First kid, the smartest one?

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I found the studies about birth order are really interesting. Alfred Adler was one of the first theorists to suggest that birth order influences personality. He argued that birthHe argued that birth order can leave an indelible impression on an individual's style of life, which is one's habitual way of dealing with the tasks of friendship, love, and work. According to Adler, firstborns are "dethroned" when a second child comes along, and this may have a lasting influence on them. Younger and only children may be pampered and spoiled, which can also affect their later personalities. Besides, Frank Sulloway suggests that birth order has strong and consistent effects on the Big Five personality traits. He argues that firstborns are more conscientious, more socially dominant, less agreeable, and less open to new ideas compared to laterborns.
For my personal experience, firstborns tend to be more responsible and wise. They have younger brothers and/or sisters, so they need to help their parents to take care of brothers and sister. Their parents will tend to pay more attention on younger kids, because they think older kids is more mature. And I think it is more obvious in my culture, Asia. In history, first boy must inherit the family. As a result, the parents will demand that the first boy is the best. Although, it's not like what in the past, many people still think that the firstborn should be the best. People believe that first kid must be a good example for younger brothers and/or sisters.
I also found a website that has a lot of information about firstborn.
Here is the website.


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I'd agree that firstborns and the babies of the family do at times exhibit these expected personality traits. However, I feel like the frequency which we perceive them to correlate is higher than it may actually be - perhaps the confirmation bias coming out in us. I personally know many individuals who defy the stereotypical firstborn and baby.

I tend to agree with you and the studies that show that the first born is usually more responsible and wise and typically the "best" child. However, I also think that today's culture is starting to raise their kids to more of equals than they had in the past. I personally don't see many parents demanding that the first boy is the best nor do I see the first boy 'inheriting the family' as much anymore. I think our society is starting to veer away from that frame of mind and more toward equality.

I would have to disagree with all of Adler's assumptions about personality traits in firstborns. Though there may be a trend supporting it, I would definitely consider myself an outlier. I am a first born and am lower in conscientiousness high in agreeableness and open to experience. I found that despite my younger siblings receiving more attention initially, I was the first grandchild for both of my grandparents and have always received somewhat special treatment. The worst part about being the firstborn is being a guinea pig for your parents rules and parenting styles and watch them slowly move away from them when your younger siblings are older

Interesting blog post! I'm not sure if I agree with Alder's theory about the first-born, because that's not my situation, but it does vary with different families, cultures, and personality traits. It's a interesting thought that the older sibling gains more respect from the parents and in turn is more responsible, but at the same time less agreeable.

I'll have to agree and disagree. I do agree that firstborn children are usually more responsible and that the youngest is usually more spoiled. However, I don't think that it affects personality greatly. In my own experience, I have seen more responsible younger siblings. I think this theory originates due to the fact the there are many cases in where the younger child is spoiled, while the older child had to deal with stricter rules.

I found your post very interesting. When this was discussed in lecture I was very surprised. I knew environmental aspects could have an effect on intelligence but I did not know birth order could have an effect! I agree with you that birth order can influence personalities. Its interesting to see this with researched facts. I guess the argument of nature vs. nurture continues to be strong.

I also tend to agree that the oldest child tends to normally be the more responsible/intelligent. I think this is because they don't have older siblings they are trying to be like. I also think it may be because the older children feel an obligation to set a good example for the younger siblings! Overall, great job with this blog!

I think this is an interesting topic for sure. In my family I would definitely say that my older brother is the most intelligent, but I wouldn't say he is the wisest. He tends to make a lot of mistakes that I wouldn't consider wise, and although I think it is definitely a difficult task for the oldest child, it completely depends on the family for how they will behave and if they will be wise. I agree with a lot of your points though, great blog.

Seriously good post and super interesting. I would have to tend to disagree though with his beliefs. I learned about this in high school too and even then I found myself thinking wow I know way to many people who are not what this theory says they should be. In my own case, my oldest sibling is the complete opposite. In fact every sibling I have defies the normal rules for their birth order personalities. I do think that it can explain some things but I think people and culture have changed so much that this is not a super accurate thing anymore.

Very exciting post, I enjoy that you posted your opinion and experience to be open for people to read and respond on. This might knock you a little though, but I'm a younger sibling and I'm going to graduate college before my older sibling does. A lot of the time the younger sibling will have already seen the older sibling experience something, and be able to do the same experience with improvement when done for themselves. Learning is a powerful tool, and while the older sibling might be more genetically 'well made' they may not have the benefit of prior experiences to build off of.

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This page contains a single entry by lixx1555 published on April 22, 2012 11:37 PM.

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