First is the Worst, Second is the Best?

By Rebecca Noeske

Are you the typical older child? Do you like to take charge and have privileges? Or are you the baby? Do you always get what you want? Something that affects many of our lives is the often controversial topic of birth order. Are there stereotypes? Of course. We so frequently judge people’s personalities based on what their birth order is. What studies have found, ugh, is that there are many commonalities between children of the same position in families.

“It’s a very controversial topic,” said Central’s school psychologist Greg Geibig. “There is speculation as to exactly how accurate it is.”

Many findings indicate that only children have a tendency to be spoiled and overprotected, due to excessive attention from parents. That being said, the only child generally searches for ways to be the center of attention and has difficulty when they are not.

“I don’t think I always try to be the center of attention, but I admit that sometimes I can be a little spoiled,” said freshman and only child Emily Money.

Research has also shown that the oldest child in a family often takes on an attitude of responsibility, as expectations are set high for them. However they learn to share and accept that they will not always be the center of attention, unlike the only child. Research has also proven that first-born children generally seem to have a higher intelligence level.

“I definitely have a lot of responsibility in that I have to take care of my younger siblings whenever my parents aren’t around. I like hanging out with them, though,” said senior and oldest child Mackenzie Coden.

Middle children often suffer from what has come to be known as the classic middle-child syndrome. They often feel insignificant as they are neither babied, nor given the privileges of the older child, giving them an even-temper and a simple attitude and outlook.

“I’m the middle child of the three sisters, but I don’t really feel we get treated differently,” said senior Emily Miller.

The youngest child is typically shown to have many teachers in life and many people to look up to. They tend to dream big, even in unrealistic situations, and often are spoiled from being treated like the “baby” of the family.

“My students often describe the ‘baby’ as being spoiled, overindulged, and often brattier than the others, whereas the eldest is more rigid and driven,” said Geibig.

It is also found among twins that one of the twins is generally stronger than the other and thus seen as older by parents and other siblings. Naturally, twins often deal with identity struggles that may affect their actions and attitudes as well.

“I don’t know if I’m stronger, but I’m definitely cooler than Brandon!” said senior Allison Sherbel, who’s twin brother is senior Brandon Sherbel.

While family birth order has been proven to have an effect on people’s personalities, it is not always necessarily a determining factor.

“There is the possibility for variance as you get older and move away from the family,” said Geibig.

It all depends on the person and their specific situation.

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