This has been a topic of interest in psychology and the science community as a whole. There are more than 2000 studies that have been done for close to a century on the topic. Ernst and Angst (researchers on the topic in 1983) believed that the findings for the research done might have just been artifacts that were not real when you consider the socioeconomic status and the size of the family. Another researcher on the topic named Sulloway disputed this and argued the competition for investments of the parents led to niches being formed in the family that was the result of birth order.
In the family, the first child is likely to receive more of the parent’s time and financial investment and carve their niches in the family system. Firstborns also have a likelihood to adopt the ideals of the parents and are more motivated to meet the expectations of their parents. In the absence of the parents, firstborns tend to play the parental role. When compared to later-born the firsts usually are inclined to the thoughts, preferences, and values of their parents. They tend to be more conscientious, take up responsibility, are driven to succeed, and attain academic success. They are more traditional and have more conservative views on life. They tend also to be the preachers of morality.
According to Sulloway the most difficult process for the later-born is to find a niche that is not what an older sibling already occupies. Later born seem to be more distant from their parents and tend to be bullied by the older siblings. The fact that they are bullied makes them more likely as Solloway emphasized to identify with the downcast and to support movements for social change. They tend to question the status quo and are resistant to authorities. They are usually the rebels in the family
We have been able to see the different views on personality changes in families as a result of birth order. With the opposing views on personality and its changes as a result of birth order a being debatable topic, how influential can it really be?
What do you think about the personalities of the members of the family? Do they have specific characteristics that are distinct to each or is this topic somewhat flawed?
In the next post, we will be talking about Sulloway’s theories that ignited new research.