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What is the significance of birth order?

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There seems to be little consensus among the scientific community regarding the subject of birth order. Some experts believe that birth order merely decides personalities while others believe that birth order actually affects destinies.

That being said, firstborns are said to be achievement-oriented, methodical, and dependable. Parents are said to spend more time with their firstborns than with their other children. Also, parents depend heavily on their firstborn children to set good examples for their siblings. According to research, almost 100% of astronauts are either the firstborn children or the oldest sons of their families. Firstborns are also said to gravitate toward careers in technology, engineering, and science. Many world leaders and CEOs are firstborns, notably Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Steve Ballmer (of Microsoft), and Joe Moglia (of TD Ameritrade).

Middle children are often said to be socially-astute and loyal. It is said that 80% of middle children prove to be more loyal to their spouses than 65% of firstborns and 53% of last-born children. Middle children are said to gravitate toward careers in law enforcement, public service, education, and healthcare. They are said to be the mediators and peacemakers of the sibling world. Experts say that these traits translate into who middle children become as they get older. As an example, Martin Luther was a middle child, and he worked to foster equality and understanding between white and black Americans.

The youngest children of families tend to be outgoing, sociable, attention-seeking, and fun-loving. They also tend to sympathize with the downtrodden, simply because their early childhood experiences were often accompanied by a sense of helplessness. Youngest children gravitate toward careers in sales, art, and design. A modern example of a fun-loving and outgoing personality is Prince Harry. Perhaps because his extroverted personality is combined with his sensitivity towards the downtrodden, Prince Harry is responsible for bringing to fruition the Invictus Games. The Invictus Games is an international Paralympics sports event created by Prince Harry for wounded soldiers or veterans; it made its debut in 2014 in London.

While birth order is significant, many experts argue that it is only significant in helping us to understand who we are. If we can learn to understand how birth order affects us, we can overcome certain destructive, inherent tendencies, and we can become our best selves in the process.

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