5 SIGNS YOU'RE A MEMBER OF OLDEST CHILD CLUB

Have you noticed that oldest children seem to have characteristics in common? It may not be scientifically proven, but there are definite traits I see in my fellow Oldest Child Club members. #oldestchild #firstborn

IN GOOD COMPANY

I'm feeling rather special today because (after doing some online research) I discovered that I have something in common with JK Rowling, Beyonce, Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey......drum roll..... we're all first born girls! I figured with there must be something to this first born/oldest child position if it creates amazing women like them (and me!) and I definitely think we need an Oldest Child Club for us all to belong to - somewhere we could cheer each other on.

5 TRAITS OF FIRST BORNS

I did a bit of digging around -  and by "digging around" I must admit most of it comes from stuff I've noticed in myself and blogged about, and comments from those who read my blog who say the same traits seem to apply to them too - because they're the oldest in their families. So, today I'm covering five classic "symptoms" of being a first born and being eligible for membership in my Oldest Child Club.

1) WE'RE PERFECTIONISTS

Being the oldest child means our parents had high expectations of us and that seems to make us very achievement oriented. In our school days we liked being top of the class, now days we like doing things well and we hate failure and letting people down. Discovering that Perfectionism isn't a good thing was a huge eye-opener for me - Brene Brown's "The Gift of Imperfection" has helped pull my perfectionism gene back a few degrees and I feel like I'm kinder to myself these days - but it still lurks in there waiting for an excuse to over achieve if the chance presents itself.

2) WE LIKE TO BE IN CONTROL

The need for control is always present in my life - to have a plan for every occasion and then a back up plan "just in case" has been my life long mantra. It's only in Midlife that I've been able to allow a little chaos (not too much chaos though!) into my life and to let my grip on life relax a little. We oldest children like our ducks in a row - we herded our younger siblings, and we still like to herd our family and others in our network - orderliness is second only to godliness for a lot of us.

3) WE'RE SUPER RESPONSIBLE

Belgian psychologists Vassilis Saroglou and Laure Fiasse wrote in a 2003 paper that "Firstborns tend to be responsible, competitive and conventional" - I think we're the stick-in-the-mud members of the family - we like things to be done properly and we worry about the risk taking members of our families. Often we're the bystanders and the audience while others are doing the "silly stuff" and it takes a fair amount of effort on our part to step out of the role of being the responsible oldest child. Who's going to worry and have the bandaids ready if we aren't looking after everyone?

4) WE NEED TO FIX EVERYTHING

We like to be organized, we feel the need to fix people who aren't as "together" as we see ourselves. Dysfunctional "messy" people just need a little bit of our helpful advice and they'll be sorted out in no time at all. It can be quite frustrating (speaking from experience) to live with or work with a person who isn't wanting to be fixed, or who wants to stay disorganized or who chooses not to do it our way (the "right" way!) I've had to give up and walk away from unfixable situations because they just do my head in and I wonder if it affects non-first borns differently when they work with messy people.

5) WE TEND TO PLAY SAFE

I don't think I've ever met an oldest child who jumped into spontaneous activities without giving it a second thought. We all seem to weigh up the consequences (and then check them again) before we dive into anything that looks adventurous or risky. You don't see us buying the risky stockmarket shares, or bungee jumping off bridges (unless we've checked our insurance policies first). We're often the parent who is saying "No" while the other parent is saying "Go for it!" and we're usually the worriers because those around us don't have the our inbuilt sense of what could go wrong.

Have you noticed that oldest children seem to have characteristics in common? It may not be scientifically proven, but there are definite traits I see in my fellow Oldest Child Club members. #oldestchild #firstborn

IT'S ALL SUBJECTIVE

I know that there's plenty of first borns who'd read this and not identify with the 5 qualities I've listed. They'd insist they're risk takers, poor scholars, easy going, and prone to being messy. The scientists aren't in agreement about the whole birth order thing either, but from my (slightly biased) observations, there are a lot of us who fit the criteria and who laugh at how similar we are to each other.

My husband's the youngest in his family and completely different to me in how he approaches life. Our son and daughter are the same - he's very much a first born - responsible, organized, orderly, and logical....while she's very much a youngest child - cruisy, easy going, flexible, and spontaneous. We raised them with the same parenting style, standards and expectations, and yet they've taken on the traits of their birth order quite strongly - it's an interesting conundrum.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you eligible for membership in my Oldest Child Club? Do you fit the criteria or are you more in tune with the personality of an easy going middle child or free spirited younger child? Do you think birth order plays a part in our personalities? Should we start a Club?

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Have you noticed that oldest children seem to have characteristics in common? It may not be scientifically proven, but there are definite traits I see in my fellow Oldest Child Club members. #oldestchild #firstborn

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Have you noticed that oldest children seem to have characteristics in common? It may not be scientifically proven, but there are definite traits I see in my fellow Oldest Child Club members. #oldestchild #firstborn


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37 comments

  1. I'm eligible & I'm nodding & I want to be part of your club.

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    1. At least we'd all have a lot in common Jo - it's scary to be so easily labelled!

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  2. Leanne, my husband is an 'only' and he has all of these traits. I affectionately call him the Boy Scout and fully appreciate the balance he brings to my life. I am second born and can only relate to #4 so I guess I'll have to form my own club. I definitely think birth order plays a part in personality development. Glad you were able to let go of the perfectionist trait.

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    1. My husband is a Youngest Suzanne and much more cruisy than me - he says I bring order and structure into our life (and he helps me lighten up a bit!) Only's and First's are very similar in personalities so your husband can join my club :)

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  3. I am a first born and most of this is true for me. I do try to fix people, I like being right, lol I am disorganized at times but I like order and don't have a spontaneous bone in my body. If you want me to do something you better give me a week or better to plan and get ready or I can't do it. I also can't stand to have a plan changed. I always found it funny that husband and I did so well together since we were both first born control freaks.

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    1. Our son and DIL are both firstborns - maybe like attracts like (rather than opposites attract?) My husband and I are first and last born - so we're definitely in the opposites box - a lot of compromise happens in our house!

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  4. Hi, Leanne - I definitely believe in 'birth order personality traits'. That being said, I believe that I score high on all five points you listed -- and I'm the youngest (of 2). My sister (the eldest) was the cruisy, risk-taker. I'm very prepared to accept that we may be the exception to the rule!

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    1. Maybe your sister failed Firstborn 101 and you had to step up to the plate Donna? :) If she'd been more organized and controlling, you might have turned out to be the cruisy one!

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  5. I'm a car carrying member of your club Leanne :) . Great summary and I tend to agree with most of these traits! Loved reading and nodding all the way through!

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    1. That should read 'card' carrying member!

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    2. It's quite interesting how so many of us can relate to having similar personality traits Deb - there's always the exception to the rule, but the majority of us tick a lot of these boxes x

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  6. No, none of those apply to me and I am the oldest. I couldn't think of anything more boring than having lived my life "safely". So, yes I agree with your summary :-)

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    1. There's always the exception Suzanne - I think it's to do with the personalities of parents and siblings - sometimes the roles get swapped around. I'd love to be able to say that I hadn't lived my life "safely" but it'd be a lie :)

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  7. Hi Leanne - I'm a free spirited middle child. The five traits that you listed, wow, they seem to bring on pressure and stress.#mlstl

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    1. I'm a little envious of easy going, free spirited middle children Natalie - and YES! the oldest child qualities definitely bring some pressure and stress with them (par for the course I'm afraid).

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  8. No bungee jumping off bridges for me, I am a card carrying oldest daughter and all of those apply to me. Like you, I have eased up in recent years and am not as perfectionist and controlling as I once was. I am still learning to go with the flow... it doesn't come natural to me.

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    1. Welcome to the club Michele - we'll stand at the bottom and watch the bungee jumpers - I'm happy to cheer them on (as long as I don't know them!) Midlife has brought with it some easing of the perfectionism and that's one of the nicer aspects that I've appreciated about being in my 50's - glad you're finding the same.

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  9. Hi Leanne I’m another member of the oldest child club. I have to admit that the oldest child traits you have listed describe me very well. #MLSTL Sharing on SM

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    1. Hi Jennifer - nice to meet another firstborn - I wonder how many bloggers fit the category? Interesting to see that you fit the descriptions too :)

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  10. Of course, being a first-born myself, this is the first post I had to come check out! And yes, while not 100% accurate, it's far more accurate than I'd like to admit!
    Sharing for MLSTL

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    1. I've notice that when I blog about these characteristics a lot of others comment that they have them too Trisha - and it turns out that the majority of them are oldest girls - so there must be something in this birth order business!

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  11. Oh my gosh! I'm a first born girl too and all those traits are me for sure! It's uncanny! If you start a club - I'm in! :-)

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    1. Your invitation's in the mail Min - it's weird how much these traits are an intrinsic part of us isn't it? I wonder what I would have been like if I'd been born last instead? Quite weird to think about for any length of time (it does my orderly head in!)

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  12. Tick (kind of) tick, tick, tick, tick.....I know exactly what you mean.

    There is a book called Why First Borns Rule the World (and last borns want to change it) by Michael Grose and as a person who is both first born and who taught quite a few ....I know that this book is of interest. He also wrote about the others in birth order and THAT is interesting too. My husband is 5 of 13 and he does his own thing..always has and sometimes gets very annoyed with me and my traits!! Denyse #mlstl

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    1. Hi fellow firstborn-er and welcome to the club. I guess that's why we relate so well - we have similar traits and married men who have to work their way around those little idiosyncracies!

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  13. Yes, yes, yes...as a first born much of this information rings very true to me...I have to control things and uncertainty does make me nervous, but not so nervous that I won't try new things. I just research the heck of it first so I have enough information to take the leap.
    Shared to SM, love #MLSTL

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    1. Control, certainty and planning are all big parts of my life and I definitely blame them on being the firstborn in my family. Neither of my brothers feel any of it - I think they got off much easier than I did!

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  14. Perfectly and responsibly written, Leanne! :) I'm the oldest girl of two brothers and guess who was mommy's little helper? I see these same traits in my two daughters! It is what it is.

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    1. You're right about it being what it is Terri - but it does make me wonder what we'd be like if we'd been born later in the family order. I'm not sure I could handle being irresponsible and reckless - it messes with my orderly mind just thinking about it!

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  15. Leanne, I fit all 5 characteristics completely, but I am not the first born! My husband's oldest brother has none of them. In fact he scares me how lacking he is in responsibility and ability to fix anything ... we removed him as the executor in our will. I think self-knowledge about your characteristics is important, whether they happened because of birth order or not.

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    1. There's always exceptions to every rule Pat - I think younger children step up if the older child hasn't taken on the mantle of responsibility. I've also noticed that only children and those who follow big gaps in the family order seem to display a lot of these qualities. Maybe your husband became firstborn by default? And I wonder what made you step up to the plate??? :)

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  16. Hi BBB, I'm a middle child but I appear to have all of the traits of an oldest child. Perhaps as my brother was 7 years older than I and my sister 3 years younger the gap may have made me a pseudo oldest child :) You are in good company Leanne! Another great week for #MLSTL and we certainly make a fabulous team. xx

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    1. I would say that the 7 year gap definitely had an impact on your birth order traits Sue. You probably took on the "firstborn" role between you and your sister - while your brother did his own thing. I think it affects girls more than boys IMHO - we definitely want to be the helpers and the organizers and feel responsible for everyone.

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  17. Yep oldest child here and I fit all the criteria to a T!

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    1. Nice to have another member of the club Janet - there's always room for one more :)

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  18. Leanne, glad this birth order thing resonates with you. I'm a firsty and don't mind being in the company of JK Rowling, Beyonce, Hillary Clinton Oprah Winfrey and YOU. I think what you're writing about is a fun way to look at ourselves. As I evolve and grow I learn how powerless I am to control, fix, or change others, and how powerful I am to create happiness, balance, and contentment in my own life. Keep up the good work and be well. Will pin and reshare this post. MLSTL-thanks for hosting!!!

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    1. Hi Nancy - another firsty! welcome to the club! And yes, it has to be a little tongue in cheek because it's such a strange thing to see the same traits in others that show up because of which order we arrived in! It makes a lot of sense that we'd be the responsible ones and the fixers etc but it's also nice to get older and realize that we can actually let some of that stuff go and enjoy the ride x

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