The Effects of Birth Order on the Personality of an Individual
There are many things that can alter the personality of an individual; some of these are voluntarily inflicted, while others are uncontrollable. Among the uncontrollable altercations, birth order is perhaps the largest influence on a person's disposition. Personality is influenced by the "place" a person has in their family as well as the family situation. It is important whether an individual is an only child, first born, second born, third born, a boy among girls, or a girl among boys, and so on.
Birth order is a key element in gaining an understanding of one's self as well as other people. Through birth order placement, one develops a behavior pattern as well as ways of thinking and emotional responses. This effects all aspects of living such as, expectations, mental weaknesses, marriage, and spirituality. Understanding the birth order characteristics is a simple method in determining how and what makes another individual "tick."
An only child is one that has no siblings; they are in fact the "only" child in the family. They are classified as a special case of a first born. Because an only child has no siblings to play with, they have to overcome feelings of loneliness and often times, boredom. To combat their solitude, only children make up imaginary playmates and games to amuse themselves. They also become resentful of adult intrusion and cope with intrusion in one of two ways. They either go into fast mode to avoid the intrusion altogether or they use slow mode, accepting the intrusion and trying to see the help in it. Only children also tend to be extremely selfish. Growing up with 200% of the parents' attention, they hold much resentment for anything that takes away that attention. Because of this undivided attention, the only child tends to be dependent through their adult lives. It is also common for the child to become bitter towards one parent, usually the parent of the same sex. Only borns are also subject to emotional disturbances. Statistically, they are more apt to require clinical help and to return for further counseling later in life. An example of this would be shown by "In military training camp, only children were more likely to consult a psychiatrist, be diagnosed as psychoneurotic, and be discharged from the service." (Toman, 1992, p.132) Another characteristic of only children is that they grow up favoring adult company and in turn use adult mannerisms and language at an early age. Other less important attributes of only children are: short tempers which usually result in tantrums, ethicality, constant perseverance for acceptance from all, sets boundaries for themselves and others and is more sensitive to pain.
First borns are almost an entirely different in comparison to only children. They tend to be highly motivated and strive to set examples for the younger siblings. Because of this motivation, first borns gravitate toward higher educational...