The oldest, middle, youngest, and only child; Which is worse? And which is best?


David Joaquin

Older, younger, both, or no siblings will have lasting effects on someone.

Everyone is either an older, middle, younger, or only child in their family. Many a time someone may beg for things to be different, to feel in charge as the oldest, to get away with things as the middle, to be babied as the youngest, or to have some alone time as the only child, but what if in fact it could be worse?

There are specific syndromes for each type of birth order of children. Although they may not be entirely true, being born with younger, older, both, or no siblings might affect how a person behaves and really makes up who they are.

Oldest Child

For example, older children tend to be very confident. This is due to them not having to have that older sibling that teases them and having parents that praise all their firsts because it’s also their firsts as parents. Additionally they are always put in charge of their younger siblings and being treated as almost equal to an adult adds to their confidence. 

Sophomore Cecy Rivera is the oldest child among her siblings in her family and said she loves that, “I get to experience things first so I can teach and make sure my siblings don’t make the same mistakes. I like how confident and sure of myself I feel and how I can be a leader and take charge so easily.”

There are of course downsides of being the oldest. Since they have more responsibilities and are expected to be role models, they feel pressure to be perfect. And that pressure of feeling the need to be perfect may make them scared to try something for fear of making a mistake and it will be difficult for them to admit they’re wrong. Also their parents will be more strict on them given they are their first baby. 

Rivera stated, “I hate the pressure and responsibility, and that I am expected to be the role model.” When asked if she could trade being the oldest in her family with something else she said, “I would want to be the only child they seem unbothered.” 

Rivera said at the end, “I just wish I could be my own person sometimes.” 

Middle Child

Middle children are hardest to label because it really depends on their older sibling. They tend to act the polar opposite of their older siblings so they can be their own person, so if the oldest is rebellious then they might be a parent-pleaser.

Middle children also see themselves getting the short end of the stick compared to their older and younger siblings, so they learn to negotiate to get what they want. 

Former MCHS student and high school senior Grace Gonzalez is the middle child. She said, “My parents favor my older and younger siblings and I get ignored and looked over… but I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t get in trouble.”

Also, because of that, they tend to feel more left out and become more independent and tend to feel a stronger pull towards people outside of their family.

Gonzalez said, “I’m not so dependent on my parents. I don’t like to rely on other people either because I am an introvert; I do like going out with my friends though.”

They also always have to share a parent. The oldest gets them first, and the youngest is the last to leave, so the middle is always fighting for that attention. 

But despite the downers Gonzalez said, “I wouldn’t trade being the middle child for anything else.”

Youngest Child

The youngest siblings get the most experienced version of their parents, so they are able to get away with more and bear less responsibilities than their siblings. They tend to be carefree, easygoing, fun-loving, affectionate, and sociable, and they like to make people laugh.

Senior Mary Serrato is the baby of the family. She said, “If I need help I’ll ask my older siblings and sometimes they’ll buy me stuff and take me places. I get to see all the mistakes my siblings made so I can make sure I don’t make the same ones.”

It isn’t all easy to be the youngest. They see their older siblings as the best in everything and to differentiate themselves they tend to be more rebellious and have a strong attitude. Also, since the older siblings baby them, they could be more spoiled and manipulative. They may also feel that no one takes them seriously as the youngest or that no one will acknowledge their accomplishments. 

Serrato said, “I hate how overprotective my older siblings can be. I don’t like that everyone assumes I’m spoiled because she’s the youngest.” When she was asked if there was a spot better than the youngest child she said, “The middle child because they’re not the oldest or the youngest. “

 Despite being the only child, Serrato said, “I don’t think I act like I’m the youngest child at all.”

Only Child:

Only children spend the most time alone. They are self-entertainers because of this and are the most creative of all the birth orders. They are like extreme versions of older siblings, making them confident, well spoken. They also tend  to pay enormous attention to detail. The fact that they are being surrounded by grown ups the majority of the time tends to make them act adultish too. 

Senior Ethan Koleyni, the sole child of his family, said, “I love the attention because I always feel cared for, and I don’t have to take care of anybody else.”

They have never had to fight for a parents’ attention or share toys with a sibling. This may cause them to develop a self centered personality. They’re also used to being important so when something doesn’t go their way they have a harder time accepting that. Also since they don’t have any siblings many feel lonely.

Koleyni stated, “I love when people are over because it’s so quiet… I don’t have anybody to talk to, mess around or argue with so it gets lonely.” Adding that if he could trade being the only child with something else stated that, “Middle child just seems perfect because they have a taste of both worlds.” 

Koleyni closed off by saying, “I wish I had siblings.”

All in all, each birth order has its good and bad. Which is worse and which is best? There’s no right definitive answer. There are also other factors that can affect this too like gender, large age differences, being a twin and much more. So, you may have no control in what your birth order is, but no spot is perfect.