Characteristics of the oldest child:
* High achievers
* Take on a leadership role
* Play by the rules/concerned with 'fairness'
* Want approval from others
Characteristics of the middle child:
* Good at negotiation and compromise
Characteristics of the youngest child:
* Have the ability to 'charm' others
* Risk takers
* Question authority
* Often considered spoiled, demanding, impatient, self-centered
* Remain 'the baby' by expecting others to do things for them, make decisions, and take responsibility
Characteristics of an 'only' child:
* Only children tend to have a lot of the same characteristics as oldest children.
Of course, not all children display all tendencies associated with their birth order. But, generally speaking, I think most people tend to have the majority of those traits (to some degree, at least). And I think when writing, authors benefit a great deal from being aware of the traits and incorporating them into their characters' development.
I just realized that to date every single one of my heroes and heroines have been first or only born children. I wonder if that’s because I’m an oldest child so it’s easier for me to identify with them? Hmmm. I’ll have to keep that in mind with my upcoming stories. It would be fun, I think, to write a middle or a youngest child.