That all children develop certain behavioural characteristics that are dependent on whether they are youngest, middle, oldest or only children.

The Only Child:

  • Keen on facts, ideas and details
  • A ‘mover and shaker’ in their work
  • Unforgiving and demanding
  • Doesn’t handle criticism well
  • Lonely and spoiled

The Youngest Child:

  • Likes entertaining and showing off
  • Gets bored easily
  • Charming one minute, hard to deal with the next
  • Worries about not being take seriously
  • Immature and spoiled

The Middle Child:

  • Good at making friends and getting on with people
  • A good mediator and negotiator
  • Quietly rebellious but avoids confrontation
  • Worries about being overlooked
  • A people-pleaser who gets walked over

The Oldest Child:

  • Likely to be successful and responsible
  • A hard working perfectionist
  • Pushed by the parents, who have high expectations
  • Pushes others too hard
  • A bossy boots
Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Birth Order Theory," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019,

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