What Birth Order Means: Is It All a Myth?

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Image via Flickr/ CarbonNYC [in SF!]

Throughout my life, I have thoroughly enjoyed and exemplified traits that have been commonly thought to be more abundant in the personalities of firstborn children — extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness — except for the extroversion and the agreeableness. I am definitely an exception to the rule when it comes to the common conception that oldest children are the embodiment of all desirable traits, because according to book after book after book written on the matter, oldest children are more extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious of their surroundings.

Actually, that's not necessarily true.

According to a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, there are a few instances where the oldest child is indeed smarter, more aware, and more socially adept, but that only happens 0.001% of the time.

Which pretty much means never. 

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As is referenced in a Forbes article, this false belief may actually be the reason for that super small percentage. If it's common knowledge that the oldest of the children is the smartest and most socially capable, then the parents are more likely to treat them that way — and treat their other children otherwise.

Granted, most parents aren't as horrible as this may sound, but the fact that the percentage is only 0.001% may even make it look like the younger siblings are actually pretty bright themselves. They unknowingly overcome a perceived disadvantage and finish right at the top with their oldest sibling. I think being a younger sibling gives an added advantage of seeing how life is lived by someone that is only a couple of years older, so the younger sibling has more or less of a guide to direct them through learning social and scholastic norms. 

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What do you think? Did you ever think that this was a thing? Did you treat your kids accordingly? Let me know what you think.

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What Birth Order Means: Is It All a Myth?

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

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