Birth Order: Does It Affect Your Personality?

1624 words - 6 pages

INTRODUCTIONI am the oldest of three children from a single parent family; I am always in charge, always trying to get my mother's attention, always striving to be the best. It was brought to my attention that I lead my subordinates like a mother duck leads her ducklings. Apparently, I care too much, nurture and coddle them like they were little kids. I have seen the similarities between how I handle my subordinates and how I handled my siblings. With only one parent, sometimes I had to be the mother, give orders or make dinner. With my subordinates I would like to think that I guide them, but unfortunately, I know they sometimes view me as a mother figure, depending on the situation.My leadership style made me wonder, did my position on the sibling ladder affect my adult life, and was I tied into the oldest child stereotype for the rest of my life? Through research, this paper will outline the different schools of thought and answer my research question: does birth order affect personality? What do all these terms mean? Don't worry I was confused at first too.Definition of TermsBirth Order: The ordinal positioning of a person within a family. Many believe that where we are in relationship to our siblings, or being an only child in a family, will influence how we develop. Others think that birth order has no influence on the development of an individual, yet others feel that birth order only helps to shape the way an individual acts and reacts within the family unit and has no bearing on how the individual participates in life outside the structure of the family.Birth Order Traits: The characteristics learned from childhood according to the child's position in the family, sex, number of siblings and sex of siblingsBirth Order Theory: The theory that the child has a specific position in the family and exhibits certain traits that are associated with their ordinal position. Each researcher has a different theory and perceptions of birth order traits (Forer, 1976; Hoopes & Harper, 1987; Leman, 1998).Freudians say what?Alfred Adler was one of the first modern psychologists to research birth order and associate how birth order influenced personality (Birth Order Dynamics and Response to Stress, 2007). Many researchers have based their theories around Adler's research, adding modern opinions and new findings since Adler's initial studies during the 1920s. Adler identified several variables that became part of his birth order theory, including environment, size of family, distance between siblings and physical disabilities. He also considered parental attitudes, social and economic position and gender roles (Adler, 1956). He also thought that if more than three years separated any two children, subgroups would form and that there would be a significant impact on the ordinal positioning (Birth Order Dynamics and Response to Stress, 2007).The First Child According to AdlerAdler's concept stated that the first child may become strict, have...

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