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Think about the role you play in your family. Are you the oldest, the middle, the youngest, or the only child? How does this role affect who you are today? Well, according to some research from birthorderandpersonality.com, it may affect you quite a bit and in more ways than one. Find out how your birth order might influence your personality, future career choices, and life in general.

The Oldest Child

The first-born in a family tends to be the goal setter. They are usually responsible, detail-oriented, and follow the rules. This may be because their parents are counting on them from a young age to set a good example and high standards for the younger children. Oldest child, junior Melissa Cascino, explains, “Parents are always harder on their oldest kid than they are on the others. We get blamed for more stuff and can’t get away with anything. The others are younger and can act more innocent.” Also on the down side, the first-borns are often the most likely to be seen as stressed-out perfectionists who want to try and please everyone at their own expense. They are the first to try everything out and mark their parents’ first experiences with life milestones like driving and graduating. Cascino adds, “Sometimes it is nice to be the oldest because you get to do everything first, and I can give my younger brother advice on things that I wish I had done differently.” In choosing careers, they are highly-motivated and tend to go for jobs with a lot of structure in such fields as law, science and medical, computer programming, or architecture. Perhaps since they are used to being in control, they tend to eventually become the boss or owner of company.

The Middle Child

Right in-between, middle children are often described as being the kids stuck in the most ambiguous family role. Jeffrey Kluger of Time.com explains their plight and how they are “the youngest in the family, but only until someone else comes along, they are both teacher and student, babysitter and babysat, too young for the privileges of the firstborn but too old for the latitude given the last.” As a middle child, junior Devon Butler explains, “I like that I can look up to my older brother and that my younger sister looks up to me.” The middle children in a family are said to be patient, able to comfortably get along with other people, and often have an overall more easy-going approach to life than their other siblings do. Butler agrees, saying “I get along with almost everyone.” This may be why they tend to really enjoy socialization and have large circles of friends. It is not surprising that these children succeed in careers that require some diplomatic negotiating, like any kind of management position, because they are often used to dealing with being stuck in the middle of family conflicts and are good at remaining unbiased to keep the peace.

The Youngest Child

Last-born children tend to be the biggest risk-takers in the family. They are able to get valuable life advice from their older siblings, which may give them more confidence than the others had in some aspects of their social lives. Still, the pressures of living up to the high standards of their older siblings can wear on them, causing them in some cases to rebel a bit and do their own thing. Although at times described as self-centered or attention-craving, they are also said to be especially affectionate, empathetic, and caring. Youngest child, junior Rachel Gilman, explains, “I do feel like I am more used to depending on other people in my life, especially my older sister. It’s been very different for me this year now that she has gone away to college, and I miss having someone who is always around to talk to and give me advice.” These children are often creative free-thinkers, tending towards careers that allow them to make good use of their inspirations. Besides art, sales-related fields can be good matches for them because of their ability to convincingly argue and sell things to others. They work well alone and often want to be the boss, perhaps setting the standard for themselves where they may not have been able to do so earlier on in life. In general, youngest children are the most likely to take an alternative route and go against the norms of society.

The Only Child

Only child, junior Natasha Barlow says, “As an only child, I feel like I maybe got more opportunities to do more things than other kids did when it came to activities. I could have a busy schedule because I was the only one that my parents had to worry about driving around or taking on vacations. ” In general, the single child in a family is usually very responsible, intelligent, and mature for their age. They are confident in their opinions and feel especially comfortable being around adults because they spend a lot of their time alone with their parents. Barlow adds, “Sometimes I would feel lonely and wish that I had siblings to play with growing up, but then again I never had to deal with any of the fighting that my friends who have siblings complain about.” On the down side, these children can also be perceived as perfectionists or as having a hard time sharing. Like first-borns, they are very ambitious, and this makes them likely to pursue careers often considered to be more prestigious in nature like medicine or law, encouraged by the complete support and high hopes set for them their whole lives by their parents.  They also tend to be talented problem-solvers and often prefer to either work alone or be the boss at their job, always in charge of things.

Of course, it is very important to keep in mind that these are just basic generalizations about birth order and its effect on people. Countless other variables such as parenting styles, sets of twins, and gender can also make major differences. Really, there are just so many things that shape us throughout life to become the people we are that birth order is just one small factor.

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