February 10, 2022 1 Comment Mental health emmahjoy

The theories presented by Adler’s Psychological work in the modern Psychology have always perked a lot of interest. Adler emphasized that an individual’s personality resonates with their lifestyle hence a child’s life experiences in terms of birth order affects their individual personality.

What is Birth Order?

It is the order in which one is born in their respective families. The order of birth is generally arranged in terms of age. For example, in terms of age the oldest child becomes the first born while the youngest becomes the last born. Adler’s theory alludes that birth order becomes more complex when analyzed psychologically.

Adler’s theory states that the order of birth is not the significant part rather, the social interactions associated to the given birth order. Therefore, the rank one is given due to order of birth, would impact their experiences hence influencing how a person’s personality develops. The individual’s interpretation of the experiences pertaining to their birth order also plays a role in the shaping of their personality.

The First Born Child

The definition of a firstborn child would refer to the child who was born first in the family. A first born child would get a lot of attention from their parents until the arrival of the second born child. According to Adler, the second born child “dethrones” the first born and thus their would be reactive responses. The first born child might have resentment feelings towards the new child, if the parent’s do not prepare the child for arrival of a new sibling. However, when their response to the new child is positive, the firstborns become protective of their sibling, nurtures and supportive. They end up adopting a parental figure and in the long run, they would tend to expect other people to be dependent on them.

Second Born Child

The child is described as a sibling who is born second and would have other siblings coming after them. They grow up sharing attention with their older siblings and thus they would not have extreme responses to the arrival of a new sibling. However, out of the older siblings influences, they often try to keep up, follow in the footsteps of the older sibling hence, they are very competitive. They work harder than others and set unrealistic goals which might often ensure failures. They would coin a notion that there is no power that cannot be overthrown hence would be resistant to authority in later life. Adler also believed that the second born would adjust to life in better ways as compared to other birth orders.

The Lastborn Child

The child in this category is defined as the youngest child in the family. They have older siblings and no other sibling after them. They become the child that get pampered because no other child would come after them. They are also the child in the family that receives majority of attention hence, they might be overdependent on their family members. Due to the attention given to them, they often excel in their endeavors. They also have a lot of opportunities given to them as they are the center of attention. They learn how to quickly get their way by charming those around them into doing what they want. However, when they get spoiled, they end up being the problem child.

The Only Child

The description to this specific order of birth is easy as they have no other sibling. They tend have their parents full attention since the have no other siblings to rival against. These category of children might develop traits of dependency and entitlement even when they are outside their family environment. Whereas there are those who would feel smothered and seek autonomy and independence. The amount of attention given to these children might result into problems in their lives as well.

The Middle Child

The middle child is defined as that child who has at least one older sibling and one younger sibling. The middle child tend to suffer in attention as compared to the firstborn and lastborn child. They tend to view themselves in a negative light , they end up feeling rejected and less loved. They also tend to think they have no attributes that make them worthy as a member of the family. However, when they learn to successively navigate their feelings, they become individuals that are skilled at interacting with other people.

Birth OrderFamily Position Characteristics
Firstborn childOldest child.
Dethroned by the second child.
Assumes the role of the parents.
Protective of their siblings.
Authoritative and strict.
Feels they have a right to power.
Second born child
Has a pacemaker and other siblings after them.
Very competitive.
Often wants to overtake the older sibling.
Might be resistant to authority.
Last born child Has a lot of parental figures.Dependent on family members.
Gets away with doing what they want.
Can be successful due to the opportunities availed for them.
If spoilt can be the problem child.
The only childHas no siblings.May rival one parent.
Likes being the center of attention.
Prefers the company of adults .
Has difficulty in sharing with others.
Feel entitled in every environment.
The middle childHas at least one older sibling or one younger sibling.Has an even-tempered attitude.
Great at interpersonal skills.
Might have problems in fitting in.
Birth order Summary

Additional Factors

The birth order of a child might also be viewed in terms of gender. A society that is patriarchal, would not consider a girl as a first born if the second born child is a boy. Their treatments would alternate where a boy would take up the position of a firstborn.

A second born is also likely to develop in the form of a first born in the case that the first born child is disabled.

If there is more than three years between one child and the next, they would develop differently according to the birth order

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    Adlerian Theory – Daily Inner Strength

    […] Birth order; Alfred Adler is often know for formulating the psychological analysis of birth order. He believed that An individuals personality influenced by the order in which they born and raised. […]


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