Essay: Birth Order

By | April 28, 2011

Sample Essay

Introduction

Birth order is defined as the order of the birth of children within a family as distinguished by age. This order, as suggested by renowned psychologists, has a profound effect on the psychological development of individuals and continues to influence the thinking of the general culture similarly. The effect that birth order has on people is usually kept concealed and any personality peculiarities that may arise are not brought to notice until they get extremely prominent (Adler, 1964). As a result, the neurosis that develops is part of an ongoing disturbance for the patient so that it opposes the “maintenance of a style of acting, thinking and perceiving which distorts and denies the demands of reality” (Adler, 1964). The birth order thus affects the psychological development in a person in a way that is trivial enough to be dismissed as a defect and is only given light in later years if the situation goes out of hand.

While researchers have produced data that suggests that this birth order notion cannot be substantiated with empirical evidence, there are others, such as Adler, who suggest it to be an important aspect of development that is often overlooked. Adler was one of the first theorists to suggest the same and he, having lived alongside Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, had similar notions to them supporting his ideologies. As a result, the brand new theory of the order of birth effecting a person’s outlook on life emerged, suggesting a change in a person’s personality and moods depending on whether they were firstborns, middle children or later born, paving way for definable characteristics for each category as suggested by that theory. The Adler approach put things that were widely believed into perspective calling them a distinct characteristic of child development. Since then, this theory has been both appreciated and dismissed by researchers.

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