The Social Birth Order Theory

1712 Words Aug 15th, 2008 7 Pages
The Social Birth Order Theory

In the world of psychology, nature versus nurture is a common theme theorists attribute to differences in the personalities of children. However, there may be other influences that have greater impact early in life. When it comes to the disposition of a person, the order in which they were born within a family leaves an ineffaceable effect. A child’s inclination toward certain personality traits can be the result of their inherent position within their family. Many famous psychologists theorize about and study the effects of family birth order among siblings. The most renowned psychologist in the world, Sigmund Freud, broke away from a group of his original psychoanalysts due to a dispute about birth
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They mature as only children, pampered and the center of attention, until their siblings are born and they are “dethroned” (Allpsych). First-born children, when compared to their siblings, tend to have a greater chance of developing feelings of inferiority as their focal position in the family structure is altered by the birth of a sibling (Bnet). They often are especially vulnerable to stress, and have a strong desire to gain attention and seek the approval of others (Allpysch). Unlike the independent leaders only children become, oldest children can be left feeling cheated and unsuccessful. Adler himself was a middle child of three. His categories of second born and middle children of large families are almost identical. The second born child can be epitomized by a dream in which the child is constantly running but going nowhere (Webspace). They are constantly overshadowed by their older siblings. However, they do tend to have stronger social skills (Bnet). Second and middle children become very spontaneous and adaptable from constantly dealing with both older and younger siblings. Having children both older and younger in the family seems to leave a positive influence on middle children. While the oldest and youngest may team up together, the second becomes the mediator between the two. This obviously leaves a lasting effect on their personality as second born children are often predominant in fighting injustice later in life
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