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The Psychology of First-Born Children

Birth order psychology has been a recognized field of study for decades.  While many variables can affect human psychological development, birth order psychology suggests that first-born children are more likely than their younger siblings to be:

Left-brained (more logical, less creative in thought processes)


Responsible for themselves and others (and to value being right and being in control)

Oriented to conformance with societal norms or expectations

Less adaptable, less able to get along with a diverse group of individuals

Averse to exposing themselves to physical danger (i.e., playing hockey, zip lining, etc.)



Successful in school (i.e., getting better grades)

Educated beyond high school (i.e., possessing a college degree)

Working in a high-paying profession

This is not to say that being first-born is the clearly superior birth order position.  In fact, each position in birth order has its own unique advantages. First-borns typically have skill sets that suit them for the C-suite, law, or medicine; last-borns typically have skill sets that suit them for the visual arts, theatre, or a career in music.  Birth order psychology, then, is not about birth order superiority; it is a tool to help people understand their own psychological development and that of their children as well.   Once an understanding of human psychological development has been obtained, people can take a more active role in shaping its further development, both for themselves and their children.

As noted above, however, many variables can affect human psychological development, so parents need to assess their children’s unique traits, skills, and abilities and tailor their responses appropriately.  While the above list of traits may fit the majority of first-born children, not all first-borns will fit this mold.

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