If it sometimes seems like older children were born bossy, consider some of history’s most famous eldest children: Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, and Winston Churchill.
In fact, some of the stereotypes regarding first-born children have a grain of truth to them—they can be responsible, organized, and ambitious. They can also be famous type-A personalities.
Of course, every family is different and everything from a death in the family to a large age gap between the firstborn and younger children, divorce, blended families, gender, size and several other things can affect a child’s personality more than birth order, but psychologists have been studying birth order long enough to know that it does actually affect the way a person turns out. Same with the middle child and the youngest child. So while it’s impossible to make too many generalizations, studies have shown that oldest children are often:
- Assertive or dominant
- Respectful of authority
- Good students
- Fearful in new situations
- Dependent on others for approval
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020
- Famous eldest children include Winston Churchill and Oprah Winfrey.
- Firstborn children can be responsible, organized, and ambitious.
- Oldest children are usually mature, self-disciplined, and leaders.