Personality&Birth Order



Why children have different personality in a family? They living in the same environment, some children even share the same genes. However, the order of they came to this world decided the character of each one.

In recent years, the Harvard University historian and psychologist Frank Sulloway, tested this argument in 894 scientists, 893 members of the French National Assembly, 62 leaders of the reform movement in the United States, as well as 700 people of the Protestant Reformation in Europe in order to use this theory to more areas.

Sulloway suggested, the eldest children are more diligent, responsible and conservative, they tend to be successful in life; later-born children are more likely to accept radical and innovative thinking and more likely to become rebels. For many parents, this theory sounds true. The author of the book Sibling Rivalry, Dr. Richard Wolfson -a child psychologist, said: "There is evidence show that birth order do influences personality, and common sense tells us this is true. Sulloway leads this theory to an extreme. "

Sulloway concluded that the point is that the eldest children treated with favour from parents, they tend to maintain the status so that they respect for authority. Sulloway said in an interview on the Internet: in general, the eldest children tend to prepared work diligently, and do better at school.

The later-born child have more difficult task, since the duty of responsible in the family has been taken by their older brother/sister, they either to compete for this position, or choose another way to find suitable position to avoid direct competition in their family. Sulloway said: "later-born children are more likely to accept radical innovation in the field of science and social.

I think people believe the theory because it is happened in real life, and we can confirm that in ourselves' family. Even there is some special case, the idea still supported by majority.


Interesting post: I always wondered what would have happened if my siblings and me had born in a different order. I think that many times birth order might affect personality in the way parents treat their children. I think the older child often has more freedom than the others, but the parents learn from raising the first born that there may be a better way to raise their younger children, and that leads to more over-protected kids born later into the family. It's an interesting thing to research for sure.

This blog was very interesting. I never thought of birth order having an influence on personality until studying psychology and some of the traits make sense, such as being diligent and responsible. This kind of a theory makes me curious, being that I am an only child, on what kind of an influence on my personality I do not experience because of the fact that I do not have siblings.

Very interesting post. I've always heard of small little "myths" about birth order, such as "middle child syndrome," but the fact that there is actual scientific backing to some claims about birth order is really interesting. However, I would also be interested in how number of siblings would affect the traits, as I am an only child and am not really sure how much those personality traits for "first-born" are accurate descriptions of me (I'm not saying that I think that these traits apply to everyone, I was just making a point).

I found this very interesting. I have read other things about personality and how it relates to which child you are but I can even see these differences in my family. Although there are a few families who are different, i think a majority would follow this pattern.

I never actually believed that birth order had a significant effect on personality until I studied it in this course. I have noticed that the personality traits given through birth order are very apparent in many families I know, even in my own! As the oldest sibling, I have been more diligent in my studies and responsibilities around the house compared to my younger sibling who tends to get in to a lot of trouble and gets grounded frequently.

I have to say I agreed with Sulloway's theory. My brother and I would be perfect for him. I, as most people can see, and the one who practically raised him when my mother was out dating after she left my father. I was responsible for him, cooking, some cleaning, and making sure the house didn't burn down (I was about 9-10 years old). I am obviously the older sibling between me and him, and I hold the position of being the most responsible and independent, and not just because I am in college. I have always been the one to make sure the house is clean when my mom came home from work, to make sure dinner was made if she was working late, etc. My step dad wouldn't even help with cleaning or cooking if my mom wasn't home. Although I am definitely NOT the favoured one of the family, I am clearly the most responsible, independent, etc. My grades have also always been higher than his, he also has a small problem with anger management. I feel as if I will always hold the position I have today because my brother really makes no attempt to do better at much of anything.

This article makes a lot of sense to me. My family pretty much follows these exact guidelines. The only thing I can see wrong with this is that it's hard to judge who is the more responsible one because the kids are never the same age. This study seems like there is a high chance to show some sort of bias.

I think the concept of birth order and personality traits being correlated is very interesting. There are many times I can observe this among other families I'm close with, but it's clear that the generalizations are just that. My older brother definitely doesn't fit the mold of Sulloway's first-born traits, and while some of the younger-sibling traits do apply to myself, not all of them do. While there may be some truth to his theories, I would venture to say that one can't predict a child's personality based largely on birth order.

Interestingly, this phenomenon is not true for my family. And I don't see it very much in my friend's families either. I feel like gender also has something do to with it. If a family already has a boy and girl, then the boys and girls born afterwards have to compete with their oldest sibling of the same sex. I'm the only girl in my family with two brothers, and I'm the middle child. I'm definitely more responsible nd more independent than my older brother. I've always had the better grades. He struggles with having the drive to do anything. Now my younger brother is the complete opposite as my older brother, so there really isn't any competition there. And my mom doesn't put the pressure on him to be like my older brother. Personally, in the different family situations I know, including my own, I disagree with Sulloway's claim.

When I think about my older brother and me, this can be somewhat true because i'm way more creative than my brother and he's more like a diligent and smart one. But I don't think this can be totally true. One of my best friend is a second child but she is much smarter than her older sister and I think her older sister is much more creative than my best friend. So I doubt that this theory (the eldest ones are diligent, responsible, and conservative and later-born children are more innovative)is accurate enough to really confirm if it's true or not.

I think birth order has some influence to personality. I am oldest and I have one younger brother. However, I seek some authority from my younger brother and more diligent than him. Morover, my grades were much better than my brother. Also, most people can guess the order of others in the family which means that,it is quite easy to guess a person is oldest or not.

I agree with your opinion and Sulloway's theory. I am a first-born child in my family. I think I really tried hard to get a good score when I was in high school, and even when I did little bit worse, I really worried and cheered up agian. However, my sister feels free for various sistuation, and actually she doesn't really focus on her school grade. Also, she prefers what she wants do to at that time. I also have a personality that I am not a diligent person and procrastinate until the work I have to do becomes emergent, but as you said majority of Sulloway's theory is right.

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This page contains a single entry by guoxx336 published on April 22, 2012 3:39 PM.

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