Free Essay Sample «The Effects of Birth Order on Interpersonal Relationships»

«The Effects of Birth Order on Interpersonal Relationships»


According to Leman (2000), many studies have been conducted in an attempt to determine what exactly makes people who they are actually. But all in all personality has various distinguished definitions. Moreover, many factors are likely to shape the formation of an individual’s personality. One of these factors is birth order, some may be wondering what is meant by birth order – it simply refers to the numerical place of an individual in the order of births in his/her family. Birth order is therefore relevant in various studies. Generally, one may therefore conclude that each rank ranging from the oldest, middle, youngest, and only, usually have the same characteristics which are basically common in children of the same birth order. It is therefore essential also to conclude that these characteristics that are similar are likely to affect other aspects of life basically the interpersonal relationships.    

Kimberly & Morrow (1992) affirms that the order of birth of every individual in the family plays an important role in the interpersonal development of an individual in relation to: personality, intelligence, career choice, and disposition. Generally, the familial atmosphere is the first group experience a child has and the role of the child in their family and the manner in which it affects the future development of the child’s interpersonal relations or personal traits.

Leman (2000) asserts that the research will also focus on families and how children what is good for their parents and siblings and then compete with their kids in relation to several roles prior to finding the personal niche of the children in the family. As most of the kids are socialized into their families, they tend to make a place for within the family and no two children may make a place that is similar, even if they are identical twins.

It is clear that most first born children tend to posses unique position in their families and this might be as a result of having the first priority in making choices of niche in the family system. Niche is usually seen to have unyielding evidence in connection to diligence with the aim of pleasing their parents. If at all the birth order factor has a major influence on an individual’s personality, and more so, different people of the same order of birth are likely to possess similar personality traits then the research will focus basically on why birth order has a major influence on the types of interpersonal relationships that people have (Leman, 2000).   

Relative to first and last born children, those children born in the middle are usually believed to experience very little interaction and also they usually receive very little attention and therefore this research will be looking at how this affects the child’s self esteem. Due to lack of concern for the middle children and young children tend to feel squeezed in the family and therefore and thus they tend to have less importance within the family (Leman, 2000). The research will also look at the kids at the middle since they are usually not obligated to any form of responsibility in the family but the fact remains that they are worthy of their family’s attention in the family. This paper will therefore focus on the methods that can be employed in order to have a good interpersonal relation.

Research Question

This study will aim at answering the following questions: a) do the birth order of the child enable them to correlate with other children or do they have strategies that enable them to cope up with the challenges they face in the family? Moreover, in accordance to the idea of dealing with the challenges that are being faced by the children in relation to their birth order, the research will also look into the different ways of living by these children. b) The research will also answer the question concerning the effects of birth order and the academic performance of the first middle and last children at school or colleges in order to determine how their intelligence vary.  

The Rationale of the Research

The long lasting effects birth order have always been well-documented in the past studies both globally and nationwide. Even though various researches have been carried concerning the effects of birth order, there is still lack of information in relation to the cognitive strategies of addressing the effects and the coping up with the effects of birth order on interpersonal relationship in children. This also includes the preservation in accordance to the mental well-being of the child but in relation to the order of their birth (Leman, 2000). Therefore in carrying research in regard to such a study may deem to be very essential as it is likely to help in future to know what causes a certain kid to appear the way he /she is. The study also will have very important implications in employing efforts to find way of helping such children who are being affected as a result of their birth order in the family.

Generally, the long lasting effects of birth order have also been well-documented in the past researches which ranges from more than fifty years ago and yet still there are some information regarding effects of birth order to the interpersonal relationship are still lacking. This study will in turn be very important if at all there would look into the ways of addressing the problem s associated with traits that are possessed by people in regard to their birth order.

Research will also look at the first person to recognize birth order as a significant factor in the development of an individual, who is in this case was Alfred Adler. Adler believed that although children have same parent as they grow up in almost the same family setting, they usually have different social environment. The oldest child is usually conservative, power oriented, self dependent, and predisposed according to Alfred. He further brings out the rationale of the study to b focus on the dependability of the child in regard to birth order. He says that the only child who is faced with various difficulties with every independent activity and sooner may turn out to be useless in life is the oldest (Leman, 2000).       

Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this paper or this research project is to answer the questions that have already been mentioned in the above section of research question comprehensively and very elaborate. Nonetheless, the study will also focus on creating awareness on how birth order may affect the nature of the child as he/she grows. This implies that there are various unrealistic goals as created by the children in terms of their birth order since as years pass by things also change and therefore the children may not have the same dream over and over.

Another thing that the research will focus on is helping the children to be in a position whereby the can cope up with the situations created by birth order in the family level before getting into interpersonal development of the child. The study will also discuss the nature of the life that these children are leading and try to look into ways that they can be helped. More specifically the study will:

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a) Try and find out if there are any strategies in place that are cognitive that can be employed in order to help the children cope with problems that are bound to occur as a result of the difference in their birth order.  

b) Compare the academic performance of the kids in regard to the difference created as a result of the difference in their birth order.

c) It will also focus on determining the reasons why middle children are always achievement-oriented, even though many set unrealistic goals that are likely to result in failure.

d)   the research will also suggest the nine important factors to consider when examining birth order:

-  Spacing; which refers to the number of years between children

-  The sex of each child; this is the sequence in which male and female children are born

-   Physical, emotional, and mental differences ; whereby genes are so essential

-  Death of the children; which in case death may occur in early age may affects the children below him/her to be bumped up to the next order

-  Adoption is a factor that may not be effectual to on birth order, depending on the on how old is the child before adoption

-  the birth order of each parent; most first born parents usually run as much as varied relationship in relation to the order of birth

-   the critical eye of parents; this is whereby constant criticism takes its toll

-  The blending of two or more families; due to death or divorce in a step family a given birth order is usually stepped on.

-  The relationship between parents; whereby the parenting styles that such parents employ on their children are passed on to their personal values to their kids.  


This part of the paper will focus on the steps that need to be undertaken in order to complete the whole research process. This is the part that will provide the explanation of the proposed techniques that will be employed in gathering and the analysis of data that will be collected in the process of research. In this part the research will also focus on deciding on the best approach as well as the factors that must be considered in choosing the research the research technique (Cecile & Jules, 1983).


A total of 20 males and 72 females will be required to participate in the research, ranging from 16 to 60 years old. Participants will be chosen from distinguished numbers of employment places; one which will likely be predominantly male (car leadership), another one that will be predominantly female (nursing home) and another one which will be presumably mixture of the sexes and is most likely to an (insurance firm). The researcher will also represent at all locations the answers and the questions concerning survey. Then the researcher will be required to record the number of the firstborns, middle children, and finally the samples of the youngest children in their families in terms of percentage. The entire sample will be required to be only from children.

Materials to be used in the research process

A twenty question will be developed by the researcher and then distributed. The demographic data will entail age, gender, and a list of participants’ siblings’ age and gender. There will be also yes or no questions concerning whether or not the involved individuals or participants had same sex friends, an opposite sex friend and finally the current romantic partner. Participants will also be questioned in a follow up manner concerning their birth order and whether they have had any kind of relationship and has lasted for how long (Cecile & Jules, 1983).


As it had already been mentioned, survey will be carried and distributed in three distinguished work settings with the aim of balancing the overall gender percentages in the study. The research will be done in a period of seven day from morning to evening. Then the surveys will be given or provided in the same time as the moment when the researcher will be presenting their questions. Bit the time to be spent at workplace will not exceed one hour (Cecile & Jules, 1983).

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The design of the study

In this particular meta-analysis will have to employ the application of a case study methodology of carrying out quantitative research. In this specific study concerning the effects of birth order on interpersonal relationship to children will seek to explore how birth order is likely to affect the cognitive behavior in relation to well being of teenagers at school and this will be conducted through carrying out interviews. Instead of using large samples and following a unyielding procedure in examining the limited number of variables, case study methodology that uses an in-depth, longitudinal examination of a single instance or occurrence. This is due to the fact that this employs a more elaborate way of carrying out an analysis of the relevant information and giving a report of the results (Cecile & Jules, 1983).

The study also intends to employ surveys and questionnaire to be used in this study and point out to the comments and experiences of parents who have seen their kids undergoing through difficulties or being affected in regards to the birth order. Teachers will also be able to be given the opportunity to contribute towards the success of this research project by providing detailed information in regard to the performance of each student in connection to their birth order. The methodology requires also that the data and the reports collected from the teenagers, parents and teachers in terms of Likert technique of scaling. A total of more than thirty families with children whose birth order are different will be used as participants in the study (Cecile & Jules, 1983).

Sampling Procedure

According to Kimberly & Morrow (1992), a total of at least fifty families with teenagers will be recruited for the study through a family court within the lineage and also from divorced families being referred for counseling. A comparison of families going through separation or divorce would also take part and the subjects without psychological problems will also be chosen.

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A Chi-square will be computed for every original hypothesis that the researcher will have set out to investigate. The most significant part of this study in regards to birth order of those children who are so close and have same sex-friend will also be employed. Another hypothesis in regards to the participant’s birth order and the close opposite sex friends will also be used since it is very significant. The third hypothesis will be that of the birth order of the persons with romantic partners which is also significant in the study (Kimberly & Morrow, 1992). The fourth hypothesis will be in regards to the participants’ birth order and the birth order of the most recently divorced partners (Cecile & Jules, 1983).

The final hypothesis will be that of Chi-square which will be employed in determining the individuals who have been having unsuccessful but significant relationship and in this part the research will not look at the partners who divorced in the past few years (Cecile & Jules, 1983).     

Data Collection

The teens will be taking part and will therefore be able to complete a self report paper and pencil measure the psychological changes in large groups by testing the environment where they are not alone. Subjects from the divorced group will be given cognitive appraisal measures of parents’ divorce and emotional security in order to complete at their own convenience and more so in regards to the birth order of their children.

It will be important that for the second research question, the researcher employs a technique of measuring the performance of the children in two specific ways:

a) Obtaining end of the second semester’s results for a total of ten subjects and record the scores for each and secondly,

b) The teachers will be requested to rate the performance of the child in reference to ten disciplines. Every rating will be based on 5-point scale beginning from below average of peer’s performance to extremely above average. All teachers are bound to be in line with the hypothesis of the study in order for their rating to be effective or efficient. For the purposes of Statistical analysis, Linkert scale is likely to be used in order to come up with the mean and the standard derivations for the responses (Cecile & Jules, 1983).  

Data Quality

The data quality will be gathered and analyzed and will be of quality and is likely to be essential to the both the children and the parents. This research will enable students to be able to develop strategies that will in turn enable them to cope up with such cases of divorce. Nonetheless, the research findings will be from a number of cross-sectional designs and that will make it complex for to determine whether the children with mental disorder were mainly the firstborns, middle children or the lastborns.

It is therefore important to focus on the importance of the process of collecting data that will be used in this study since it has to be a clear and elaborate process that will not hamper the research project as a whole. Generally information may be bias and that is why we are intending to focus on the methods of data collection in order to avoid such things from occurring and basically it will also depend on the methodologies that will be employed in the research.   

Ethical aspect of the Study

Bram (1997) suggests that the ethical aspect of the study be looked into since in every country, research work involving human subjects or rather animals must be in accordance to the ethical standards. This is done in order to protect the dignity and privacy of all people and therefore all the participants involved should be given notice of the potential hazards and the general expected outcome. These hazards must be brought clear to the attention of the participants involved in the research process so as to avoid cases whereby research affects participants (Angira, 1990).

Angira (1990) has also recommended that the researcher will have to treat children as subjects, instead of objects in the research process and this must be the principle that will be held throughout the study. The research is also likely to use a program that will enable the parents to contribute towards the success of this research by engaging them in an open discussions, so that everyone participant expresses his/her view.

It will also be appropriate to use a positive approach to families in approaching families where the parents will be considered to be the gatekeepers, and will therefore secure the information that will be collected. Nonetheless, ethically children will reasonably be exposed to give their own views since they are also being used as subject in the whole research process. The children will not necessarily agree to this mandate and if they do agree, the agreement will be referred to as assent but not consent.       

Recommendation and Conclusion

According to (), it is therefore clear that a large number of children join the mounting or rising number of the children whose birth order affects their interpersonal relationships or personality. For a given number of times children are forced to adopt new ways of living due to the detrimental effects as a result of their birth order in the family setting. In accordance to the standpoint of the child, it is a painful feeling to lose one of the parents who have been present and that leads to various consequences.  Even though many families try to make up after a given period of time, the children are likely to suffer most and may not be capable to heal up from the problem.

Birth order is also likely to lead to detrimental impact on both long term and short term adjustment and this may cause academic problems to the child. Finally, the research will recommend that in future the study must be able to compare pre-divorce and post-divorce families in regard to the level of parenting styles which determines the child’s development based on the order of their birth (Kimberly & Morrow, 1992).

The research will also be recommended to focus on the propositions that will accompany the finding of the research in regards to span social work practice and education of the child. the research will also be able to carry our an examination and appreciation of client’s birth order as part of their development experience, as this is likely to open a lee way to new research concerning the effects of birth order on children and adults. There are two major theories that the research will be based which will be either how an individual develops by nature or nurture. The fact that birth order can have a very significant affect on the child’s development and further the life of the adults supports the later (Peter, 1966).

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The research will recommend that we look at the academic performance of the firstborn taking into consideration, how they are aggressive in learning process. The main reason why the research must focus on the academic performance of each child: firstborn, middle children and lastborns is because it will help towards the success of this specific project (Kimberly & Morrow, 1992).

Since birth order has a significant effect on the education of the child in comparison with the kid’s siblings; the research will therefore be based on already established knowledge that birth order may also affect the personality due to their initial interaction. The interaction will be between the family members whereby the child begins to develop a sense of self-child personality in a classroom and must be conducive to learning.

The research will also recommend that we examine closely the issue of birth order and the manner in which it affects the individuals in regards to carious contextual environment. In so doing, the research is likely to be able to expand to encompass children of various races, children of different cultures, and those who have been brought up in different countries. The research will also enable the researcher to be able to know how the experience will shape the lives of the kids as adults. in the due process, if they happen to learn more about or concerning the various races, cultures, and how countries socialize their kids, and how such families socialize, it is then that the research will gather a lot of information concerning the development of the personality, intelligence, self-esteem, and career choices of the children in future in regards to their birth order (Judith, & Steele, 1993).


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Finally, we also recommend that further investigation be carried out in regards to the gender influence of a child’s birth order and the manner in which it affects the development of the child, the future, as well as the interpersonal relationship. And last but not least, the findings of this research will be intended to encourage further investigations into the issues that will be discussed (Kimberly & Morrow, 1992).      



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