By Muna Agwa

The date was July 31, 2008, on cool summer afternoon in Ireland: I was officially no longer an only child. The unique and rare, but very permanent addition of a younger sister was apart of my life now. The next time this would happen would be on a chilly January night, when my even younger brother was born. I can’t help but think that some of the noticeable differences between my siblings and I might be because of our birth order, so in this article, I’ll explore the possible effects birth order might have on someone.

A child’s birth order can affect how parents raise the child. For example, the firstborn child was the parents first time caring for a child, and many say that this might cause parents to set a lot more restrictions on the eldest, because they are learning what does and doesn’t work for parenting. As a result, there might be some general personality differences between siblings on the basis of birth order. Keep in mind that there are many different things that come together to shape a person’s personality, and birth order is just one of them.

Oldest Child

Oldest children are classified as the go-getters of their families. They are known to be skillful leaders, possess maturity beyond their years, and stick to the status quo. Firstborn children are critical thinkers, they like to set goals and see linear progress. Between the regular stresses of life itself and high parental expectations, they are also likely to experience the most anxiety out of their siblings. This might also come from the idea that many cultures around the world put emphasis on being firstborn, because they are usually the first in line to an inheritance or expected to place highest out their siblings in lifetime accomplishments. 

In addition to that, oldest siblings are characterized by being the bossiest, and don’t play nice when it comes to sibling rivalries. In a study at the University of Illinois, it was found that siblings between ages 3 and 7 might dispute in some sort of way approximately 3.5 times an hour. Again, more long term research needs to be done, but 36% of polled siblings say that they became closer to their siblings over time.

Middle Child

Middle children are known as the social butterflies of their families. They tend to connect with outsiders the easiest in comparison to their other siblings. They are also talented negotiators. This might be because they don’t usually get their way, and so they must be prepared to form fact-based arguments for why they should have their way. They are the best at compromising, and they are more patient from having to wait to be able to the things that their older sibling(s) are allowed to do. 

Middle children might deal with self esteem issues the most, from a feeling 

Fifty two percent of U.S. president were middle children. This statistic isn’t surprising though, considering a middle child’s ability to reach agreements faster. 

Youngest Child

Last borns are known to be the stars of the family. Statistically, they shine bright in being able to read emotions and connecting with the people around them. Younger siblings might initially follow the examples set by doing the things their older siblings do. Many professional athletes are younger siblings, and a common theme in many of their stories is that they started their sport because their older siblings did it.

In a paper published by the Journal of Drug Issues, researchers were looking at how younger siblings might be inclined to fall into the habit of drinking if their older siblings drink regularly, and their findings said that they were twice as likely to develop that habit. Younger siblings were four times more likely to smoke if their older siblings did too. All this comes to show how younger siblings are good followers, and great givers of advice.


  • Eisenman, Russell. “Birth Order and Personality.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health, 2019. EBSCOhost,,ip,url,custuid&custid=infohio.
  • Hartmann, Corinna, and Sara Goudarzi. “Does Birth Order Affect Personality?” Scientific American Mind, vol. 30, no. 6, Nov. 2019, p. 18. EBSCOhost,,ip,url,custuid&custid=infohio.
  • Kluger, Jeffrey, et al. “The New Science of SIBLINGS.” TIME Magazine, vol. 168, no. 2, July 2006, p. 46. EBSCOhost,,ip,url,custuid&custid=infohio.
  • Thomson, Helen. “Last but Not Least.” New Scientist, vol. 243, no. 3239, July 2019, pp. 42–45. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/s0262-4079(19)31335-1.