How Birth Order Impacts Kids

Each child in your family has a unique personality, and you probably know what that is. But did you know your child’s birth order also impacts who he or she is and how he or she behaves? In The Birth Order Book, psychologist Kevin Leman explains how.

Oldest Children

Oldest children are usually leaders. As Leman says, if you’re not a firstborn, you probably know one. He may be a presidential candidate. She may be your CEO or your doctor. They tend to be perfectionists and can be bossy—but can also be nurturing and eager to please.

Middle Children

Middle children are chameleons. Leman explains they’re likely to go in opposite directions from the sibling directly above them. If your oldest excels in school, your middle kid might be an athlete. If the oldest is an athlete or scholar, the middle kid may be musical. Middle children are usually social and team players.

Youngest Children

Youngest children are often the charmers, born performers, and people pleasers. None of this is bad; these traits help them make lasting connections with people. Youngest kids are also used to being coddled, so they may seem a little spoiled even as adults. Some of them will try to out-achieve older siblings, while others are content to be the family “mascot.”

Only Children

In Leman’s words, take all the traits of a firstborn and turn them way up, and you have an only child. These kids often act like little adults because they grow up primarily around adults. They’re sometimes loners (but not always) and may have to work harder at getting along in groups.

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