Understanding Birth Order

by Kalyn Brooke

Despite living in the same family, we all grow up in totally different environments — a.k.a our birth orders.

At first, birth order might not seem like it makes a huge difference in our personality, but think of where you land in the family unit.

Are you firstborn? Middle? Lastborn? Only?

How did you react to situations based on having older or younger siblings, or none at all?

I like to think of birth orders as the puzzle pieces that make relationships fit together. So much about them make sense, and are fascinating to watch in action.

Defining Birth Orders

Dr. Kevin Leman was one of the first to explore birth orders with his book, The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are.

Basically, wherever you are born in your family – first, right in the middle, or last, often determines your unique personality traits and perspective on the world. That doesn’t mean everyone is a cookie-cutter type, but there are a lot of similar traits that you could point out based on birth order.

For instance, firstborns tend to be really analytical. They’ve been held to a higher standard their whole life, so it’s natural for them to take responsibility, pay attention to details, and get things done. They’re natural-born leaders. Onlys also take on a lot of these same traits.

Middles are the peace makers. They have the advantage of big brother or sister trying everything out for them, what works, what doesn’t, etc., yet they also see how the babies of the families get away with practically anything. Middles are really easy-going, and great to have as friends.

Lastborns, or babies, are the life of the social party. If fun is to be had, they want a part of it. They are rarely stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. They are ready to be different, and make their own unique mark on the world.

Putting the Pieces Together

Where you fit into all of this?

First of all, it’s kind of fun trying to guess where each one of your friends fall in the family unit. Each time they do something “typical” of their birth order, you’ll know why exactly they’ve chosen to act that way!

Second, just because you might have certain traits based on your birth order, doesn’t mean you are “stuck for life” without the inability to change anything.

Sure, develop your strengths – people around you will love you for them. But just as much, overcome your weaknesses too. Understanding birth order means you know where your faults and temptations lie, and what you really need to work on.

I’m a firstborn through and through. I take responsibility for practically everything, work way too hard, and am very ambitious. Sometimes, those are really good things to be known for.

On the other hand, if I’m not careful, I can end up saying yes to activities that I know won’t fit into my schedule, overwork myself to the point of no rest and relaxation, and take on more than I can handle.

Because I know that about myself, I have to set “rules” in place before I add something else to my day, and actually practice the word no. It’s really hard, but it’s possible!

Don’t be afraid to be YOU!

Maybe you don’t fit into a birth order “type”. That’s okay. Embrace who you are.

Don’t try to be someone else. Don’t be discouraged from trying to be even better. One of the things I love about life is the ability to learn something new everyday. To challenge myself. To be the best version of who I am.

Personally, I think birth orders unveil a lot about ourselves that we may have not really known before (or maybe we did, and just didn’t want to address it!). But they certainly don’t have to define us.

We the have the ability to change step-by-baby-step, no matter which social situation or environment we are in. Your place in the family is just the start.

What is your birth order? Do you have “typical” traits?

KalynKalyn Brooke lives in beautiful Southwest Florida with her news photographer husband, and one super adorable bunny, named Twix. She works from home as the owner and author of CreativeSavingsBlog.com, and as a virtual marketing assistant for a variety of bloggers and websites. Small budget living is her passion, book hoarding her weakness, and a well-stocked freezer full of ice cream an essential luxury.


  1. My family discovered this early on…
    I’m a middle (ish–3rd oldest of 10), and I totally see that. Although, different events and circumstances have the tendency to change it. For example, my older sister (the oldest girl) is very soft spoken and quiet, she’s also had numerous health problems over the years and I more or less took on an older sister role at times. She tended to follow me. We’re both sort of middles but she’s still the oldest girl. My older brother totally fits the stereotype for the oldest. But him and I always got along really well. And the babies of the family… yeah, they have gotten away with so much more than the older ones ever did!
    When I think about it now, it sort of explains some differences between my mom and I. We have similar personalities and everyone says I am like her, but she is much more the analytic whereas I tend to give people and situations the benefit of the doubt. She’s the oldest–I’m a middle. Makes sense.

  2. I have quite a few of the typical first born traits 🙂
    Definitely analytical, ambitious!

    1. Yes, as the firstborn, I am definitely very analytical, I think it can drive others I am around crazy sometimes though 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing, Kalyn, this is so interesting. It gives me a peep into the life experience and character formation of my younger siblings and that’s definitely a good thing. I especially appreciate reading your perspective as a fellow firstborn! 🙂

  4. This is fascinating stuff. (Even if I have all the typical firstborn traits! ;))

    Thanks so much for joining us here today, Kalyn!

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