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Birth Order

Jennifer Dean Birth Order The birth order as a useful construct would be an essential tool to determine whether or not an individual(s) is possibly predisposed to having any inherent form of maladaptive perfectionism or non-perfectionism behaviors or traits. This type of information would provide some understanding of a client’s behaviors prior to seeking professional counseling or group therapy. There have been written over seventeen hundred birth order theories since the first was published by Alfred Adler in 1927.

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They all differentiate and do not fit every situation. This true with any theory. Alfred Adler in 1927 was the first theorist to emphasize the role of ‘birth order. ” It suggested that the creation of one’s personality is based on the parental influence(s) associated with personality development. (Burger, 2008) Idler’s theory of birth order was partly based on his own childhood experiences and his therapeutic sessions with his clients. Alfred Adler believed that everyone has some sort of birth order experience, unless they are an only child.

Much of his work was based on his own feelings of inferiority he felt once his sibling was born and his lifelong personal struggle to achieve superiority. Originally, he based his theory was on the idea that from early childhood (possibly even infancy); spend their life trying to overcome any type of emotional, mental, or physical weaknesses. These may be self-perceived or ones that the client felt others perceived about them. These were the “deficiencies” that they needed to “change,” in order to regain or reach/strive for superiority.

Adler also introduced the “Inferiority Concept,” which occurs when an individual cannot compensate or cope with what they see as his or her deficiencies. Adler suggests that the firstborn children are naturally showered with an abundance of excessive attention. This comes from all the excitement of the newness, change, happiness and the miracle that is life. With such an event, emotions run high and in most cultures, great priority is placed of the arrival and birth of the first born. Theorist Kevin Leman theorized in his 1985 book Birth Order Book, that the first born child would grow up to be “responsible, competitive, and conventional. (Leman, 1985) Upon the arrival of the second child, the first born may feel ignored, non-important, insignificant, replaced and pushed out of the limelight. They tend to develop an inferiority complex due to the possibility of feeling “dethroned” (Burger, 2008. The “middle” children tend to develop into very strong, independent, intellectual survivors. Lemma’s theory suggests that the second/thereafter child/children will grown up into playful, cooperative, and rebellious individuals.

When then third and sequential children arrive, the excitement of a new baby comes and the older children and expected to care more for themselves. The last children tend to get away with more because the parent’s tend to be more lenient (after having been worn down from the previous children). They may also be coddled or babied- Some older siblings may accuse them of getting away with “murder. This possibly stemming from the parent’s’ fears and insecurities of empty nest syndrome. From personal experience, I came from a family years my senior.

She has and always will be the favorite. I am the middle-the “mistake. ” My brother is six years my Junior and was a desperate attempt to save a failing marriage. He was very sick. If you were to utilize Idler’s theories and Lemmas, they would both have merit. My sister definitely is extremely competitive. She has to always be number one and be the center of attention. Yet, the truth is her self- esteem is very low. She is always striving for “superiority. I ran away a lot as a child. Vive been on my own since I was 14. I am completely autonomous since. I am a survivor.

A bit of a rebel, yet, very loyal to a fault. My brother is a rebel and has a need, a drive, to make people proud. All though I was a middle child, I was removed from my family at an early age. I was in boarding school, etc. I have never seen myself as a middle child. And therein lays the exception- I am more like an orphan or an only child. In conclusion, with all theories come great ideas. Many are based on facts from clinical trials with actual clients and patients. In the psychological field, many re actually from the psychologists/theorists own personal experiences and life.

Many of them actually work out their own issues through therapy with helping their clients. While there is a lot of merit to birth order from the psychological perspective, one must never forget that children never ask to be born. It is not their burden to bear-they all deserve a fair and equal chance at life and love. References Burger, Jerry M. Personality, 8 deed. (2008) Retrieved on September 5, 2013 from http:// Lemma, Kevin. Birth Order Book, (1985). Retrieved on September 7, 2013 from http://www. Family:]rank. Org/pages/164/birth-order


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