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Has anyone in your family ever said that you’re too bossy? Or have you ever wondered why you have a hard time being assertive? If these types of questions have crossed your mind about your family, there is a very good reason for it. Various personality traits can often arise out of birth order.

The order in which you were born does indeed greatly impact your personality. This is true so much so that researchers have been able to identify several unique traits held by first born children, middles, last born children and only children. Below you will find the traditional and most common characteristics that are held by each birth order.

First Borns

First borns have a tendency towards perfectionism. Their primary influence are parents who are new parents and as such invest anxiously in trying to do everything right. The result is that the first born takes this way of being upon him or herself.

First borns usually interact well with adults in general even when they are kids. First borns have a tendency to be overly cautious. They like to be in control over things. They are often worriers. They hold a belief that they are more competent than other people and they thereby take on a lot of responsibility. First borns work diligently. They tend to be Type “A” personality. They like to achieve and excel. First born are usually high achievers in all areas – professionally, in school and even in appearances.

Characteristics of First Borns:

  • motivated
  • conscientious
  • controlling
  • cautious
  • reliable
  • perfectionist
  • achiever
  • leader
  • bossy
  • responsible

Middle Borns

Middle borns are any children that are not first born and not last born. So even the 4th, 5th or 6th child, if not last born, is categorized as a middle child. Middle born children come into families where there is an already established familial personality. The older sibling is already present. So this means that at their birth and growing up, there is already one or more senior siblings around that assume responsibility, in addition to the parents. By the time the middle child is born, the parents are typically more relaxed and less nervous in their parenting with middle kids.

Middle children often play off of the behavior of the first born or the older siblings. Unlike first borns, middle children usually don’t have a pull towards perfectionism. Instead, middles feel they need to earn their place within the family so they seek a way to gain recognition. Middles tend to be creative in their ways to earn attention. They often feel they don’t get enough attention and this can cause some heartbreak for middles. They may sometimes be rebellious.

Middles are adaptive, creative and versatile. They typically make good friends and have great social skills.

Traits of Middle Borns:

  • social
  • can be rebellious
  • feels left out
  • peacemaker
  • adaptable
  • independent
  • go-between
  • people-pleaser

Last Borns

The last borns have parents that are very much more relaxed in their attention and care. The last born child often receives and enjoys attention in the form of being called cute. Lasts are usually creative in their attempts to find ways to get attention, including getting the sympathy of others. They tend to be natural charmers.

Last borns also tend to be free spirits. They go with the flow – that is how they are raised. Lasts like adventure and are more likely to take risks. They do not usually concern themselves with details such as remembering birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Rather, last borns enjoy life as it comes.

What can be difficult for last borns is that they often feel that what they do is not special. The first and middles have already done what they do. It can feel like it was more special when the older children did it than when the last born does it. Things are simply not met with the same enthusiasm as when the first (or middle) born did it.

Traits of Last Borns:

  • manipulative
  • seeks attention
  • self-centered
  • social
  • charming
  • outgoing
  • uncomplicated
  • fun

The Only Child

The only child often has many of the same traits as the first born. This pattern, however, is usually intensified throughout there lives with no other children for the parents to divide their attention with.  The result of this can manifest in perfectionism or the need to achieve. They can be very sensitive to criticism.

The only child is often very comfortable with adults and older people. Only children are used to being the center of attention. They often seek approval, focus on details and have a hard time relaxing. These characteristics sometimes interfere with personal happiness in life, even though they are typically reap great rewards professionally.

Traits of Only Children:

  • confident
  • conscientious
  • responsible
  • perfectionist
  • center of attention
  • seek approval
  • sensitive
  • mature for their age
  • leader

Why does this happen?

The factors that impact these characteristics has little or nothing to do with DNA and everything to do with the relationship between the parents toward the child as well as the siblings toward one another and how this plays out within the family dynamics.

Adopted People

It does not matter what order the adopted child was born of his or her mother, rather, the placement within their adopted family will determine their personality traits.

Gap Babies

Note that when there are large gaps between children, they may take on the role of a first born, rather than a middle or last born.