Saturday, November 15, 2008

Backstory: Birth Order - Only Child

Birth Order has acceptions but studies have shown that in most cases the order of an individual's birth in a family provides accurate information about personality, career choices and psychological implications. While the order is influenced by the distance between siblings' births and other family dynamics, this information is quite compelling and can be used to create characterization for the main characters in your novels.

Only Child
An only child tends to be similar to the first born, except he will benefit from not experiencing sibling rivalry and will often receive many advantages such as travel, education and cultural opportunities than other individuals with siblings. Although an only child is sometimes thought of as spoiled, this is more often not true. An only child has spent more time with adults and has learned adult behavior and strong language skills. But this special situation leaves the individual with some unique problems.
• constant pressure to succeed
• pressure to be perfect
• fear of failure
• does not take criticism well
• aware he is different from others
• miss the fun and playfulness of childhood
• unusual responsibility to parents, especially during holidays and special occasions or in their old age

Positive Traits:
• confident
• articulate
• imaginative
• perfectionist

Career and Only Child
Good traits of an only child that ties into career building skills are:
• achievement-oriented
• experiencing success in many avenues of life
• broad experiences in travel and culture
• ability to deal with adult serious situations

Chosen careers can be influenced by the family background. The careers tend to be similar to both the first born or youngest with higher incomes than many and lean toward professional, needing college degrees.

Having the full spectrum of birth order and dysfunctional family dynamics, you will create interesting characters that experience compelling conflicts based on their strengths and weaknesses.


CJ Harley said...

Very interesting post Gail. I am an only child and can identify with much of what you wrote. I know that a lot of my friends tend to think I was spoiled as a child, but in fact I was not as you mention. And I certainly feel a strong responsibility to my father, who raised me.

Avily Jerome said...

Thanks, Gail! Great info, as always!

Gail Gaymer Martin said...

CJ and Avily - Thanks so much for letting me know you're finding helpful material in my blog. It takes time to write these so hearing from you let's me know the time spent is worthwhile. I fit the oldest child very well. In fact my two siblings fall right into the middle and youngest child patterns with pretty good accuracy. I find it very interesting.

Amy Deardon said...

Gail, interesting trait descriptions for birth order! Thanks for the info...hope your writing's going well.

Gail Gaymer Martin said...

Hi Amy - Glad you're finding this helpful. Writing is good here. I just finished the first in a three book series. Will start the other one soon, but I have some shorter projects so I'm seeing what I can accomplish. Writing never ends.

Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving.