Does birth order dictate bubba's personality?

To some extent, yes — and it gives you a handle on dealing with your littles!


Ever wondered how siblings can turn out as different as day and night?

Case in point: Princes William and Harry. Raised in the same environment, both move in similar social circles, yet the former is a quiet family man, while the latter is a cheeky bachelor whose exploits have provided much tabloid fodder. The answer may have to do with where the brothers sit in the family tree, experts say. They also agree that a child’s family position can determine how well he’ll do academically, the type of career he will choose, even the hobbies he has. Should we factor in our kids’ birth order as we parent?

“In this era of small, planned families, birth-order theory is more relevant than ever,” blogs birth-order expert Michael Grose, who wrote Why First-borns Rule the World and Last-borns Want to Change It. “When families are small and the age gap between siblings is two years or less, then…birth-order theory adds a clearly defined, easily identifiable dimension to children’s personality development.”

Concurs marriage and family therapist Dr Hana Ra Adams, “Birth order gives parents a lens to look at their child. But don’t parent too closely to it as it has the potential to limit a child.”

Learn how to make the most of your children’s unique personalities to help them succeed in life.

First Born/Only Child

Character traits 
The firstborn is usually more responsible with leadership traits. These kids, who tend to be smarter and more mature, are also more competitive, conscientious and rule-driven, Dr Adams notes.

If you have an only child, mum and dad are their closest role models, so they will try to emulate them. If they’re your firstborn, they’ll help mum and dad out with chores, “teach” younger siblings things, as well as “parent” them, which may help them better retain information.

Firstborn boys tend to be more competitive while their female counterparts are usually bossy.

This child feels the weight of their responsibilities, sometimes to the point of feeling anxious and pressured. Plus, they carries the burden of perfectionism, since all they want to do in life is please you, their parents, which may result in them taking things too seriously.

Firstborn boys tend to be more competitive while their female counterparts are usually bossy. “Only children also feel responsible for their parent’s emotions,” notes Cornelia Dahinten family coach and director of The Parent You Want To Be — Conscious Parenting Training and Playgroups, which organises parenting workshops and talks. “And this responsibility increases the longer they remain an only child.”

Nurture your nugget
So that they lighten up, try not to be too critical, breathe down their neck, or put pressure on them to perform at optimal levels all the time. Balance their responsibilities with privileges, such as a later bedtime or more play dates.

“Help your eldest develop coping strategies to manage anxiety, if he or she has any,” suggests Dr Adams. “Also encourage teamwork between siblings instead of expecting the older one to ‘teach’ or ‘parent’, so it doesn’t breed resentment between them.”

If you only have one child, make sure they spend time with other kids early on, so they doesn’t have any difficulty relating to his peers. “Sign them up for play dates and go on holidays with extended family,” Dahinten suggests.

How about the other kids?