The youngest is the most spoiled and the eldest kid is the most responsible: these are stereotypes about siblings, although they might be partly based on the truth. But according to science your place in the family says a lot more about your character than you might think. In the 1920s, Austrian psychologist Aldred Adler (who worked closely with Sigmund Freud) came up with with a theory about personality and birth order.
His theory was very simple: the order in which siblings are born influences their personality. So, are you the eldest, middle or youngest child of the family?
According to Adler, the birth order has the most influence on the eldest child. Initially, the eldest kid is an only child and gets all of his parents’ attention and love. Then a brother or sister arrives and their position changes drastically. This can lead to a feeling of inferiority and can influence their confidence; something they mostly struggle with during adulthood. There are positive sides, too, though. Eldest children are trusted with a lot of responsibility quite early on, which leads to them being good leaders later in life. Significant traits: perfectionistic, ambitious, responsible, caring, trustworthy, sometimes insecure.
The middle child gets a lot of attention, but isn’t as spoiled, according to Adler. The middle kid might try to ‘overthrow’ their older sibling and is very competitive. In a larger family the middle child might feel forgotten and less important than the eldest or youngest children. They’ll try to find ways to be seen and acknowledged and will be quite rebellious during puberty. In company, they’ll adapt quickly and they’ll always try to avoid conflict. Significant traits: social, great adaptability, avoids conflict, independent.
The youngest is the most ‘powerless’; their older siblings are allowed to do much more while the youngest is still strongly supervised by the parents. This can lead to anger and frustration. The youngest child is usually more spoiled than the older siblings, and this might cause problems with independence later on in life. With the youngest kid, the parents have already gotten the hang of parenting and have gotten much more relaxed. Because of this, youngest children are often easygoing and don’t worry a lot. Significant traits: charming, uncomplicated, manipulative, egocentric, social.