Essay on The Effect of Birth Order on Learning and Development

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The Effect of Birth Order on Learning and Development

Birth order is a topic studied by many psychologists through numerous different studies and conflicting viewpoints. In respect to the order in which children are born, psychologists have labeled specific personality traits for each child. While psychologists continue to disagree on the amount of emphasis to be placed on birth order and personality, studies have shown family size can be a determining factor in a child’s learning and development.

First-born, middle, youngest, and only children are the common birth order positions most commonly studied by psychologists. Alfred Adler, a major personality theorist, often studied the issue of birth order. He believed that “the
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The youngest children tend to be less adjusted than middle-born children, are most likely to experience feelings of inadequacy. Only children tend to desire being the center of attention, have feelings of inferiority, and tend to be selfish in regard to sharing personal belongings. Although these personality traits are widely accepted, a national sample by the Academic Advancement of Youth of John Hopkins University found little relationship between birth order and personality. However, a mild relationship between birth order and perfectionism was evident, (Parker 29).

Family size is more commonly accepted as a contributing factor to birth order positions. If birth order is held constant, the larger the size of a family tends to be represented by a lower average IQ. First-born, as well as only children are often believed to have superior intellectual development, which can be explained by the greater amount of attention and verbal attention given by parents. This makes sense because parents of first-born and only children are able to focus more of their time with these children. A 1997 survey discovered the impact of a sibling born during the preschool and early grade school years. The first-born child was significantly affected by the birth of a sibling, which resulted in an increase in emotional problems leading to an increase in behavioral problems during the first year. In addition, the learning
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