1. Fife
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    Fife Senior Member

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    Birth Order

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Fife, Nov 14, 2012.

    I read an article a year or so ago about how birth order often determines your personality. Obviuosly, firtborns are associated with more leadership qualities. For example, the article mentions that several of the US Presidents were first-born sons. The middle-born has more negotiating qualities. The youngest (baby) usually is more easy-going, carefree, and typically feels less responsible for issues surrounding her. The article mentioned that several comedians are the youngest. Of course, these are all stereotypes.

    I was thinking that perhaps, in the conception of characters, maybe this is an important factor to consider.
     
  2. VioletBlade
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    VioletBlade Member

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    Hi! So I don't know what article you were reading, but first I'd make sure it's a credible source? All I mean by that is I'm actually taking a psychology course right now and we talked a little bit about birth order. Birth order doesn't really determine your personality, it's more of a myth really. Your personality is, however, derived from both biological factors and environmental factors. So take it this way: You have the genes to be a natural born leader, but depending on the environmental circumstances you have, that will almost determine whether those genes ever see the light of day. I don't know, though. In writing, it could be different. You have a lot more creative avenues and I don't always think you need to explain everything in scientific terms, especially in a creative writing story :)
     
  3. geniegirl027
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    geniegirl027 Member

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    I think it goes both ways....
    I have read many sources that say that birth order play a role in how you act, and to some degree I think it does, but not always. For example, my oldest sibling is like a leader, but was not always that way. He used to be carefree. Also, my youngest sibling has always been carefree and gets into a lot of trouble. There are a few middle ones in my family like myself, but we all act differently. I as well as another have leadership qualities, while one of the others is carefree, and he is second born. I think birth order plays some role but not always the case... I think it is different in every situation. =)
    -geniegirl027
     
  4. Fife
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    Fife Senior Member

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    Well, people are so dynamic that one certain feature isn't going to define how they ought to be. I'm just saying that birth order might play a role in how we develop our characters.

    If you are interested in reading the article, here it is: The Power of Birth Order (Time Magazine).

    I agree with you that, in writing, you use creative avenues, but creativity is a product of what we know and how we see the world--even if our writing seeks to think outside the box, we have to recognize the box. Whether you believe nature or nurture shapes character, they both probably will play a role in convincing your reader that the character is realistic. I'm fairly new to writing and I've never read much in the past, but this was just something that crossed my mind when I was thinking of some story ideas.
     
  5. charliewrites
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    charliewrites New Member

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    Personally, I think birth order has a definite influence on the development of a person's character. But there are extenuating circumstances. I love to play the Sherlock Holmes game with people I don't know very well in the pub etc, and guessing someone's birth order is normally one of the easiest ones. (And least offensive if you get it wrong. I once really upset someone by guessing they were a technology teacher..)

    But while my cousin's children are classic oldest child, middle and youngest, my husband's family are a lot more complicated. He is one of three boys but there is no middle child syndrome. The middle boy was quite ill as a child and so, necessarily, got the most attention. This has shifted the dynamic in their family.

    So yes, I believe it has an effect of children's development but there are regular exceptions to the rule. I haven't considered this consciously when planning my characters but now I think about it, I have a confident happy-go-lucky youngest child, and a responsible eldest in the bunch.

    One thing I do think has a big difference, and that is what gender your siblings are. I think teenage boys who have sisters find it easier to talk to girls than boys who only have brothers.
     
  6. IanLC
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    IanLC Member

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    That is very interesting I would love to see an url or the site or book or journal or wahtever you used to view those statistics. Those beliefs or stereotypes can play apart in your writing if you allow them too. You are the writer and what we allow to influence us knowingly and unknowingly can effect us and our characters. You can tell a lot about a persons values and character in how and what they write and how they portray different characters in their stories.
     

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