Birth Order

Do you treat your siblings a certain way because of their birth order or because they are either a pain in the neck or the sweetest person on the planet. And are they a pain or sweet because they were born before or after you.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) developed theories of personalities that focused on the social environment of an individual. Personalities can be described as the way that we deal with all the tasks of life, including our professions, friendships and even ways that we entertain ourselves. He believed that that the position of a child’s birth influences their personality, outlooks and beliefs. According to Adler, the birth positions of individuals are, oldest child, middle child, youngest child and the only child. The oldest child often sees themselves as second parents. They want to be listened to by others, including younger siblings. The middle child is often even-tempered but might feel they have to work to be included. The youngest child is doted on and usually gets what they want. The only child receives attention from everyone.

While in graduate school I learned about Birth Order Theory by Alfred Adler. I know that some of my fellow students loved it, because they did not have to take responsibility for their actions or thought processes. I remember one saying her sibling was a certain way because of it and used it as a tool to get what she wanted. I was not a proponent or detractor but very wary. Maybe that’s because I am a first-born.

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