How Birth Order Impacts Life Balance

kids-day-out-538639-mI have three children, and I have recently been reading about birth order and how it impacts us as children and adults.

I also realized that birth order may influence how we are able to handle some of the important areas in our lives as we strive to achieve life balance. Birth order can significantly influence personality. It can also factor into our communications skills, cognitive skills and decision-making abilities.

Some researchers say that birth order can be as important as genetics in shaping us. It’s not necessarily something we’re born with, but rather how our parents treat and raise us differently that influences so many aspects of our lives.

Here’s a quick rundown of what research says about your birth order:

FIRST BORN
First borns are more likely to be overly pampered and receive more attention from their parents during early childhood. They bask in their parents’ presence and sometimes act like mini-adults.

First borns tend to be:

  • Keen observers
  • Confident
  • Reliable leaders
  • Controlling
  • Achievers

MIDDLE CHILD
Middle children may feel left out because they aren’t the oldest or the youngest. They can be stubborn and sometimes unreasonable. They can also be extremely creative and see things differently than others. They can be quite straightforward and outspoken.

Middle children are often:

  • People-pleasers
  • Have a large social circle
  • Somewhat rebellious
  • Keep the peace
  • Want to make their mark

LAST BORN
The youngest children not only receive attention and affection from parents, but also from older siblings. The last born can be demanding. They are always treated as kids – no matter how old they are – and this can impact their decision-making ability.

The baby of the family can be:

  • Attention-seeker
  • Self-centered
  • Manipulative
  • Outgoing
  • Fun-loving

How can your birth order affect your ability to live a balanced life? Here’s how birth order may impact your personality, relationships and family dynamics.

Personality
If you are firstborn, you are probably a high achiever who seeks approval, dominates and is the perfectionist in the room. You are more likely to be in a leadership role at work. These traits may make it harder for you to find a balance between life and work. You may also struggle with getting caught up in the details rather than looking at the whole picture in order to find balance.

As a middle child, you are probably understanding, cooperative and flexible. Yet, you are competitive and concerned with a sense of fairness. You and your siblings will never excel at the same things. As the middle child, you will choose to do the opposite of your siblings. You may miss out on doing things you love out of stubbornness. You may spend time competing with others rather than focusing on what you need to do to find your own life balance.

If you’re the baby, you’ve had more freedom than your other siblings and have become more independent. You have a sense of place and security. Because your parents were more laid back with you, you may follow a more creative path, such as actor, writer, director or comedian. Since everyone took care of you, you tend to be less responsible and may make poor choices that can throw your life out of balance.

Relationships
When it comes to relationships with a spouse or friends, firstborns are reliable. On the downside, they may need to work on being more spontaneous and free-spirited. Firstborns also tend to want to be in complete control, which can come off as bossy to partners and friends.

Middle children like to get along and often make a very good romantic partner. They have been less spoiled and are willing to work together to create a more meaningful relationship. A middle child is more likely to pick an intimate circle of friends to help extend their family, since they may have lacked in attention when younger.

The youngest child is looking for fun and excitement. They are spontaneous, and this spontaneity can lead to problems in relationships. They may come off as unreliable and not accountable for their actions. The last born may be more manipulative of friends and their spouse, throwing relationships out of balance. Last borns are also least financially dependable, which can lead to money issues.

Family dynamics
The oldest child has to deal with the highest expectations and has tougher rules than those who come after him or her. This can put extra pressure on first borns. They may resent the next children because of the added pressure and the expectation to act as caretakers for younger siblings. The first and second born may team up against younger siblings, or may compete for their parents’ attention.

The middle child feels, well, caught in the middle. They are neither oldest or youngest. They may never feel good enough. Sometimes, the oldest and youngest will form a bond that doesn’t include the middle child. Middle children are big on fairness because they may have felt the levels of attention and expectations were out of balance when they were growing up.

The youngest is the peacemaker in the family and the comedian. They act as a clown to get attention or to smooth over rifts among family members. The older siblings may feel the youngest already gets more attention and is more spoiled.

I can see some of these birth order traits in myself (and my older brother), as well as in my three children. Birth order, and how it may have shaped your personality, is important to consider as you strive to achieve a more balanced life.

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