The Effect of Birth Order on the Personality Types of Teenagers


One of the things that might have contributed to your teen's personality is his birth order. Firstborn children typically develop personality characteristics that are much different than those of middle children or the babies of the family. While the order in which you had your children isn't the only thing that dictates their personality type, it is something to consider when you're trying to figure out exactly why your teen acts the way he does.

Why Birth Order Matters

  • The fact that you can have more than one child, bring them up using the same methods and have several entirely different personalities on your hands is proof that birth order matters, according to Kevin Leman, best-selling author of "The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are." Though your teen's birth order doesn't dictate each aspect of his personality, the order in which you had your children can impact how you parent. Even if you use the same discipline and teaching methods with all your children, chances are you treat each one differently, and that can have a powerful impact on personality.

Firstborn Effects

  • Firstborn children are often perfectionists, people who aim to please and are also high achievers. Interestingly, almost all of the U.S. presidents have been the firstborn child or the firstborn son. According to, firstborn children tend to turn out this way because they were the only child for a period of time, which meant that they were the center of attention and essentially under the microscope until a sibling came along. This also builds confidence, which is another common trait among firstborn teens. Firstborn teens are often nurturing, mature for their age and organized, and are natural leaders as well, Leman notes.

Middle-Born Effects

  • Middle children are more easygoing than firstborn children because they don't get as much attention as their older sibling. That can cause your middle teen to feel left out or that he isn't as important as the firstborn child. While most parents don't play favorites, they are usually more laid-back with their second child than they were with their first baby, according to Leman. Middle-born children can be good negotiators and they tend to make friends easily, too. Teens born in the middle might become competitive, too, because they feel like they have to work extra hard to get mom and dad's attention.

Last-Born Effects

  • The last child born to a family often becomes "the baby" and somewhat like the chosen one. In addition to the fussing made by mom and dad, the baby of the family probably also gets a good deal of attention from his older siblings. According to, the youngest member of the family often enjoys being the center of attention and will work really hard to bring the spotlight onto him. If your teen is the last-born, he's probably a bit of a clown and likes to make people laugh. He tells good stories, works tirelessly to get what he wants and is always willing to stop and give a hug or kiss, too.


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