Personality and Birth Order: Considerations for Parenting Style and Strategies

parenting and siblings

Personality and Birth Order: Considerations for Parenting Style and Strategies

Parenting styles vary drastically among families. But what about when siblings are different ages, and one child needs a different parenting style than the others? How do you adjust your parenting to fit each child’s unique personality?  


It is common for parents to wonder what the “right” parenting style is. However, the answer may not be as clear-cut as some would hope. There are many different types of parenting styles, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. 

Research Findings

One style that has been well-researched for its effectiveness in balancing parents’ expectations for behavior and childrens’ needs is authoritative parenting. Authoritative parenting is one of the most common and well-known parenting styles, but it is often misunderstood. This type of parenting is characterized by a high level of parental involvement, nurturance, limit setting and responsiveness. 


Parents who use this style are typically very involved in their children’s lives, setting stringent rules but also being highly attuned to their children’s needs. This type of parenting has been shown to be effective in terms of producing children who are both successful academically and emotionally. In addition, this type of parenting is not as strict or demanding as authoritarian parenting, but it is still more structured and disciplined than permissive parenting. 


There are many different types of parenting styles, but each style has the same goal: to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child.  In order to adjust your parenting style so that it works best for your individual children, it’s important to consider each child’s unique personality.  Doing so can help minimize conflict and ensure that each child feels loved and supported.


One of the most important things to remember as a parent is that each of your children is unique. They will have their own personality, strengths, and weaknesses. And, just as importantly, they will have their own way of communicating and interacting with the world.


Siblings offer a unique opportunity to compare and contrast different parenting styles.  Some kids respond better to firm limit setting, while others do better with a more relaxed, democratic approach. Some children need more limits and structure, while others need more space and freedom. 


There’s been a lot of research into the effects of birth order on personality development, and Alfred Adler’s theory of birth order and personality is one of the most well-known. Adler believed that the order in which you’re born affects your personality and subsequent life path. 


One study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, found that different strategies work better with different children. The study’s authors analyzed data from over 15,000 sibling pairs in order to determine how best to parent siblings with different personalities. The study found that for highly active children, who are constantly seeking new experiences and are constantly moving, setting hard boundaries doesn’t work. These children need parents who can be more relaxed and understanding, and who can provide them with a lot of positive reinforcement.  For children who are more introverted and who like to stick to the same routines, setting boundaries and enforcing rules is more successful. It’s also important to be sensitive to the child’s feelings and to provide them with enough individualized attention.


When we consider family dynamics among parents and children, it is apparent that each child is unique and will respond differently to the same parenting techniques. Some children will push the boundaries, while others will not.  Some children will be more self-reliant and others will require gentle redirection and structured activities.  Some children are naturally more laid-back, while others may be more driven and competitive. It is important to know your children and to be prepared to react appropriately. 


Just as we tailor our parenting to fit their individual needs and personalities, we must also adjust our parenting style as our children grow and change. 

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