A lot of parents plan for their kids: how many they want, what they’re going to name them, even what gender they’re hoping for. Some parents only want one kid, many want two, and few want to have as many as possible without even thinking about it. For those who do this—those who like to plan ahead—one thing to consider is birth order.
It’s true that children’s personalities tend to be affected by where they are in the birth order; sometimes because of responsibility, sometimes because of lack of, and sometimes because parents subconsciously treat them a certain way due to where they were born.
Sure, some people put this down to myths, but if those people were to actually examine the kids and even adults they know — they’d probably see some trends based on where they are in the birth order. Not every youngest child is the same, not every oldest child shares every exact trait, but parents who have been through it will certainly say that certain things do tend to pop up again and again.
So, while considering how many kids to have (or while moms are already dealing with kids now) it’s a good idea to check out these traits and prepare!
20 Oldest Child: Matures Earlier Than You Might Expect
Unless there’s a huge gap between the oldest and the next child, when leaving them as an only child for a significant period of time, there’s a huge chance that they’ll mature quicker than you might expect them to. As your attention becomes divided, they might start to have to deal with certain things on their own; and even if not, they might want to share some of the work by taking care of their younger sibling. Either of those things could teach a kid to mature faster.
19 Middle Child: Will Do Anything For Attention
No one’s implying that any of your children will be neglected if you have more than three – that’s not the case at al. Plenty of parents have time for all their children. But the middle child might develop a complex about wanting to stand out between two siblings. They aren’t the oldest of their siblings, nor are they the baby, so part of them will always want to feel more special, which could lead to them trying their hardest to get more attention.
18 Youngest Child: Dependent On Others To Care For Them
Even if you make a conscious effort not to baby the youngest, the other parent might not. Or the siblings might think that since they’re the youngest, they can’t take care of themselves and end up doing things for them. Whatever the case, there’s a high possibility that the youngest child will end up being unsure of how to do things for themselves. As they get older, you might find that they rely on people to do things for them more than other, more self-sufficient children, and it’s something to be mindful of.
17 Only Child: Fine With Being Alone – Actually, It's Preferable
As an only child, I can tell you that we actually tend to love being alone.
People often worry that only children are going to grow up introverted and lonely but the truth is, a child can be one without the other. As long as they have the stimulation of other kids in social settings and aren’t deprived entirely, they will be fine with spending some time alone in the house and as they get older, actually might need that time to recharge.
16 Oldest Child: Is The Boss Of The House – Or At Least, Thinks They Are
The oldest child will believe themselves to be the boss of the house – sometimes even over the parents! Be prepared for your kid to point out what they think you’re doing wrong with the younger kids and other things that’ll make you both laugh and stare at them incredulously. The fact that they mature faster is generally good, but can come with its own set of problems; namely, they have the tendency to get way ahead of themselves when it comes to adulting!
15 Middle Child: Insanely Independent
The middle child might want a lot of attention when they’re younger, but it’ll never be attention in the sense that they want you to care for them more, they just want you to appreciate them. As they grow, because they weren’t the baby but also weren’t the oldest one with the urge to take care of anyone, you might find that they’re insanely independent. They might not go out of their way to help other people, but they aren’t asking anyone to help take care of them either.
14 Youngest Child: Highly Sociable
The youngest child will probably be your most sociable. They’ll be used to having older siblings dote on them, but also not used to having much privacy, and will be the most likely of the kids to be an extravert. They’re used to having people around and having people help them, meaning that they might not want to spend much time alone – quite the opposite of an only child!
At least you can be sure they’ll have a healthy, full social life!
13 Only Child: Very Comfortable With Adult Company
One thing that you might find as your only child grows, is that they end up being completely fine with adult company.
Some kids don’t like adult-only company. They get bored, don’t like the conversation, want people their own age – or they’re embarrassed by it. Only children grew up without siblings, meaning they’re perfectly used to adult company and might even prefer it to the company of other children. They’re mostly used to just being around their parents, after all. Makes sense!
12 Oldest Child: Definitely A Little Bit Jealous
If any of your children are going to be jealous, you’ll probably find it’s the oldest.
They were an only child at one point, then other siblings came along, and now they’re the oldest. While they’re used to helping out with their siblings and don’t mind doing so, they might grow into someone prone to a bit of jealousy when other people get more help than they do, and they have to be the helper again. This is fine as long as it’s handled healthily, though, and completely natural.
11 Middle Child: The Peacemaker When It Comes To Fights
The middle child is probably going to end up being the pacifist between fights. Oldest and youngest children tend to be strong personalities in different ways. The youngest is usually a free spirit, but used to being helped and babied. The oldest is used to doing the helping, but might get frustrated with being the most self-sufficient. Therefore, the middle child is going to be the one who inevitably has to play the peace-maker during arguments that the parents aren’t there to oversee.
10 Youngest Child: Can Be The Most Creative Of The Bunch
The youngest child being a free spirit also means that they might be the most creative of the bunch. With the older siblings taking care of practical tasks—and often a lot of those tasks are for the youngest child—then it leaves them with a lot of time to let their imagination roam free.
This is great, though – children need to develop their creative side and when the youngest child is showing signs of being artistic in different ways, it should be encouraged!
9 Only Child: Imaginary Friends Are A Very Real Stage In Life
Some parents worry about their kids having imaginary friends, but this is a normal stage as long as it doesn’t happen when they get past a certain age. Imaginary friends are particularly common in only children since they have no siblings to play with and interact with. They invent people to play their games with them, or people to talk to, and again – this is pretty normal and not a cause for concern in young kids. Let their imagination develop!
8 Oldest Child: Has A Complex About You Being 'Harder' On Them
You might notice that even if you think you’re being completely fair to your kids–even if you actually are–that your oldest child has a complex about you being harder on them.
This is because the youngest child tends to be babied, so they’re perceived as also getting away with a lot more – so any time the eldest is in trouble, they might assume it isn’t fair. But you should also take a look and make sure you aren’t being much harder on the oldest child.
7 Middle Child: Striving To Better Than Average At Everything
The middle child, as well as wanting attention, will always strive to be better than average at everything. They don’t win the competition of ‘oldest’ or ‘youngest’ in their family, so they want to stand out because they feel that they don’t do so automatically whereas other siblings might. This can be healthy if it’s encouraged that they put their ambition into the right places, like school and creativity.
Just make sure they don’t end up overly competitive – it could be damaging for them and their siblings.
6 Youngest Child: Thinks They Can Get Away With Way Too Much
The youngest child might develop the opposite complex from thinking you’re too hard on them – they might think they can get away with more without being disciplined. This is why it’s important to check in with yourself and the other parent to make sure that neither of you is treating the children unfairly. It’s important that they all live by the same rules, or by different rules that are appropriate for their ages and change as they get older.
5 Only Child: Not Used To Sharing... Therefore, Doesn't Like To
One pitfall of being an only child might mean that they don’t like to share.
It’s understandable. As a child, they never had to share any of their possessions, probably not their bedroom, their space – they had everything to themselves. Then as they get older, they’re expected to share things with no adjustment period. They never had to do that while they were younger. And as much as it might seem selfish, it’s a good idea to be patient with them. They may not have bad intentions, but they’re just getting used to things.
4 Oldest Child: Never Wrong
If you have a child who is right even when they’re wrong, it’s probably going to be the oldest.
It comes from them learning things before the other children. They automatically assume they’re wiser than their siblings because of their age, which can sometimes spill over into them thinking they’re also wiser than their peers and even their parents. Sometimes, they need a gentle but firm reminder that although it might sometimes feel like they’re the boss – they’re actually not.
3 Middle Child: A Tendency To Exaggerate
Because the middle child will be independent and want attention, you might find that they have a tendency to exaggerate to make themselves seem special. It’s not always outright lying – sometimes it’s just embellishing stories or details about themselves to make themselves seem more exciting.
It’s good to remind them that even though they might not be the oldest or the youngest child, it doesn’t mean they’re any less interesting than their siblings and they don’t need to exaggerate their stories.
2 Youngest Child: A Surprisingly Good Listener
The youngest child may sometimes seem selfish because everything gets done for them, but this actually isn’t the case. The truth is, they actually end up being the best listener. They’ve never had a period where they were an only child. People have always been around them, they’ve always had siblings; they’ve always been around other people’s problems. They know how to just sit and listen when you need it, without being overbearing, bossy, or trying to solve your problems for you.
1 Only Child: Incredibly Honest And Direct
Only children haven’t ever been able to get away with lying quite as much as other children might. They can’t blame things on their siblings, and they have no brothers or sisters around them to lie to either. This means that you might find them to be incredibly honest and direct, bordering on blunt. This is probably a good thing, assuming it isn’t blunt to the point of rude. It means that only children can grow up to be the most honest adults!