Alfred Adler's Theory on Birth Order

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Abstract In one of Alfred Adler’s theories he presents the concept of birth order as a sufficient determinant on personality development. The position in which we are born into influences the type of person we will become in the future. The relationships we have with our families effect the ways in which we think, behave, and how we approach situations in life. In Adler’s theory he illustrates a unique relationship between the birth position and the emotional experiences that each child encounters within the family, and the effects these two variables have on an individual’s personality. Although Adler’s work on this concept has received a great amount of support over the years, many claim that there are visible weaknesses that prove his theory to be contradicting and inconsistent. Introduction In this paper I will discuss Alfred Adler’s birth order theory and focus on the personality differences that exist between the first and second born children within the family. First, I will provide a brief outline of Alfred Adler’s theory around the concept of birth order in the family constellation. I will provide an individual analysis of the differences Adler and his supporters argue existing between these two positions, and how their personality characteristics differ socially within the family. Also, I will compare the strong and weak characteristics of both the first and second sibling’s position. Finally, I will close with a concise evaluation of both the strengths and weaknesses that exist around the concept of birth order in Adler’s theory. In every culture, parents have different expectations for each child. Often parent’s expectations exist in relation to each child’s birth position, and studies have shown this concept to affect the development of each child’s personality (Corsini, 1982). To Adler, these expectations and the relationship between

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