This Birth-Order Theory Explains Khloé Kardashian To A T

Photo: Getty / Cindy Ord.
If you know anything about Kardashian-family dynamics (and these days, most of us do), then you know that Khloé is a little bit of a standout when it comes to being completely candid, both IRL and on social media. While we wouldn’t describe any of the Kardashian sisters as demure, we do think it’s fair to say that Khloé is the least bashful of the bunch.

In light of her recent candid comments about body shaming — and her 32nd birthday on June 27! — we decided to dig a little deeper into why Khloé is the way that she is: the ball-busting, fearless, funny sibling who unabashedly says exactly what’s on her mind.

To do that, Refinery29 spoke with psychologist and reigning birth-order expert Dr. Kevin Leman about our favorite Kardashian, and he gave us some fascinating insight into why Khloé is the way that she is.

Before diving into Khloé, Dr. Leman gave us a quick lesson in birth-order theory and how it works in the real world. The concept traces back to the early Freud days, when Austrian doctor and psychotherapist Alfred Adler introduced the idea of “striving for superiority.” That pretty much boils down to what it sounds like — and it tends to be the rule among siblings. Put another way: Each kid wants to be on top, so they’re always jockeying for position. “Psychologically, that’s what happens in birth order,” Dr. Leman explained.

Here’s what that means for the Kardashian kids: Kourtney is the hyper responsible, type-A eldest kid. Kim was the traditional, elbowing-her-way-into-the-spotlight, “squeezed” (as Dr. Leman puts it) middle kid. And Khloé was effectively the baby, even though, technically, she’s not the youngest.

Here’s why: “If you have four kids and only one of them is a male, there’s something very special about one of them,” Dr. Leman says. Rob was so markedly differentiated from the other kids that he would never be just the baby of the family: That’s Khloé’s role.

Youngest girls tend to be affectionate, outgoing, free-spirited — even a little unpredictable, Dr. Leman told us, adding that babies of the family are skilled at making bids for attention. He also pointed out that, in general, the Kardashians seem to be pretty good at that, but Khloé is still a standout ham.

“The youngest is always a little out there,” he went on. “They tend to be our comedians — the late-show people, like Ellen, Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Carrey — they’re all babies of the family. It’s one way to gain attention.

“In your typical family, if there’s a kid who devours books and does well at school, that’s usually your firstborn. That’s tough to keep up with — especially if you’re behind by few years. And so how do you catch up when you’re a baby of the family? By being funny, by being cute, by demanding attention. In terms of birth order, it’s pretty stereotypical.” Sounds like Khloé in a nutshell to us.
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