You Are Your Birth Order

Birth Order and Personality

I clipped this a long time ago from a paper, but I’m not sure where but it may have been from The Boston Parent Paper.  I also read The Birth Order Book:  Why You Are What You Are by Dr. Kevin Leman because it was kind of fun to see what traits are associated with birth order.  One caveat, if there are large gaps between ages, the birth order gets switched around.  For example, if the youngest child has a ten-year gap between his two older siblings, this child is really an “only child.”  Likewise, a middle child of three girls is a true middle child but a middle child of girl, girl, boy is ALSO the youngest girl.

Take this quiz to see to what degree classic birth-order characteristics run in your family.  (This is a pretty accurate description of my three kids, give or take a few!).

What do you think? Does this ring true to you? Please share in the comments below.

  • Responsible
  • Conservative
  • Doesn’t make waves
  • Follows parents’ wishes
  • Emotionally intense
  • Authoritarian
  • Perfectionist
  • Driven
  • Surrogate parent
  • Leadership material


  • Peacemaker
  • Negotiator
  • Highly attuned to the needs of others
  • Doesn’t like to follow authority
  • Creative
  • Independent
  • Peer-focused
  • “Chameleon”


  • Comical/entertaining
  • Highly social
  • Laid back
  • Dependent
  • Creative
  • Unconventional
  • Few expectations of self

First Born Children

  • The first-born child is usually the child with the most attention directed at him/her. This common event is part of the reason this particular child turns out the way he/she does. There are two typical types of first born children, compliant and aggressive.  Common Traits: Energetic, Logical, Ambitious, Enterprising, Scholarly
  • Compliant Traits: People Pleasers, Crave Approval, Nurturers, Caregivers, Reliable, Concientious, Cooperative, Team Players, “Grin and bear it” mentatlity
  • Aggressive Traits: Movers and shakers, Natural leaders, Perfectionists, Driven, Conventional, Always have things under control, Assertive, Want things their way

Fun Facts

  • Famous first born children: Walter Conkrite, Dan Rather, Oprah Winfrey, Rush Limbaugh and Arsenio Hall
  • More than 1/2 of the U.S. Presidents were first born children
  • 21 of the 23 first astronauts were first born children
  • 2/3 of entrepreneurs are first born children

Strengths V.S. Weaknesses

Category Strengths Weaknesses
Traits Greater level of confidence, taken seriously, patient, organized, strong powers of concentration, confidence to dream and plan, feel supported, and feel they will be respected for what they do. Have an innate fear of being dethroned, perfectionists, overachievers, feel as though they are never good enough, tend to be selfish with possesions and attention.
Career Often choose careers that require a high degree of precision such as: law, medicine, computer programming, or architecture, no gray area in work field, in control, often the boss or owner of company. Do not like to be told what to do, have a hard time with creative projects, do not work well with no direction, do not gravitate towards jobs such as: sales, advertising, art, or music, as there is no structure, or stability in these careers.

Middle Children

Middle children are quite often the most difficult children to both read and to raise. Middle children are quite often referred to as the “Mysterious Middle Child”, this is due in large part to the fact that there are two types of middle born children. These two types of middle borns are not as clearly defined as the two types of first borns. They do not possess simple ”names”, therefore for confusion’s sake we will refer to them as Middle Born #1 and Middle Born #2.

Middle Born #1:  Loner, Quiet Shy, Impatient, Uptight

Middle Born #2: Outgoing , Friendly, Loud, Laid back, Patient

Middle born children are quite difficult to pin down, however they tend to be the opposite of their older sibling. There are however, a few characteristics that both types of middle born share.

Common Traits:

  • Flexible
  • Diplomatic
  • Rebellious
  • Attention seeking
  • Competitive
  • Peacemakers

Strengths V.S. Weaknesses

Category Strengths Weaknesses
Traits Peacmakers, mediators, able to keep secrets, not spoiled, take risks, are realistic, get along well with others, read people well, independent, loyal to supporters, competitive, and imaginative. Hates confrontation, stubborn, cynical, suspicious, and rebellious.
Careers Choose careers that allow them to be creative such as: sales, art, advertising, or a career that requires negotiating, well suited for management because of level headedness, and the ability to be unbiased. Do not do well with a heirarchy system, don’t like strict rules, prefer to work at their own pace, and therefore may not complete tasks on time, do not work well with details, do not work well with cut and dry material, prefer to make things more creative than needed.

Fun Facts

  • Famous middle born children: Donald Trump, Ted Kennedy, Tim Allen, Julia Roberts, and Rosie O’Donnell
  • Love to stand out
  • Want to “do their own thing”

Last Born Children

Last born children tend to be the easiest to define when it comes to the correlation between birth order and personality, this is mostly due to the fact that there is only one main type of last born.

Last Born Traits

  • Risk takers
  • Idealists
  • Good sense of humor
  • Hard working
  • Immature
  • Attention seeking
  • Secretive
  • Sensitive

Last born children are often considered the baby of the family, and live up to this role. At times it is difficult for the last born child to find his/her place in the family, as the first and middle child have already left huge footprints to follow in, and carved their own niche into the family.

Strengths V.S. Weaknesses

Category Strengths Weaknesses
Traits Outgoing, sociable, affectionate, caring, creative, empathetic, and confident. Spoiled, manipulative, immature, self-centered, and capricious.
Career Careers in sales, or invention corporations work well because of their ability to sell things, including themselves, work well alone, want to be the boss, and just do their own thing at their own pace. Do not like to be tied down to committment, can be perceived as “cut throat”, try too hard at times, alternative routes in life may make them the odd man out.

Fun Facts

  • Famous last born children: Howard Stern, Jay Leno, Ralph Nadar, Bill Gates, and Danny DeVito
  • Tend to go against the norm
  • Make the biggest stirs in life
  • Know no boundaries

Only Children

Only Traits

  • Mature faster
  • Get along well with older people
  • Responisible
  • Self-Centered
  • Perfectionists
  • Attention seekers
  • Use adult language
  • Prefer adult company
  • Have difficulty sharing

Only children are a special type of birth order, in the sense that they are capable of being any of the three “main” types of birth order. However, most of these only children do possess characteristics commonly associated with the aggressive first born child.

Only children are often referred to as “First Borns in Triplicate”, this is due to the fact that these children are extreme versions of first born children. Onlies, as they are affectionately called, tend to be an extrememist in all aspects of life.

Strengths V.S. Weaknesses

Category Strengths Weaknesses
Traits Trust their own opinion, prompt, ambitious, enterprising, energetic, set goals, good problem solvers, and ambitious. Self-Centered, fearful of trying new things, criticize themselves and others, worry too much, feel they are always right, inflexible, and too busy to see the big picture.
Career Choose careers similar to those of first born children such as: law, medicine, and architecture. Like black and white concepts and often prefer to work alone or be the boss, which accounts for their success. Do not like to be told what to do, often stray from team work situations, or take too much of the responsibility. May not respond well to criticisism, and therefore may not improve on areas that are flawed.

Fun Facts

  • Famous only children include: Nancy Reagan, Chelsea Clinton, Carol Burnett, and Ted Koppel


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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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