Are Birth Order Traits Accurate?

I'm the last-born in my family, which means that I should be a strong-willed, persistent story-teller who loves to make people laugh. Okay, fair enough. That sounds a lot like me. Until we get into the notion that I should be affectionate, which I'm not. Hrms.

Plus, according to some, I could also be considered an only child as my older brother is waaaay older than me. So really, where does that leave me? And what about my three kids? Is there anything to that birth order stuff?


My eldest is a first-born, joining the ranks of overachieving first-borns (almost all of the US Presidents were first-borns) everywhere. However, according to the research, the personality traits he's supposed to exhibit -- determination, organization, being a born leader -- don't fit. At all. They all resemble my middle child.

My middle son -- who is determined, organized, and the leader of my family -- is supposed to, according to the research, be a great negotiator who "rolls with it." Fact is, he's as rigid as a board. He's also the class clown of the house, which is not listed as one of his "traits." And negotiating? Forget about it.

My daughter, my youngest, resembles me in character -- irritatingly determined, persistent, and strong-willed. All great traits and a mixture of the three birth order types. She's the negotiator of the family -- the girl could sell snow to an Eskimo and knows it.

So what does that mean? Should I hold my breath for my eldest to be a US President or my youngest to become a slap-stick comedian?

Probably not.

Turns out that decades of research into birth order traits is inherently flawed because the research didn't take into account one extremely important detail: family size. Family size affects the amount of attention and resources each child receives -- a last-born in a family of two (like me) is bound to receive a whole lot more parental attention, time, and resources than someone who is a last-born of five.

So I'm going to forget about birth order traits. To me, they seem like horoscopes -- general enough to fit most, not exactly accurate.

What do YOU think about birth order? Do those personality traits fit you or your children?


Image via vastateparksstaff/Flickr

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