As the oldest child, I’ve always thought about the differences in the birth order. It seemed I was always the one in trouble. And, I was! But there was a reason, I was the oldest. I’ve watched this particularly with my grandchildren. I have seven and they are all about a year apart, so I can really analyze each of them. After attending a workshop on birth order, I quickly inserted these characteristics in my character profiles.
Family Relationships: Under scrutiny, documents life, pressure to perform/succeed, good example, reap rewards when they meet parent’s goal.
Results: Anxiety ridden, sets high standards, and cannot handle failure.
Middle Child Characteristics: Feels invisible, nothing special, may rebel against status quo. Struggles to be noticed, reach outside the family for relationships.
Family Relationships: Allow the middle child more freedom, not as much fuss and fewer pictures.
Results: Can feel unloved, chooses a niche outside the older sibling (different interests/often more dangerous, takes more risks, empathy for underdog.
Family Relationships: Fuss and pampered, their last chance to do it right, caters to the child. More tired, give more freedom.
Results: Skilled politicians, negotiators, may feel disconnected, play baby; don’t always follow commitments or finish a job. Some are determined.
If you want to evaluate the person you’re thinking of or your character in a dysfunctional family consider:
Oldest: Organized, needs control, outer anger.
Middle: Blends into the woodwork, quiet, inner anger.
Youngest: Needs attention, the family clown or delinquent. (Man, am I glad I wasn’t the youngest in my family, because I don’t do clowns and I wasn’t a delinquent, but I do like attention!)
Did you find any similarities in your family or a person you work with?