Friday 22nd October 2021

Birth Order. #LifeThisWeek 30/52. 2017.95.

Birth Order. #LifeThisWeek 30/52. 2017.95.

I have always been fascinated about ‘birth order’ and how it applies to different people in my life. I have used some of the notions of the ‘birth order’ theories in my role in education and as a parent and grandparent. I think I chose this prompt for this week as OUR first born had her 46th Birthday yesterday!

Our first born having a swing and smiling at her grandmother, my mum.

  • I am a first born.
  • I am conservative and less likely to take risks.
  • I like the way things are most of the time and unless there is a good reason for change, then leave it alone.
  • I like to do well.
  • I like to please people and especially true of my parents and of those who are close to me whose approval means a lot.
  • I chose an occupation which suited my personality well – teaching. I did eventually rise through the ranks to become a principal.
  • I wondered why I wasn’t ‘enough’ when my parents decided to have another child…this is my theory anyway!
  • I tend to take the lead and be bossy.
  • I am not good at doing things where there is a risk involved.
  • I want to know ALL the details of everything that might affect me, as well as those I love and care about.

First Born is ONE! That’s me.


Our first born with a first born Mum and fifth born Dad.

That’s about it for now! Oh, I married a fifth born (he is one of 13 children) so it does not take too much imagination that we are opposites in many ways but I also believe the qualities of each of us is complementary.

I do not wish to generalise however, in his excellent book: Why First Borns Want to Rule The World and Last Borns Want to Change it. Michael Grose sums parts of my own behaviours very well.

An excerpt from a review of the book:

“There are many factors affecting a child s personality and the adult they become, yet the least understood but most emphatic influence on personality is birth order. Why is it that children in a family can share the same gene pool, a similar socio-economic environment and experience similar parenting styles yet have fundamentally different personalities, interests and even different careers as adults? Birth order! The implications for parents, teachers and adults involved with children are many. This book also provides answers to all your questions about the personality and behaviour of your colleagues, life partner, friends and siblings. And perhaps explains some of your own ambitions and quirks. Addressing multiple births, special-needs children, genetic engineering, blended families, gender balance, single children and birth-order balance in the workplace, parenting expert and father of three Michael Grose challenges parents to raise each child differently according to his or her birth order.”

Here is the link which sets out more about the theory of Birth Order and has some interesting insights.

So what do you know of birth order?

Have you considered it as part of getting to know more about yourself and others?

What is your place in your family – birth order wise?


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  1. I’m an only child but apparently I’m not a typical only child (according to my friends and colleagues). They are usually surprised to find out I’m an only. Apparently I’m not selfish enough. Clearly that’s due to how my parents raised me. I’d be interested to find out the traits of “onlys” though. I’ve never bothered to look into it.

  2. It’s a very interesting thing to watch as a parent. I used to think it was rubbish but you see the same in families over and over again!

    • It is and as a teacher then a principal it would be even more so for me to get greater insights into why some kids behaved the way they did! I am married to a fifth child and he is incredibly self-sufficient because of that I believe.

  3. I’m the youngest of two but I think if anything my brother acts like The younger child! I’m definitely the more responsible and conservative of the two of us.

  4. I’ve never really looked into the traits of birth order because I’m an only child. Fascinating though!

  5. I am the second and last born. Have always been quite the opposite to my sibling!

    • How interesting is that! Is it a male/female thing I wonder? My Dad is a second born but he has always acted as a first born.

  6. I can so relate to your own observations about being the first born.

    The Michael Grose book looks fascinating.

    Sorry I didn’t stick to theme this week… been writing for relaxation and without too much critical thinking this weekend.

    SSG xxx

    • I know! I reckon you would find it fascinating too. I wish I had not given that book away! I think it’s good to focus on writing for the purpose which suits rather than anything that is too heavy . Like work related!

  7. I’m the middle child but sometimes think I have more of the traits of the eldest born. I’d be interested to read what this book says regarding twins and see how it applies to my twins.


    • You would find it interesting I am sure. As for the twins I do not know. The second link has more details re birth order.

  8. I’m always interested in this. I always think there’s a lot that resonates with me with first-borns, but I think it gets fuzzier with kids from families where there are several children! And parenting and life itself can change a person’s trajectory I think – but in general, it’s a bit like star signs or a person’s path in life; a really good indication of how they think and what they need to do well.

    • Yes it is fascinating and I did make good use of the knowledge as a teacher and principal as it often helped in some way to explain children’s behaviours.

  9. I haven’t really given it much thought Denyse, but I am in the middle. My brother was 7 years old and I have a sister 3 years younger. I just love the old photos and isn’t it great we can scan them and keep them for future generations. Have a great week and keep up the good work on the recovery side. Sending love and hugs. xx

    • You do have quite the gap. My kids have a 7.5 years gap and both exhibit traits of first borns yet the younger one was sometimes acting as a last born! Thanks for the good wishes. I’m recovering well physically but emotionally it is catching up with me so I am making that as a blog post for tomorrow for I Blog on Tuesdays. It’s another reason why writing is helpful for me!

  10. Birth order is very interesting! I like your explanation of your traits in terms of your place in the family. How old were you when your siblings were born? I never thought of it in the way that I wasn’t enough for my parents.
    I’m the second born of four and I do not like being a leader, I’m much happier being part of a team. Luckily I missed out on the “middle child syndrome”.

    • You are the only girl aren’t you? Did that give you a “different” place within the family? I have to be a leader (where I have some interest or expertise) as I get frustrated with people who cannot “lead”. I do not like being trained by people who have no idea of how to lead a group of adults. There is a gap of just under 3 years with my bro and self. We were never close and still are not. Quite quite different although as a teen he tagged along with my boyfriend at the time (17) and became lifelong mates with the boyfriend’s brother and his mates! It didn’t matter I broke up with the Bf at 20 my brother had friends for life!

      • That’s true. It made me different in my father’s eyes, mum mum was always saying that I was a “daddy’s girl”. I guess I used that to my advantage and there was a lot of “Muuuuum, he’s hitting me” etc when I could have just manned up.
        Interesting, there is a three year gap between my older brother and I and we are pretty close. I love that you introduced your boyfriend into the family and he stayed as a friend to your brother!

  11. I’m a 1st born of 4 & the responsibility has always weighed heavily. I remember getting in trouble even when my siblings did something wrong because I should have known about it & stopped it. Mum & Dad still rely more heavily on me when one of the others are in trouble & it still weighs like a weight on my back at times. Our daughter is an only – I tell her she can take her pick of only child, first born, or youngest…her call.

    • Oh dear.. that is not fair on you! Poor chick getting the blame as if you were a surrogate parent.. interesting times now you have moved away! I do hope that your independence from the closeness of the family helps you as you and yours drift into the easier lifestyle where you are!

  12. I’m the 2nd of girl siblings with almost 4yrs between us & we couldn’t be more different. Unless people already know the family connection, they never guess that we are related. We have never been close and always being compared to her by family and school teachers did not help the situation. My elder sister was a bossy do gooder, who got great delight from getting me into trouble when ever she could. Even when we both had our own child, and I returned to be close to family after a marriage separation, this continued and was starting to happen all over again with the next generation. Seeing how my sisters only child was turning out, I was determined not to let this happen to my only child son. thankfully, my effort with this has paid off and my nearly 18yr old is developing well and people are shocked to find out that he is an only child.

    • Oh my goodness some very interesting and challenging dynamics there in your family. My 2 eldest granddaughters are not alike in appearance nor temperament but in their now late teens have become really good friends with each other. It is lovely to see. You sound like you have done a marvellous job as a mum to your son!

  13. I’m the second born of two and I think it’s probably less of an issue when there is just the two of you. You’ve each got something to bring to the party – first born / last born: oldest / youngest. When there are three or more I suspect things get more interesting.

    I’m always intrigued when friends (or anyone) who has one of each has a third child but most people I know who’ve done that are one of three themselves!

    • Yes I am one of two and the elder by almost 3 years. My brother and I have never been close and even now we rarely contact each other unless it is something related to Dad. Our kids went on to have 4 children each! I cannot say for both whether they were all planned but they are all well-loved but I still find it a surprise to say I am a mum of 2 but a grandma of 8. Yes I too wonder about families who have a third. Going above that number – It often means a change of car too! LOL!

  14. I’m a first born too Denyse and every one of your bullet points describes me perfectly. It’s amazing how much birth order has to do with our intrinsic personality traits isn’t it? My husband is the youngest in his family – definitely a case of opposites attracting! 🙂

    • Snap shall we say? It took me and my husband quite a long time to come to terms with our very big differences in things like celebrations eg birthdays and Christmas which I did as a kid and older in a big way and he, as one of 13 barely did a thing! Mind you we’ve been together for almost 47 years so many things are working well!

  15. I’m the last born of 7 and a big age gap between me and the next. Definitely different to my siblings, more a generation of my own, I am closer in age to the children of my eldest sibling than I am to some of my siblings.

    • How interesting! My hub is fifth of 13. 12 survived to adulthood. When we had our first (at 21) my hub’s youngest sister was 5. Our daighter was 2nd grandchild to be born in that family and now there are so many grandkids and great grandkids we have lost count! My husband was not really close to his siblings though even in that big group there were subgroups!

  16. I am the same age as your daughter, also born in 1971. But I am the baby. Not a risk taker, however. How gorgeous are your photos? Beautiful.

  17. I find this stuff interesting too! There’s only my brother and myself, and he’s 13 years older than I am… so quite a gap between us. He’d left home by the time I was about 6, so I guess I was like an only child for much of my childhood.

    • Yes I guess it must have been like that for you. In my husband’s family there were 13 children, and it was like the first half grew up together in the same house but when the second lot came along, some of the first group had left home for teachers college or boarding school.

  18. I am a first born of only two ( I have a sister) and always felt like I was the ” testing ” ground while she always got away with murder!! As I grew up I and became a parent myself I think I realised that my parents were only trying their best!!

    • My older brother feels that way as well. He was never allowed to go away on sleepovers or stay out very late. Our youngest brother is 10 years younger than him and he got away with everything!

    • Oh yes, we were ‘so much softer on her brother’ claims our daughter..,..7.5 year gap and I guess too by then we were almost more mature and not as worried about some aspects of child rearing.

  19. I’m a first born too, of five. I had twin brothers in there, so it would be interesting to read about that dynamic. They are competitive with each other and butt heads constantly. I was a very quite child and my sister, the second is very organising and bossy! The youngest is a mix of all of us I guess, but her own person all the same, as with Kerrie my little sister got away with murder!

    • Oh my goodness, your mum had her hands full then but isnt it all so very interesting how relationship dynamics work out! It seems youngest kids ‘do get away with more’ ….according to their older sibling(s) anyway!