5 Science-Proven Facts About Oldest Kids

5 Science-Proven Facts About Oldest Kids

Is your oldest child destined to be an overachiever? Science has a pretty good idea.


By Kelly Bryant

Ever wonder why you’re the only one of your friends to show up exactly on time for a lunch date? Or why your oldest child agonizes over a science project while your youngest couldn’t care less whether his self-constructed volcano erupts? It’s probably due, in large part, to birth order. Where you fall in your familial line influences your personality way more than you think. If you’re a firstborn, or just want to know what makes your oldest child tick, check out these five science-proven facts.

1. Oldest kids are smart cookies. Typically those who fall into the firstborn category boast positive traits like being conscientious, extroverted, and obedient toward parental wishes, notes Catherine Salmon, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Redlands and author of The Secret Power of Middle Children. “There’s some data suggesting they have a higher IQ,” she adds.

2. They’re also kinda type A. No one’s perfect, although oldest children try their darndest. “They often care a lot about what parents think, and that can stress them out trying to achieve some of their demands,” says Salmon. “They can end up being more anxious and overstressed if they’re not successful. That often has a pretty negative impact on them.”

More from P&G everyday: The Truth About How Birth Order Affects Personality

3. And natural-born leaders. “Firstborns are the achievers,” says Kevin Leman, author of The Firstborn Advantage and The Birth Order Book: Why You Are The Way You Are, among others. “They’re our presidents of the United States. They’re our astronauts in outer space. Of the first 23 astronauts, 21 were firstborns, and the other two were only children. Firstborns are the architects or engineers, they’re English teachers, our dentists – anywhere where perfectionism pays off, you’re going to find a proliferation of firstborn and only born children.”

4. You may have more than one of them. Believe it or not, you may have more than one “firstborn.” How, you ask? Leman explains: “There are variables that upset the birth order. I have five kids and I have one son in the middle of four girls. Is he the middle child? No, he’s the firstborn son. He’s the head writer and executive producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He does very well for himself. He’s not a middle child, he’s a firstborn. If there’s a five-year gap between the births of same-sex children, you psychologically start another family.” Leman refers to these kids as “functional firstborns.”

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5. Your firstborn may not fall for another firstborn someday. Birth order can even affect our romantic relationships, and certain birth orders match up better than others, Leman says. “It’s the differences that make us a couple in relationships,” says Leman. “Firstborn women are more likely to marry youngest males or middle males.”

Do these traits match up with your firstborn?


Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/StudioStella


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