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Thread: Does being the oldest, middle or youngest child affect your personality?

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    Registered User bungatuffy's Avatar bungatuffy is offline
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    Does being the oldest, middle or youngest child affect your personality?

    If you're the first-born in the family, ever notice how you just can't help but offer helpful, if unsolicited, advice to your younger sibs? If you're a middle child, in between taking orders from your bossy older sis, do you always find yourself settling family arguments? And we all know what the youngest spends her time doing: goofing off and causing trouble. It's just common sense: the oldest child is responsible, the middle child is diplomatic, the baby of the family is the rebel – and the only child is spoiled for life. But is there any truth to these stereotypes? Does birth order really affect your personality?

    The short answer is, sort of. "Birth order doesn't determine personality," says Nina Howe, professor of early childhood and elementary education at Concordia University in Montreal. Personality is the result of a number of factors. Genetics, education, social and economic environment, and any number of life experiences all play a part in shaping who you are. In fact, Judith Rich Harris, a developmental psychologist based in New Jersey who published The Nurture Assumption in 1998, is one of many psychologists who don't buy the birth-order theory. Harris says our personalities are formed by a lot more than our family influences, including birth order. That's because children – especially teens – try to behave more like their peers than their families.

    So why do people think birth order has an effect? "Psychologists all agree that personality has something to do with what went on when you were a child," says Del Paulhus, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. And everyone has a family. One theory is that children seek to find their own niche in the clan. So siblings will work to differentiate themselves from each other, possibly falling into typical birth-order positions. Keep reading to see how your personality traits compare to those associated with particular birth-order positions.

    If you're the first in line...Oldest kids are the only child in the family for awhile, which is why first-borns share many personality traits with onlies. Their parents are new to the game so tend to have high expectations, which drives first-borns to achieve at all costs. Growing up in Montreal, Isabelle Bonsaint had dreams of being a fashion designer until her parents discouraged her. "They said it was fine as a leisure activity, but for a career you need something solid," says Bonsaint, now 30. She obliged – typical first-born behaviour – and sacrificed her dreams. Instead, she opted for psychology, a field she knew little about (but has since grown to love). Oldest kids stick to the family rules. They tend to be conservative, responsible, status-conscious and – due to the praise parents lavish upon them for following the rules – self-confident.

    If you're stuck in the middle...Chloe Stuart knows what that's all about. The 32-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., is the second-born of three girls. She says she's the typical middle child – good-natured and empathetic. "I've always been the peacemaker in the family," she says. "I hate discord." When she does see a fight, Chloe says she plays the diplomat, listening carefully to each side and then trying to get the parties to see common ground.

    If you're bringing up the rear...The last-born have to find a way to assert their individuality. "You already have an environment created for you," says Alison Morley, 29, an administrator at the University of Toronto and the youngest child of two. "You have to find your own way to navigate it." Younger children tend to be a little more rebellious, a little less authoritarian, and more likely to take risks – because they know they can get away with it. The babies of the family are also known for their agreeable and affectionate natures.

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    F.G.I de cupcake criminal trini2bk's Avatar trini2bk is offline
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    Im the oldest but get treated as the baby. The youngest gets treated as the oldest. The Middle one he own way.

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    Registered User stacey12003's Avatar stacey12003 is offline
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    Unhappy

    I think the eldest tends to have a more controlling personality because they always had to lookk out for the others ....There is that I am older i know better tendency ....The middle child is neither here nor there they are usually very passive and the last has a very strong personality .. In a sense wanting to show the others that they can be dominant and stand on their own and don't need any advice..The last child grows up faster and is usually smartere since they are exposed to the older sibllings behavior and teachings ...

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    IMIX ATTORNEY GENERAL Trinibaje's Avatar Trinibaje is offline
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    I was sitting somewhere watching this little boy play with some toys and my friend had asked him what the toys were and he told us, but didn't want us to touch the toy... so i said to my friend he must be an only child. So we asked his mother, and sure enough, he was.

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    Welcome to Roti Bell. Agony's Avatar Agony is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by stacey12003
    I think the eldest tends to have a more controlling personality because they always had to lookk out for the others ....There is that I am older i know better tendency ....The middle child is neither here nor there they are usually very passive and the last has a very strong personality .. In a sense wanting to show the others that they can be dominant and stand on their own and don't need any advice..The last child grows up faster and is usually smartere since they are exposed to the older sibllings behavior and teachings ...
    You would think? But not so in my family. I'm the eldest and I wish the other two would have learned from some of the jack-ass-ness I've done. But oh NO! They fought tooth and nail to commit their own jack-ass-ness, because "Well, he did it too!" I have to be on the other two trying to get them to see the bigger picture that is life. They like playing the "everbody can't be like < insert name />" card.

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    Habitual Line Stepper illuminati's Avatar illuminati is offline
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    i am the youngest and people always ask me if i am the oldest. then i tell them, my 2 brothers turned 30 and lost their damn minds...

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