External Influences – Family Influences (Birth Order)

Consumer Behavior

External Influences – Family Influences (Birth Order)

Where a child places in the birth order can have an effect on how they see themselves, and therefore affects their consumer behavior. The middle child often seems to have the most negative impressions of his lot in life.

Oldest Child

  • Is only child for period of time; used to being center of attention.
  • Believes must gain and hold superiority over other children.
  • Being right, controlling often important.
  • Strives to keep or regain parents’ attention through conformity.  If this failed, chooses to misbehave.
  • May develop competent, responsible behavior or become very discouraged.
  • Sometime strives to protect and help others.
  • Confident.
  • Determined.
  • Born Leader.
  • Organized.
  • Eager to Please.
  • Likes to Avoid Trouble.

Second Oldest Child

  • Never has parents’ undivided attention.
  • Always has sibling ahead who’s more advanced.
  • Acts as if in race, trying to catch up or overtake first child. If first child is "good," second may become "bad." Develops abilities first child doesn’t exhibit. If first child successful, may feel uncertain of self and abilities.
  • May be rebel.
  • Often doesn’t like position.
  • Feels "squeezed" if third child is born.
  • May push down other siblings.

Middle Child of Three Siblings

  • Has neither the rights of oldest nor privileges of youngest.
  • May feel like they don’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.

Youngest Sibling

  • Feels every one bigger and more capable.
  • Expects others to do things, make decisions, take responsibility.
  • Becomes boss of family in getting service and own way.
  • Develops feelings of inferiority or becomes "speeder" and overtakes older siblings.
  • Remains "The Baby." Places others in service.
  • If youngest of three, often allies with oldest child against middle child.
  • Persistent
  • Affectionate
  • Crave the Spotlight

Younger children always want to be able to do the things older siblings are allowed to do. And older siblings may feel that the younger siblings get away with things they were not able to when they were the same age. Here are the levels of birth order:

  • Only Child
  • Oldest Child
  • Second Oldest Sibling
  • Middle Child of Three Siblings
  • Youngest Sibling

Only Child

  • Pampered and spoiled
  • Is center of attention; often enjoys position. May feel special.
  • Relies on service from others rather than own efforts.
  • Feels unfairly treated when doesn’t get own way.
  • Likelier to hold a professional position.
  • Concerned with meeting parents’ expectations.
  • Confident.
  • Pays Attention to Detail.
  • Good in School.
  • Overly Critical.

Published by

Marketing Teacher designs and delivers online marketing courses, training and resources for marketing learners, teachers and professionals.