While it is true the first born is thrust in an unwelcome cycle where they are forced to accept a parent’s attention is not unconditional, this utilitarian understanding is what likely fosters their tendency to be among the more resilient, and certainly the most independent, when compared to any other birth order child. “…first-borns are doubly blessed—lavished with their parents’ attention, and then entrusted to act as the rules enforcer of the family, which builds intelligence, discipline, and leadership qualities.” More so than the children to follow, first borns tend to be receptacles of their parents’ most idealistic hopes and dreams. Sensitive to these projections, first-borns are diligent and aim to be the best at everything.
The enduring influences in a child’s life are the ones that have the greatest impact on personality. When considering this, it should not be surprising to learn first- borns tend to have a natural capacity to navigate unfamiliar situations well. Often without complaint or protest: “Growing up with one or more younger siblings often means parents are focused elsewhere, leaving first-borns to amuse or entertain themselves,” tells Bustle. This quote, while seemingly negative, simply points out the reality – first borns discover the innate power of self-reliance.
Regardless of how you perceive the qualities noted thus far, the most honored and prestigious academic institutions in America, consider their traits of first born’s as assets. Thus, worthy of their investment. The eldest’s strong sense of self, independence, self-reliance, and stubbornness, has, year after year, earned them the highest proportional number – compared to every other birth order – in Ivy league schools. A recent ‘Harvard Crimson’ freshman survey on the class of 2021 demonstrates the disproportionate representation of first borns.: 40 percent, firstborns, 32 percent, youngest children, 14 percent, middle siblings and 12 percent, only children.
In specified cases, the firstborn child that was studied on was observed again as an adult and continued to demonstrate the identical traits as seen when they were a child. When studying famous and historic geniuses in the artistic field, recurrence has demonstrated firstborns to be the children with a creative side as well as being the productive ones. This study also ties together with being an only child. One study indicates that people surround themselves with others associated with their own birth order. “Firstborns are more likely to associate with firstborns, middle-borns with middle-borns, lastborns with lastborns, and only children with only children.” It is also common to have traits that show a strong personality which is capable of leading or acting more mature. This study was related to the U.S presidents when it was discovered that more than half were firstborn, the rest were middle and four were lastborn. After investigating the birth order of the U.S presidents, important leaders were also looked at and showed the same outcome; a large number of every type of leader was firstborn rather than last.
Birth order, and the role of the firstborn, can become complicated in non-nuclear families, with situations such as parents of one child or set of children separating from each other and entering relationships with other people, and then having children with their new partners. In such instances, the first child born in the new relationship may be considered the firstborn for that couple, even though it may not be the first child born to either partner in the couple.
In general, firstborn children have been found to be responsible, assertive, task-oriented, perfectionistic, and supporters of authority. Firstborns can harbor some resentment toward siblings because parental attention has to be shared. They strive to hang onto parental affection by conforming, either to their parents’ wishes, their teachers’, or society’s. If this does not bring the attention they want, some firstborns defy authority and misbehave or rebel.
“Wallace, Meri. Birth Order Blues.,” (Henry Holt & Co.) May 18, 1999.