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The Birth Order and its effects on Personality

Everyone knows that each person is unique and has a distinct and different personality. Various aspects in this world affect us and influence the development of our personality. These factors include our genetics, what we inherited from our parents, and the environment, where, how we live and our experience in the various stages of our life. One among these factors is the birth order.

The Birth Order and its effects on Personality at Kaizen wellbeing dubai psychologist for counselling in dubai

What is birth order though?

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Birth order is the person’s position among siblings. An example of a birth order is ‘middle child’ or ‘second born’. Thus, the order in which you and your siblings were born is what the birth order is.

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Have you ever heard people saying, ‘oh that person is the youngest among their siblings, so they must be spoiled and pampered’ or ‘That person is the eldest sibling, they must be the responsible one.’ All these assumptions about a person’s personality are based on the order of their birth. But, is this scientific or just another myth that exists?


Well, the question, does birth order actually have an impact on personality and life course’, has fascinated both the scientific community and the general public for over a hundred years. Alfred Adler is a pioneer in psychology who extended the psychology of birth order to personality. He said that firstborns were privileged, but at the same time, also burdened by feelings of excessive responsibility and a fear of dethronement due to the possibility of siblings and were thus prone to score high on neuroticism. Conversely, he expected later-borns, overindulged by their parents, to lack social empathy. The middle child, according to Adler, enjoys negotiation and compromise and can often relate to people of different ages with relative ease. The second child also have a higher chance of being a people pleaser and peacemaker. They develop abilities that the first born does not exhibit in order to gain attention. They may be rebellious and independent. They may be competitive toward their older siblings. The youngest child may have a clear path of journey to success, and also have freedom that the older siblings may not have had. They may be the charmer and attention seeker of the family and may tend to behave like the only child. They may feel inferior as others are bigger and more capable. They may not be taken seriously. The youngest child can also become speedier in development in order to catch up to other siblings. In the case of an only child, since the child is mostly surrounded by adults, they start to mimic their behaviour. Our therapists and psychologists offer the best therapy and counselling for mental health.

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Throughout years after Adler’s suggestion, many studies with contradictory findings have been done on the effects of birth order. There were studies which showed that the first borns are more intelligent and have a higher IQ than later borns. However, recent studies have shown that this difference is relatively small with only a 1 point advantage over their siblings. First borns are also described as often taking leadership roles and teaching roles to their younger siblings.


However, all these effects are attributed as being due to the differences in the way parents treat each child and the resources and environment available to them. The attitudes of the parent and the culture in which the person lives exerts influence on whether there will be any difference on the basis of birth order. The age difference between the siblings could also exert an influence on how birth order affects personality.


Recent studies found that though birth order may have an impact on our personality, this effect is only a small one. Additionally, when considering the factors that influence personality, the child and their attitude, experiences and outlook influences personality as well. The type of family, whether it is a nuclear family, blended family, any disabilities that the child has, the gender of the siblings, whether any of the siblings has been adopted into the family, and many other factors influence the personality when looking at it from a family perspective. Though there are studies that state that birth order may not be as influential as once thought, it does not mean that birth order does not exert any influence on personality or life course. Maybe you can do a small observational study. Observe your own behaviour and personality and that of those around you and see how much the above mentioned personality aspects of each birth order applies and which does not. Birth order does have a significant influence on our mental health. If you feel like you want to make sense of your childhood, upbringing, behaviour patterns, you could always see a therapist at Kaizen in Dubai who can help you join the dots and have a better quality of life and a better understanding of you as an individual. Discover the best therapist for you today, with online therapy and mental health options also available. Get help today with the best treatment for depression, anxiety and panic attack in Dubai and beyond. Dubai therapy, therapy online, psychologist Dubai, mental health help

Kaizen Wellbeing is an online therapy platform in Dubai, UAE that caters to South Asian community. There is a dearth of good therapy establishments that accommodate the mental health needs of the brown community. We aim to bridge that gap by providing you quality and affordable care by qualified and warm therapists. Reach out at hello@kaizenwb.com or +971 50 961 8796 and book your first session towards understanding yourself and other’s better.


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