Birth order traits may only be myth

By Samantha Randol
October 18, 2007

MCT Campus

Growing up, there are many factors that help shape your personality. Did you ever think that one of those factors could be your birth order?

Up until high school, this though had never entered my mind. Then, I read an article in one of the various teen magazines I read at the time that was about the order in which you were born into in your family and personality traits. It had a list of personality traits for the oldest, middle and youngest children in a family, and only children.

In my family, I am the oldest with a younger brother. When I read the section about the traits that oldest children have, I laughed. It said things like oldest children are organized, leaders and punctual. I am probably one of the least organized people you will ever meet and I also have a problem with always being late. Then, when I read the characteristics for the youngest, I thought it described my brother perfectly. Of course, this article did not go in depth at all.

The thought of this had always been in the back of my mind throughout the rest of high school and into college. I found some more information and it made me think about it more. Does our birth order really help mold our personalities or is it just one of those things, like horoscopes, that are so generalized that it can apply to anyone?

Research has been done to investigate both sides of this issue. Some believe that birth order is a strong factor in developing your personality. Whereas others think that it has no real effect.

I think it has more to do with how your parents treat you as you are growing up. For me, my parents were a great deal stricter with me than they were with my brother. Such is also the case for some of my friends that are the oldest child in their families as well. It is said that first- borns are strong leaders, perfectionists, nurturing and competent. I think a lot of these characteristics stem from the fact that parents are usually stricter and harder on the first- born because they have never experienced raising a child before. Perhaps the nurturing part comes from helping to take care of the younger siblings that follow.

Defining ones personality through their birth order can be a lot like horoscopes. Horoscopes are so generalized that they can apply to anyone. The same can go for birth order. While I do have many of the traits first- borns are said to have, I also have a lot of the characteristics that the youngest have.

Looking at how something such as how birth order affects your personality is funny and entertaining. How you perceive its effects depends on whether you believe it strongly or does not affect your personality.

I think birth order can have an affect on your personality, but not in a huge way. There are so many factors that go into molding one’s personality as they are growing up. Birth order could just be one of those smaller factors that can make little differences. It is impossible to generalize a set of characteristics to an entire population, like saying all middle children have these characteristics.

It can still be fun to look at the lists and see what personality traits you have or do not have according to the order you were born. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.

Samantha Randol

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