Grounded on Alfred Adler’s classification of the birth order (oldest, middle, youngest and lonely) (Al-Khayat & Al-Adwan, 2016), the article asserts personality traits including family and social relations to no small extent are influenced by birth order.
1st Main point: Birth order describes the position of an individual among his or her siblings.
Birth order affects the role and responsibilities of an individual among his or her siblings regarding treatment and care; therefore, it has the potential to influence their activities and subsequently character traits and personality.
Studies indicate that there is a difference between parents regarding raising and treating their children according to their birth order (Al-Khayat & Al-Adwan, 2016). Research asserts that the oldest child often receives the highest and most reliable care and motivation from the parents, the last child comes second regarding attention from parents while the middle children are ranked as children that receive the least consideration.
Since parents treat and raise their children according to their birth order, it is likely that each child (oldest, youngest, middle and lonely) will develop behaviors and character traits that collaborate their position.
2nd Main point: Even though many siblings are brought up in the same family and the same environment, their characteristics are unlikely to be similar.
Indeed, research postulates that the eldest child tends to be more conservative often influenced by the perception of love and leadership while the youngest child in the family tends to be more competitive and subsequently more successful compared to his or her siblings (Al-Khayat & Al-Adwan, 2016). The middle child, on the other hand, illustrates the traits of self-dependence and in many cases more social compared to the first and the last children (Ha & Tam, 2011).
The difference in character traits despite being brought up in the same environment reflects the undeniable influence of birth order on personality.
3rd Main point: Although birth order has an evident influence on personality trait, various factors impact birth order and its association with character including the fact that each family is subjected to different social, economic and genetic factors.
For instance, Rohrer, Egloff, and Schmukle (2015) concentrated on the impact of gender on birth order and subsequently personality traits and affirmed that sex has no substantial influence on character traits of an individual. The study concluded that birth order does not impact personality trait. Indeed, the authors ascertained that the difference that parents witness in their children based on their birth order might be more related to age than the position of birth. Therefore, one concluded that a younger child might become more conscientious with time as he or she grows older unlike the belief held in the birth order-personality association. Khodarahima and Ogletree (2011) also illustrate that the number of family members has an impact on the personality traits of an individual. The research stated that the number of family members is inversely associated with self-competence and happiness of a person.
The controversy on the topic of birth order and personality trait is attributed to the fact that various factors influence an individual’s personality that extends beyond birth order in the family.
Despite the acknowledged influence of birth order on personality traits of an individual, the controversy in research as noted in the paper illustrates that personality development is a multi-faceted and under the influence from various factors.
Al-Khayat, M. M., & Al-Adwan, F. E. (2016). The effect of birth order on personality traits and academic performance at sample of families in Jordan. European Journal of Social Sciences, 52(2), 151-161.
Ha, T., & Tam, C. (2011). A study of birth order, academic performance, and personality. International Conference on Social Science and Humanity. Singapore.
Khodarahima, S., & Ogletree, S. L. (2011). Birth order, family size, and positive psychological constructs: What roles do they play for Iranian adolescents and young adults. Journal of Individual Psychology.
Rohrer, J., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S. (2015). Examining the effect of birth order on personality. PNAS, 112(46), 14224-14229.