Why Your Characters Behave The Way They Do
Does your hero run a large corporation? Is he a mover and shaker in the business world? Or is he in a creative field such as advertising or entertainment? Does he negotiate well? Speak first and regret it afterward? Maybe he’s the life of every party. Whatever his occupation, you can bet his birth order had an effect on his personality and career choice. First born children generally share characteristics, as do last borns and middle borns. Not all attributes apply to each birth order, but on average studies have shown them to be more true than not.
Today, we’ll discuss the peculiarities of the first born and the middle child. Next week, we’ll look at the youngest, only child and twins as well as the variables that can affect their behavior.
First Born Children
First Born children usually have the most attention directed at him/her, even before birth, because the pregnancy was a BIG DEAL. More likely than not, multiple generations pin hopes and dreams on them and pressure them to perform from day one.
They are their parents’ “guinea pig”, and their parents often overdo and overprotect their first born child. The first born child grows up faster. Parents hand them responsibility early.
Some common characteristics:
|Goal oriented||Prompt||Scholarly||In control||Well groomed|
|Motivated to achieve success||Believes in law and order||No gray areas||Likes structure||Logical|
Professions – A higher percentage of first borns are in science, medicine, law, accounting, architecture, engineers, computers, and reporters (except on air.)
He gets things done and has confidence in being taken seriously by others.
21 of the first 23 astronauts were first born children.
2/3 of entrepreneurs are first born children.
|High confidence level, taken seriously, strong concentration, confident, feels supported and that they will be respected for what they do||A fear of being dethroned, overachiever, strong-willed, feel as though they’re never good enough, selfish, critical|
Two typical types
First born children come in two typical types – compliant/willing to please and assertive/strong willed.
The compliant first born grows up as a pleaser of others. Since childhood, he was the one responsible to get things done. His parents depended on him, and it was his solemn duty to not let them down.
Common characteristics of the compliant first born:
|Reliable||Good student||Pleaser||Nurturer||Strong need for approval|
|Won’t complain||Team player||Conscientious||Cooperative||“Grin & bear it” mentality|
The second type is the assertive, strong willed type. They are the pace-setters and trend-setters. They have high expectations, not only of themselves, but everyone else.
Common characteristics of the assertive first born:
|Driven||Perfectionist||In control||Want things their way||Conventional|
Famous first borns:
Oprah, Charlton Heston, Rush Limbaugh
Middle childrens’ attitude and lifestyle plays off that of the firstborn child. Generally, their personalities are the opposite of their older sibling. If he senses he can compete, he will. If the older child is stronger or smarter, the second may go off in another direction.
Middle borns may feel like a fifth wheel. They go outside of their family to create a “family” with friends. Middles are the most secretive of all birth orders, because they feel the world isn’t paying attention and chose not to confide their plans.
They are the last to seek professional help because they consider themselves mentally tough and independent.
Others consider them the most monogamous, and they have a strong commitment to make the marriage work.
Professions include sales, art, advertising, a career that involves negotiating or being level headed and unbiased.
They are tenacious because they’re used to life being unfair.
Middle children characteristics include:
|Peacemakers, unspoiled, realistic, imaginative, loyal, mediator, independent, flexible, diplomatic||Hates confrontation, stubborn, suspicious, rebellious, “family” is friends, difficulty setting boundaries|
Like first borns, they come in two types.
|Loner||Quiet, shy||Impatient||Uptight||Fights for respect|
Famous middle children are Donald Trump, Tim Allen, Julia Roberts, Richard Nixon, David Letterman
Birth Order: Resources
The Birth Order Book, Why You Are The Way You are by Dr. Kevin Leman
Ancestry.com, the importance of birth order
The Ultimate Personality Guide by Jennifer Freed and Debra Birnbaum