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Birth Order Effects: Myths

Common Misconceptions About Birth Order




First Born
Myth: First borns are naturally more intelligent.
Myth Buster:
-A study found in American Psychologist reports that there is no connection between birth order and intelligence.
- The journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin also states that birth order and intelligence are not related.

"D.J. Tanner" from Full House was the first born of the Tanner family

Middle Child
Myth: Middle children feel their position amongst their siblings is insignificant.
Myth Buster: Although middle children may sometimes feel misunderstood, many studies on birth order have shown that they  are mediators and negotiators amongst their siblings.  Middle children have the best of both worlds because  they have the benefit of having an older sibling to look up to and a younger sibling to look up to them. 

"Stephanie Tanner" is the middle child on Full House in the Tanner family

The Baby
Myth: The youngest child is generally regarded as being spoiled, very dependent on others and attention seekers.
Myth Busters: Perhaps within the family environment the last born child may not take on as many responsibilities due to the "babied" way they are treated, however outside of the home they are  required to be independent and take on different challenges in life without Mom or Dad.  This increases maturity and responsibility so birth order cannot be "blamed" for  this behaviour.
This myth is a very broad stereotype regarding the last born child's personality.

Stewie Griffin from Family Guy is the last born child.

"Human beings are too complex to be stuffed into narrow pigeon holes."
-Townsend (1997)

Only Child
Myth: Children who do not have any siblings tend to act as miniature adults and exhibit feelings of lonliness.

Myth Buster: Only children tend to be mature because they are used to being around many adults, however, they do no turn into "miniature adults" because  they are still very creative and imaginative children and they have outside environments such as school which allows them to interact with other children and peers, giving them a wider social world.  Some parents fear their only child is lonely, especially when they have imaginary friends. According to Parenting and Child Health, "children who have imaginary friends are [usually] only children, or oldest children in the family; but having an imaginary friend does not mean that your child is lonely".  Having an imaginary friend is a healthy, normal characteristic of many children whether or not they have siblings.

"Simba" was the only cub in his family

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By: Holly Clarke and Ashley Muise