Hilarious truths on how birth order actually impacts our kids

Think birth order has nothing to do with your child’s personality? Think again! Several parenting experts have done the research and the results are in – when it comes to your child’s personality, birth order really does come into play!

So what can you expect from your first, second and third child? Who will be the cheekiest? Who will be the shyest? And who will charm the pants off everyone he meets?

Here is our tongue-in-cheek guide to birth order and your babies:

sibling love three kids L Hockley

The Birth Order Effect

In the world of parenting, there are experts. I am not one of them. I sometimes like to think I am but, in reality, my kids pretty much run circles around me and I rely on a healthy combination of caffeine and bribery to get through most days.

Michael Grose, on the other hand, is a parenting expert and one who knows his stuff. He is the author of Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It and founder of Parenting Ideas. And he’s written extensively on the subject of birth order. Grose, along with many others, has discovered that there are certain characteristics that children share based on their birth order.

Whether this holds true in your family or not, it’s always fun to see how your kids stack up.

First-born babies


According to Grose, you can expect your first-born to display the following characteristics:

  • High achievers
  • Perfectionists
  • Responsible
  • Goal-setters
  • Determined
  • Rule keepers
  • Detail people

So, what does this mean for you?

Well, I may not be a parenting professional, but I am a parent and thus, let me break it down to you in ‘mum speak’.

Put frankly, your first-born is going to be a perfectionist who will drive you to the brink of insanity with his meticulous nature. Expect every single crayon to be placed back in the box in the correct order and expect the task to take 95 minutes, especially if you are in a rush.

Your first-born will probably also have a wide range of knowledge about really random things (like the name of every single dinosaur to ever roam the lands) that will make you wonder if you’re raising a genius or if you’re just getting stupider in your old age.

Your first-born will also most likely be the one to tell on you to Daddy if she happens to find you hiding in the laundry room eating chocolate. It’s in their nature, after all.

But through it all, your first-born will have an intense attachment and loving bond to you, one that will be hard to break. In fact, you can most certainly expect one arm to be much larger than the other from carrying him around until he is in primary school.

Second-borns and middle children

Stpoehanie family

What about your second born baby? What’s in the cards for him? Grose explains, seconds and middles tend to be:

  • Peacemakers
  • Diplomatic
  • Flexible
  • Free spirits
  • Generous
  • Competitive

And in ‘mum speak’?

You’re basically raising a mini politician. Sometimes his arguments will be so convincing you will actually start to believe him. The cheeky monster will be able to wriggle his way out of pretty much any situation, from taking a bath to wearing clothes to the shops. He’s just that good.

Or you’re just that tired.

Second-borns are social creatures so you can expect a lot of unwelcome children from the neighbourhood at your doorstep, asking if your child is around to play or simply waltzing into your house and making themselves at home. Invest in a broom to shoo them away.

You will also need to purposely lose every single game of Snakes and Ladders you ever play with your secondborn or risk having him break the board in half. Highly competitive children have their strengths. Losing is not one of them. And, ironically enough, Snakes and Ladders is not one of yours.

However, your second child will also have one of the biggest and kindest hearts out there. One day she will do something so unexpectedly sweet and empathetic that it will bring a tear to your eye and confirm that you are, in fact, doing something right.

The third and/or youngest children of the clan

rae kids

Third children and youngest children tend to share similar characteristics. As Grose explains, the babies of the family tend to be:

  • Charmers
  • Risk-takers
  • Outgoing
  • Persistent
  • Ideas people
  • Creative
  • Challenge authority

In other words…

You really don’t stand a chance. Sure, you had some authority with Number One and Number Two, but this one has got you beat from day one.

His charming cheekiness combined with his persistence (not to mention the fact that you’ve been arguing with mini humans for years now, and you’re probably about ready to admit defeat), means he has you (and everyone he meets) wrapped around his little finger.

You can expect your third born to use the words, “No” and “Why not?” more than any other of your children. You can also expect him to visit the principal’s office the most. And the emergency department.

And when you catch your children naked in the backyard eating leftover Halloween candy at midnight, you can automatically assume it was your third child’s brilliant idea.

But through his exhausting defiance, your third born has a fun-loving nature to him, one that will hopefully stay with him forever. No matter what you’re doing, from counting cars in traffic to doing the weekly shop, you can be sure that he will make it an adventure, and one that you will feel privileged and proud to be a part of.

So what do you think? Are Grose’s birth order characteristics true for your children? Or not?

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written by:

Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna traded in the cold mountain air for the laid back lifestyle of Australia nine years ago. She is now a mum to one son, one daughter, one dog and one cat, all of whom live with her and her partner in Cairns, QLD. When not writing about the ups and downs of parenting, she is usually outside doing some form of physical activity or indulging in a glass of antioxidant-infused fruit drink. Okay, it's wine.