Mom Moment—Birth Order


This is a photo of Daughter 3, Lainey Louise. She is the third of my four daughters, and currently right in the middle of the three children living at home. According to some scientists who study birth order, Lainey’s placement in our family affects her personality, her IQ level, and ultimately her future success. (Another “I will feel guilty about this even though I had no control over it” things for parents to worry about.”) There are recent studies that support these ideas.

I think birth order study is fascinating. I also think that there are many other factors that influence personality, IQ, and future success. For example, family expectations, friends, years between children, physical problems, economic level, values, and a million other things. Any parents realizes that they cannot take any one of their children and find that they fit every description of a first, middle, or last child. That being said, I still find it all fascinating. I think it offers a bit of explanation for why I am the way I am and why my four daughters are the way they are.

So, I thought I would conduct my very own, very unscientific study on birth order using Lainey as my subject. According to the Child Development Institute, the following are typical characteristics of a third child:

  • Has neither rights of oldest nor privileges of youngest.
  • Feels life is unfair.
  • Feels unloved, left out, "squeezed."
  • Feels doesn't have place in family.
  • Becomes discouraged and "problem child" or elevates self by pushing down other siblings.
  • Is adaptable.
  • Learns to deal with both oldest and youngest sibling.

Do these characteristics describe Lainey? Yes, and no. Yes—she has learned to deal with older and younger siblings; I think that she often feels like life is unfair; and if I’m really honest, she has probably had less rights than her older sisters and less privileges than her younger sister. No—she is not a problem child; I’m pretty sure she feels loved and like she has a place in the family…at one angry moment she told me that the only reason I had her was so that I could have someone to yell at…see, she has a place.

Let’s evaluate Lainey with another list. This one is from the very prestigious and scientific website, PBS According to the information here, these might be some of the feelings Lainey has as a middle child:

  • "I'm tired of being left out of things."
  • "Nobody understands me!"
  • "Nobody ever listens to me!"
  • "I'm always in the shadow of my older sister/brother."
  • "My youngest brother/sister gets away with everything."

Are these some of Lainey’s feelings? Not sure, I’ll make a quick phone call…She said false, true, true, false, and true. She doesn’t feel left out, but she does feel like she is not understood or listened to. She does not feel overshadowed by her two older sisters, but feels like her younger sister has more leeway. Very interesting.

For the final round of my study, I will use information from Time Magazine and Scientific American. Both of these articles cite studies that indicate that the first child almost always has the highest IQ in the family, (I’ll agree with that because I am a first child). That would indicate that Lainey’s IQ is less than both of her older sisters. I don’t know if this is true, but Lainey is a brilliant child. And she reminded me, less than 30 minutes ago, that she is definitely the smartest one in the family. I think she is probably right…and we are all okay with that. That is kind of her spot.

So after my thorough study and very broad-sweeping approach to the issue of birth order, what are my conclusions? Is Lainey a typical third child? Yes and no. I think Lainey manifests some definite characteristics and feelings of a third child. However, are those feelings and characteristics a result of her birth order, or are their additional factors involved (don’t I sound scientific). I think both. In summary, Lainey is who she is…an amazing child that I love fiercely.

What is your birth order personality? Do you think you are pretty typical of where you were born in your family? Think about it for a minute and then take this quiz to see where you are. Apparently, I have a typical first born personality…right on. But, according to the quiz, Lainey also has a typical first born personality. Very interesting…could it be because there is a four year gap between her and her older sister? could it be because she is being raised by a first born child? could it be because that is just who she is? What do you think?

Another interesting fact, this post came about when one of my younger sisters pointed out that Lainey’s name did not appear in my blog cloud. My sister thought Lainey might think that wasn’t fair. My sister is also a third child. So this post is for Lainey and Lynnette, to correct some of the unfairness in their world.


  1. I think Lainey is the most incredible, amazing and elegant! I have always called her Lovely Lainey because that is just what is is "Lovely" in every way! And her looks are becoming more striking everyday! WOW! love you tons Lainey!

  2. I was wondering when I would get mentioned in your blog. Life suddenly feels more fair!

  3. hi lori.

    I am a middle child but it was of 7, so I was the youngest of the older set and the oldest of the younger set. I think there is a lot to the social science of these studies. I find it fascinating, too. p.s.-- LOVE your upcycled dress!