What It's Really Like to Be Firstborn

Genevieve Fish

My mum and I are both firstborns, or as she likes to call us, members of The Firstborn Club. Other notable club members include Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, and Sheryl Sandberg. (Unfortunately, we haven’t met.) My mum and I share little moments that go unnoticed by my dad, brother, and sister, and we definitely have similar outlooks on life that have undoubtedly been influenced by our birth order. I’ve found that all of my firstborn friends and I share similar traits. We have strong maternal instincts, we’re not afraid to take risks but we respect authority, and we’re definitely used to being the tester child (i.e., having the earliest curfew, being the last person to get a mobile phone, and not being able to watch certain shows or movies that our younger siblings can watch anytime).

It appears that I’m not the only one who’s noticed personality similarities among firstborns. Hundreds of scientific studies would agree that birth order has a noticeable impact on personality. Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist, studies the effect of birth order and explains his research in two books: The Birth Order Book and The First-Born Advantage. According to Dr. Leman, “Firstborns are held to a higher standard. As kids come into the birth order, parents loosen up.” Another study published in the Journal of Research and Personality claims that birth order affects a child’s lifelong goals. It found that the eldest child wants to “master” or “learn” while second children want to “win.” Scroll down for a few things firstborns know all about.

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