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  • We Predict Your First Child Will Be Well-Behaved, Even Over-Responsible

    You know who you have to thank for? All your worrying!
    by Kitty Elicay .
We Predict Your First Child Will Be Well-Behaved, Even Over-Responsible
  • Aside from constantly striving to raise siblings who are friends, parents who have two or more children must also learn how to deal with the clashing personalities of their tots. Because as it turns out, personality differences lie in birth order — and parents treat their children differently because of it (you probably don't even know that you do).

    “The one thing you can bet your paycheck on is the firstborn and second-born in any given family are going to be different,” Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist who has studied birth order since 1967, tells Parents.

    Defining a child’s personality based on birth order may seem absurd, but numerous studies have supported the theory. A recent study found that second-born children are more likely to have “challenging behavior,” but what about firstborns?

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    Here are the most common personality traits you can expect from firstborns:

    A caveat: these traits are not set in stone for firstborns only. All your children can possess these traits — our job is to nurture it. But, as you read, you'll understand why these traits can often be found in the eldest child. 

    1. The eldest child is often the leader of the pack.

    “Firstborn children are typically associated with leadership attributes and can have strong personalities,” psychologist Dr. Seda Gragossian tells Bustle. They are also 30% more likely to be CEOs or politicians, according to a 2017 paper by economists from Sweden and the USA for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

    The study, which focused on a sampling of boys, found that firstborns stay in school longer, make more money, have a higher IQ, and even spend more time with homework than television.


    2. Firstborns are reliable.

    Being the firstborn means that they are lavished with all the love and attention from their parents, but at the same time, parents also invest a lot of time making up rules for their first child.

    As their siblings come into the picture, the attention unsurprisingly shifts, leaving the panganays to their own devices. Nevertheless, they are expected to be the rule enforcer and to look after their younger siblings, which hones their discipline and leadership qualities.

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    3. The eldest may be smarter than his siblings.

    Another study published in the Journal of Human Resources suggests that firstborns fare better than their younger siblings when it came to reading, math, verbal communication, and general awareness.

    The reason was parents gave the most support when it came to tasks involving thinking and problem-solving, whereas, with their succeeding children, they became more relaxed and spent less time engaging in activities like reading, crafts, and playing musical instruments.

    4. The eldest grows up to have more empathy.

    While the firstborn might feel jealous due to the arrival of her baby sibling, maybe even resentful because she is required to behave better and has more responsibilities, she will eventually learn to embrace being the ate or kuya.

    “One of the most positive experiences she receives as a firstborn is nurturing a younger sibling,” Meri Wallace, a child and family therapist, writes in Psychology Today. “The experience expands her ability to love and to be sensitive to other people’s needs.”

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    5. Firstborns tend to work harder than siblings.

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    According to the NBER paper, firstborns score higher on “emotional stability, persistence, social outgoingness, willingness to assume responsibility and ability to take initiative.” The researchers suggest this might be because as more children come into the family, the siblings start to ‘compete’ for their parents’ love and they differentiate themselves by filling different “niches” within the family.

    “[The oldest children] hear things like ‘I don’t care what he/she did, I expect more of you, because you’re the oldest,” says Leman to Women’s Health. With parents grooming firstborns for success, they also show their competence and power and work hard to please or impress their parents.

    6. Firstborns follow the rules.

    According to a study published in the journal Child Development, firstborn children are likely to conform while younger siblings have more “rebellious” personalities. Because they have their parents as authority figures, they are “over-responsible, well-behaved, careful, and small version of their own parents,” writes parenting expert Dr. Gail Gross in Huffington Post.

    While this list highlights the most common characteristics you can expect from your eldest, it doesn’t mean that all firstborns would be the same. At the end of the day, there are many factors that affect a child’s personality, from genes to how they are raised by their parents. Whatever children grow up to be depend on you, moms and dads, so make sure to support and love your kids — whatever their birth order!

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