How Being the Youngest Child Impacts Your Success in Business and Life Dr. Brittany McGeehan, a licensed psychologist based in Frisco, Texas, delves into the family dynamics that shape who we become.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Last-born children may exhibit greater ambition and artistic tendencies but struggle with structure due to more relaxed parenting.
  • Youngest siblings could face challenges like entitlement and resistance to criticism due to their upbringing.
  • Individual treatment and fostering resilience in the youngest children are recommended for balanced development and success in life.
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Have you ever wondered how birth order impacts success in business and life?

Whether you're the oldest, middle, youngest or only child, your position within the family does affect your upbringing and future — though to an extent that varies considerably depending on individual circumstances.

Austrian psychotherapist and founder of individual psychology Alfred Adler introduced the idea that birth order affects a child's development in the 20th century — and said that "youngest children are ambitious," per Scientific American.

Related: How Being the Middle Child Impacts Your Success in Business and Life

Entrepreneur sat down with Dr. Brittany McGeehan, a licensed psychologist based in Frisco, Texas, who specializes in working with high-achieving women, to discuss how being the youngest child can determine success in business and life.

"We tend to see a little bit more entitlement with the youngest kiddo."

Of course, any overarching claims about the link between birth order and success are "painting with a broad brush" and may not apply to everyone, McGeehan says. But, in general, youngest children are subjected to "more relaxed" parenting styles — "for better and for worse."

"At this point, [parents have] seen multiple kiddos make it through the gauntlet," McGeehan says, "and [they] recognize how hardy and truly robust children can be."

The result? Often, youngest children "tend to be a little bit more artsy" and willing to go after whatever they want, according to McGeehan.

Related: How Being the Oldest Child Impacts Your Success in Business and Life

However, becoming accustomed to laid-back parenting styles in childhood means some youngest kids might be unprepared for structure and critical feedback in the adult world.

"Whether you are in your own business or you're in a career in corporate America, you have to be able to withstand those things," McGeehan explains, "and if you didn't receive them [in childhood] — which typically youngest kiddos are not receiving nearly as much of that compared to the firstborn — then they're going to struggle with it a lot more. So we tend to see a little bit more entitlement with the youngest kiddo."

Related: Are Some People Born to Be Entrepreneurs?

McGeehan encourages parents to consider their children as individuals and listen to their feedback to find the level of structure that works best.

"Then you end up with a kiddo who is not only willing to take risks and is typically more adventurous, but they're also able to function within that structure, which is beautiful," McGeehan says.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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