The notion of birth order affecting your personality is debatable in academic circles, but the topic is a perennial favorite of pop psychology. According to the Psychology Today website, accurate predictions can be made about a person’s behavior and personality based on birth order.
Personality of the Youngest
Because the youngest child tends to be more adventurous, according to the Good Housekeeping website, you may view your youngest as a bit of a loose cannon. When the youngest grow up, they tend to gravitate toward the arts, comedy or adventure fields, according to an article on birth order in “Time” magazine. Youngest children also tend to be the most agreeable, but not always. Sometimes, last-borns can be the provokers, Richard Zweigenhaft, psychology professor at Guilford College in North Carolina, says in the “Time” article. Psychologist Kevin Leman says in an article on the CBS News site that last-borns can also be a bit irresponsible with money, and they can become spoiled easier or even manipulative.
Last-Borns Play Rough
In sports, last-borns are more willing to take risks. They choose the riskier sports–rugby or ice hockey versus tennis, for example. Even if the first-born and the last-born play the same sport, baseball for instance, the last-born will be more likely to take the riskier position of catcher.
Truth Behind the Stereotype
Although much of birth order and its effects on human behavior is anecdotal and stereotypical, the stereotypes very often are spot on, Delroy Paulhus, psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, says in the “Time” article. The point Paulhus makes is that, over time, people figured out the birth order and behavior connection largely on their own.
One reason the youngest are more agreeable or funny could be to gain some power or attention in the family. The eldest hold 100 percent of the parents’ attention for a while, but when other children come along, parents have to stretch their attention more. Look at old photo albums, for example. You will probably see many more pictures of first-born children and fewer pictures of later-borns. This does not go unnoticed by the later-borns, according to “Time.”
Finding Their Niche
The youngest children in the family try to shake up the status quo. They see the eldest as getting all the goodies their parents have to offer, and the youngest want their share, too. Because they are smaller–being the youngest–they resort to low-power strategies. If a high-power strategy is being physically intimidating, low-power strategy is to be funny or charming. Many families tell stories about their youngest being the clown of the family or the outrageous one, according to “Time.”
Some famous youngest children are satirists Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain. TV comedian Stephen Colbert is the youngest of 11 siblings. Billy Crystal, Drew Carey, Goldie Hawn, Steve Martin and Jim Carey are all the babies of their families.
- siblings image by Lisa Eastman from Fotolia.com