The order in which we are born affects our personality characteristics. Of all the brothers, the smallest are generally reported as the most problematic, irresponsible and demanding. In fact, parents often do not expect too much from the minor children preferring to put their hopes on older ones. Furthermore, during their childhood and adolescence younger brothers are easy target of jokes and pranks by older siblings. No doubt, this will end up shaping their personality and the way they react to situations.
However, a recent study shows that younger brothers are not the black sheep of the family and can be very successful, a success that could be largely determined by family situations they have dealt with since childhood.
1. They have a more adventurous spirit
Unlike the first-born, which usually assume the role of leader in front of smaller brothers, youngers are forced to find their own role, first within the family and later in life.
The interesting thing is that to find their place and assert their talent, younger siblings are forced to experiment and get out of their comfort zone in advance. Therefore, it is likely they become more open to new experiences, willing to take on challenges and explore.
2. They are more friendly
Eddie Murphy, Stephen Colbert, Jennifer Lawrence and Tina Fey have two things in common: they are the younger brothers of the family and they are very funny. But it is not a coincidence.
A study conducted in the UK revealed that the younger siblings are often considered the most fun while older consider themselves more serious. One theory suggests that the ability to make others laugh is due to the fact that the younger brothers needed to attract the attention of parents and other family members, and probably have learned to do it with sympathy.
3. They tend to feel more relaxed
Younger brothers tend to take a more relaxed lifestyle and cope better with stress, which is due, at least in part, to the fact that parents used a more relaxed style of education with them, showing a laissez-faire type attitude they didn’t use with the first child.
In fact, parents often tend to be overprotective with older children and overload them with responsibility and take a more permissive style with minor ones. This means that minor children feel more free and can face life from a more relaxed perspective.
4. They are successful in interpersonal relationships
The first-born tend to be more assertive, while younger siblings are often more sociable and fun-loving. Again, this feature is due to the fact that they were forced to find their role in the family, they had to learn to manage by themselves their own situations and were also forced to “manipúlate” a bit their parents.
Therefore, smaller brothers are often very good at making new friends and show excellent interpersonal intelligence. In fact, they also have a special gift being able to put people on their side, which is not surprising since fighting with siblings probably they had to fight hard to convince parents that the fault was not theirs.
5. They are more creative
As a general rule, older siblings tend to have a slightly higher IQ, but the little ones are more creative. The latest arrivals in the family often avoid the paths that have already been beaten by older siblings, so they need to develop their creativity.
Younger brothers develop new interests and skills that are not measured with the conventional intelligence tests. So it is clear that younger brothers prefer more creative professions, such as design, architecture, writing or art, while older ones opt for more conventional professions.
(2015) It’s true: birth order shapes personality. YouGov Survey Results.
Sulloway, F. J. (1999) Birth Orden. Encyclopedia of Creativity: 189-202.