intellectual careers and earn about $100,000 more annually than their siblings. Their success comes with a price. They lean toward Type A personalities. They drive themselves mercilessly because of their intense fear of failure. Firstborns are inflexible, don't cut themselves much slack, are intensely well-organized and they stick to the "straight and narrow". They are leaders. Fully have of all Nobel Prize winners and presidents have been firstborns. John Lennon, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and Hillary Clinton are firstborns.
I like to refer to firstborns as the "experimental" children because parents are novices at being parents. Yes, by the time the next kid comes along, parents are more confident, but because each child is different with varying needs and personality styles, each child ends up being "experimental" as parents play "catch up" refining their approaches. Three kids mean three different parenting approaches and subsequently, even more creative strategies to address the interactions between the kids. Wonder why you're exhausted???
Firstborns receive a steady stream of encouragement for their every accomplishment. Teach them that it's OK to fail and that mistakes are for learning.
Professions associated with the middle child typically require "people skills" which lead them to nursing, law enforcement and other professional service fields. They earn $40,000 or less per year than their older and younger sibs.
To offset their birth position, empower and celebrate them a bit more. They don't need much! And, just because Jeff is a middle child, don't think his fate is set in stone. Abraham Lincoln, David Letterman, Jennifer Lopez, Bill Gates and Britney Spears are all "middles"!
Lastborns have social personalities and are agreeable. They, too, learn to "float along" like the middle kids. They are free-spirited, unconventional, are physical risk-takers and adventurous. Just when parents are exhausted from the first two children, they get a "wild thing" for the third!
The lastborns suffer, though. They question their worth. Because Mom and Dad have "seen it already", the accomplishments of the lastborns are not celebrated or seem original and parents do not react with as much enthusiasm and genuine pleasure as they did with the firstborn. Because parents are busy with so many other family responsibilities, the lastborn is the least disciplined and the least self-disciplined. The standards for them seem to be lower and they know it. Their role as "the baby" allow them to manipulate others and they "skate". Don't let them get away with this! Be aware of this tendency for them not carry their own weight and focus on personal responsibility.
Because they are artistic and creative, lastborns gravitate toward jobs in sales, marketing and advertising as well as the performance arts. They earn the least of their siblings.
Lastborns may become depend adults who are unprepared for the world, but that is not the case with Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Jim Carrey, Halle Berry or Margaret Thatcher.
So, what about twins? Even though the first child to be born is the "first" by only a few minutes, they have the characteristics of a firstborn and the 2nd born acts younger.
If there is a 5-year gap between one child and another, it's as if the birth order dynamics "start over". So, if Joey is 5 and his sister is 11, he'll have the characteristics of a firstborn.
If Susie is the first girl even though she's the third child, she is likely to demonstrate traits of a firstborn. If Sam is the 4th child, but is the first son, he is likely to behave like a firstborn.
There are so many factors that go into making up a child's personality, their school performance, their career choice and their ultimate success in life. Birth order is just one. Think about the birth order of your family members. Does your older sister "fit" the firstborn profile? What about you? Your younger twin brothers, perhaps? Although the concepts presented here are research-based, there's likely to be a bit of real-life truth in here somewhere. It's important to know "what has been observed in others" in order to minimize the "unintended consequences". I like to think of it as "controlling the controllable". There's so much that's out of our control that it's nice to think we can have a bit of power in shaping our children's lives.
Have fun! Claudia
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