First, Middle, Baby: Observations on Birth Order

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Through her experience as a family photographer, Kristin Eldridge has worked with a ton of families throughout the years. She mentioned to be how fascinating it is to watch how birth order plays a role in children, and how from what she has observed, there are definite common “first, middle, baby” personality traits.  This topic has always interested me, so I asked her to write a post on her casual observations. After you read, please share your insights below on your own kiddos!  Here is what she writes…

“My tendency to be type-A goes all the way back to pre-school.  I organized and re-organized the contents of my room and my need to please knew no end.  Growing up, I didn’t attribute these personality traits to anything much, but I guess it was clear I was a pretty stereotypical firstborn child.

Now after becoming a mom and working with hundreds of kids in my job, I’ve noticed that birth order plays a huge role in who we are as people.

Here’s what I have noticed… Oldest children take the lead from their parents and often have perfectionist tendencies.  Middle children can be more rebellious in nature and are good at negotiating.  Youngest children are typically carefree are great at making people laugh.

After doing a little research for this article, some of the reasons that children fall into these categories makes complete sense!

Because of the fact that new parents are sometimes stricter and a little more rigid with the first child, that child tends be an over-achiever.  Middle children see the oldest child mirroring their parents, so they might want to go in the opposite direction (for attention) which can be perceived as rebellious behavior.  The youngest child is raised by parents that have done this a time or two, so are raised in a more easy-going environment.  The youngest child shoulders less responsibility, so they have the ability to be more carefree.

These guidelines don’t always hold fast and true, but so many of the children I meet fall into the personality type of their birth order.

The older we get, the experience plays more of a role into our personality as experiences can change the way we view the world.  As I raise my kids, I try to build their natural strengths and challenge their weaknesses.

My oldest child is 12 and he falls into the typical firstborn category.  His perfectionism makes homework easy, but it makes any type of failure difficult to handle.  We have been trying to teach him that it’s okay to fail.  We can learn through failure, not through being perfect all the time.

My middle child has watched his older brother navigate life, so he’s a little more savvy.  When he bucks the system, we try to teach him how rules and guidelines are there for a reason.  Walking him through these situations help him to be his unique individual self, while living in a world that has lots of rules!

My youngest is very carefree and she has a messy room to prove it.  I’ve found that the biggest challenge with her is taking the time to teach her responsibility.  Even though it would be easier to let one of her older brothers help unload the dishwasher, it’s beneficial for her to learn everyday tasks.

Do you feel that your kids are affected by their birth order?  I’m curious to know if you parent each of them differently or if you have unique thoughts on how to help them be more well-rounded?”

Thanks Kristin, I will start the conversation below on how I think birth order plays a role with my two girls, would love to hear all of your opinions and observations as well!

To view Kristin’s amazing work, visit She takes our family photos every year ~ images I treasure beyond words! Photos above are taken by her of her three beautiful children.


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  1. 1
    christy says:

    I loved this blog – my kiddos absolutely tend to follow these birth order traits. My five-year-old daughter (my oldest) is my little CEO…a perfectionist, an exceptional organizer (of anything and everything), my over-achiever and my more intense and focused child.

    My little guy (who is almost three) tends to be my more laid-back, more mischievous, and more care-free baby. And, he loves entertaining an audience! He also knows that the “women” in his life – his mama and his big sister – take care of him and fulfill his every need 😉 And, he loves it! He LOVES his daddy time, too, but tends to approach me or his sister when he needs something.

    I’m very lucky – my little “book ends” balance each other (most of the time!)…

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    Agree too! My firstborn is a perfectionist, totally. My second is more flexible and laid back. Like Christy said, it makes for a nice balance!

  3. 3

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. However, I am a bit confused as I am middle child and I have more of first born traits :).

  4. 4
    Carrie says:

    My family has always been the opposite of the birth order. My brother was the class clown, teachers always saying that he doesn’t reach his true “potential”. I (the middle child) was the most well-behaved of all the kids, perhaps never wanting to rock the boat because of my older sibling. But one middle child trait kristin didn’t mention is the peacemaker (which I guess plays into negotiations). My youngest sibling, was the most rebellious but also the most perfectionist of us all. Total type A! Funny how different it was for us!

    • 5
      jen says:

      My sister and I are sort of opposite of the “norms” too. There are two of us, but we are both sort of Type A, little CEO planner types! I am the oldest, she is not the stereotypical second born!

  5. 6

    Christy, I love your comment about the little CEO. I always refer to my oldest as my personal assistant. 🙂 And yes, veena@littledinos, I agree that it’s not always accurate. Our life experiences probably play into it as we get older too.

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