Birth order is the most essential issue facing by the family sociologists due to a number of factors and reasons that are associated with the subject. In this regard, we will try to define, discuss, and analyze different terms and situations that have been associated and related with the birth order by a number of experts, professionals, etc. In this regard, the rank of a person according to his age, as compared to his/her siblings, has been defined as the birth order. It has been observed and indicated that the psychological development of a person is often impact by a profound and everlasting effect of the birth order.
(Forer, pp. 12-13) Although researchers have challenged this declaration repeatedly, popular culture, as well as, pop psychology has given significant importance to a strong presence of the birth order. (Holcomb, 33-35) In this regard, the paper will now address some of the theories that have been associated with the term of birth order, in order to understand its presence in the psychological development of a person. Theories Personality has been associated with the birth order by one of the well-known theorists and Austrian psychiatrist, Alfred Adler.
It has been suggested by this theorist that personality is influenced by the birth order of a person, which is reflected by the personality traits of different persons during the comparison of their siblings. (Nelsen, pp. 51-53) In addition, it has been argued by the theorist that style of life of an individual can also be left with an indelible impression by the birth order. (Radish, pp. 77-79) In addition, the tasks related to the work, love, as well as, friendship is often influenced by the rank of birth of a person.
Moreover, parental attitude is one of the important factors that have an impact by the different birth orders. (Holcomb, 37-38) Furthermore, it has been observed that organ inferiority and illness are also some of the results and consequences of the birth order during the life of a person. It has been argued by several experts and theorists that economic and religious circumstances should be included in the factors that are equally influenced by the birth order, while some psychiatrists have denied the influence of birth order on it.
Normal inferiority feelings might be intensified by any overburdening factor, and unconscious compensations might be the result of it. Siblings often have spacing in years with each other, which can be considered as one of the factors of the birth order. (Chapman, 92-93) Moreover, the total number of children that is raised by the parents can also be one of the factors of the birth order, and can affect the personality trait of a person effectively. (Nelsen, pp. 70-72) Over time, the circumstances of the parents might change and that can be deemed as factors of the birth order.
In addition, it has been suggested by the previously mentioned theorist that personality development cannot be directed by the causing of the birth order. However, freely chosen life style can be chosen by an individual, and can be developed by the building brick of the birth order. Moreover, fictional final goal can also be achieved with the help of the birth order. In this regard, the complexity of other influences has been cited by a number of researchers and theorists during the attempts made by them, in order to prove, as well as, disprove the effects of the birth order.
(Chapman, 100-101) In psychology, one of the important, but controversial issues is the impact and influence on the development of personality by the birth order. Extensively, it has been believed by a number of theorists and experts that birth order strongly influences the personality of an individual. However, this declaration has been disproved by many psychologists. It has been largely agreed by the personality psychologists that a natural taxonomy of human personality variables is represented by the five factors, or the five personality traits of a person.
In this regard, one of the five areas can be used to fit and describe human personality’s vast majority of adjectives cross linguistically. Thus, neuroticism, agreeableness, extroversion, openness, and conscientiousness are the abovementioned five personality traits or factors that are found usually in an individual. (Excerpta Medica Foundation, pp. 23-24) It has been suggested by the writer of book, Born to Rebel, Frank Sulloway that strong and consistent effects have been observed with the relation of the abovementioned five factors by the birth order.
It has been argued by him that conscientiousness has been observed in firstborns at a higher extent, as compared with the laterborns. (Forer, pp. 41-44) In addition, more socially dominancy is observed in the firstborns, as compared with their laterborn siblings. However, the abovementioned theories of Sulloway have been refuted by a number of well-known critics that include Fred Townsend, Judith Rich Harris, etc. Moreover, an entire lifetime has been pointed out with the relationship of siblings by several psychologists. (Statt, pp.
63-64) However, it has been indicated that continuity has been observed in the development of personality, and elimination, reinforcement, as well as, alteration can be done in these sibling relationships by later experiences. Personality Profiles The perceived expectations, as well as, the responsibilities of parents are governed by the family roles. The interaction that an individual does with his or her parents, friends, as well as, with himself/herself, is significantly influenced by the perception of the individual regarding his/her place, value, and importance in the families.
In addition, it has been observed by a number of psychologists that family roles and traits that are determined by the birth order are often internalized by the children. (Excerpta Medica Foundation, pp. 60-61) In this regard, the paper will try to understand the different personality profiles, in order to understand the influence of birth order in one’s life. Firstborns A number of adjectives and qualities have been associated with the firstborns of a family. In this regard, it has been observed that seriousness and aggressiveness are some of the significant characteristics that are found in the personality of the firstborns.
In addition, rule-consciousness and competitiveness have also been found in many firstborns. (Radish, pp. 102-104) The firstborns are usually organized, as well as, responsible in terms of the responsibilities that are given by their parents. In addition, anxiety and jealousy are other personality traits that have been observed in the firstborns of any family. During the young age of the firstborns, the concept of power can be learnt by them, and other can be helped and protected by the expression of the abovementioned learning by the firstborns.
(Roeckelein, 111-113) Before the birth of the middleborns, the firstborns used to receive praises from the parents and relatives, which they expect after the birth of their siblings. This is one of the reasons that jealous and anxiety is observed in the firstborns due to the more praising by their parents for the later ones. When the new baby receives the love of mother, the perceived loss of the mother’s love results in the feeling of dejected by the firstborns. The feeling of being thrown away from the throne has been referred with this dejected feeling of the firstborn by the theorist Adler in the year 1964.
Consequently, strictness is often observed in the nature and personality of the firstborn due to the abovementioned dejected feeling and jealousy for the middleborn. In this regard, sibling rivalry is often results in the firstborns. (Leman, pp. 49-51) Middleborns On the other hand, the firstborns are often idolized by the younger siblings. A diverse range of personalities is found in the middleborn children. True spotlight is never provided to them, which results in the development of habits in a diversified manner.
The sense of not belonging to the family is often observed in the second or middleborn child of the family. Parents often observe middleborn child to fight, in order to gather the attention of the parents. Similar feeling of dejection might be observed in the middleborns due to the attention that is provided to the firstborn in the family. (Schneider, pp. 48-49) In this regard, a feeling of insecurity is felt by the middleborns. In extreme conditions, relationships of the middleborns are affected throughout their lifetime.
In some cases, depression or even loneliness is often indicated in the middleborns. Drive is often lack in the middle child, and the firstborn child is often regarded as the light for the direction. (Leman, pp. 54-56) The role of natural mediators is often played by the middleborn children. For instance, fewer pictures of the middleborns are found, as compared with the firstborns in the photo album. Conflicts are mostly avoided by the middleborns. Many friends might be made by the middleborns, and they are highly loyal with their friend circle.
In addition, good social skills are developed by the middleborn children. The role of entrepreneurs can be played effectively by the middleborns, which has been suggested and agreed by a number of theorists. (Roeckelein, 140-143) More success in entrepreneurship is achieved by the middleborns due to their innate skills of diplomacy, as compared with the firstborns, which has been suggested by a writer based in the Los Angeles, Karen E. Klein. Youngest Revealing names are given to the youngest child of the family. The role of a party animal is played by the youngest member of the family.
The fear is not found in the youngest child, who is usually ready to take any risk, in order to entertain him/her, as well as, the family and friends. In addition, the baby of the family is often regarded as the youngest child of the family. Moreover, the role of a delighted friend is often played by the youngest children. (Munn, pp. 36-37) The other siblings are usually not pampered much, as compared with the youngest one. In this regard, a child can be bestowed with one of the worst behaviors by the parents, which is the pampering according to the theorist, Adler. Personality Research
Scientific research has not yet supported the abovementioned theories that have been claimed regarding the birth order by a number of professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. Indeed, different birth positions have been associated with a number of personality traits, which have been found contradicted with each other. More extravert characteristics have been found supposedly only in children, because other children are met by them while going outside of the family. Yet characteristic of introversion has been observed in these children, as so acceptance can be done by being them.
In fact, some of the stable personality traits are extraversion and the introversion. In this regard, the abovementioned two-personality traits have been associated with birth order at a lesser extent, as compared with the genetic factors. A variety of personality traits without any correlation has been attributed with the firstborns, much less with birth order. (Munn, pp. 51-52) In general, commonly believed effects have been stronger than the effects from the birth order. In practice, a challenge has been the issue of systematic research on the birth order by the family sociologists and experts.
One of the reasons is difficulty that is confronted during the controlling of variables that have been associated with the birth order. In this regard, the role of potential confounds has been played by a number of demographic, as well as, social demographic variables. (Schneider, pp. 78-82) For instance, small families are generally higher in socioeconomic status, as compared with the larger ones. If a particular trait is found in the firstborn child, birth order might be the cause of it.
However, the determination for the cause of the observed trait is one of the impossible tasks that can be accomplished. Thus, this area has witnessed the beginning of research due to this methodological issue. In this regard, additional consideration has been given to a number of factors that include parenting style, gender gap, spacing of children, etc. (Smith, pp. 69-72) Consequently, birth order has been considered by a large number of published studies and journals. However, the conclusions and quality has been varied widely.
In a number of studies and researches, the waste of time was the conclusion of the research performed on the subject of effects of the birth order. For instance, published work on the effects of birth order from the year 1946 to the year 1980 was reviewed by Ernst and Angst in the year 1983, which concluded the same, that is, the waste of time. In addition, no substantial effects of birth order were found during the research. More recently, a national sample of more than nine thousand subjects related to the five significant personality traits, was analyzed by Jefferson, Herbst, and McCrae in the year 1998.
(Statt, pp. 55-57) In their research, self-reported personality and birth order did not give any significant correlation with each other. However, perceiving of effects of birth order was found in the people, which were even done after their awareness regarding the birth order of a person. Intelligence Since the 1970s, the confluence model of Robert Zajonc has been one of the most influential theories regarding the birth order effects on an individual. In this model, frequent high scoring by the firstborns in the fields of intelligence, as well as, achievement was considered.
It has been stated in the model that a highly intellectual family environment is provided to the firstborns, as compared with the middleborns or youngest child, as the early years of the firstborns are surrounded by adult influences. Furthermore, it has been suggested in the model that more intelligence would be found in the firstborns, as compared with the laterborns. One of the reasons of higher extent of intelligence is the opportunity of tutor effect, in which the firstborns are provided with the opportunity to teach their younger siblings, which in the result provide them with the enhanced knowledge and intelligence.
(Smith, pp. 99-102) However, criticism has been confronted by the abovementioned model of the Zajonc by a number of theorists and psychologists. In addition, verbal ability was found to be higher in the firstborns, as compared with the middleborns or laterborns, according to a number of other reports. Thus, disputation has been observed in the relation of high IQ scores in the firstborns. In some other cases, intelligence and birth order did not present any relationship with each other.
Conclusively, a number of theorists and psychiatrists have presented theories that represent a relationship between the personality traits, intelligence, family roles with the birth order. However, this subject is still in the argument, and needs further research. Works Cited Anthony J. Chapman. (1995). Friendship and Social Relations in Children. Transaction Publishers. David A. Statt. (1998). the Concise Dictionary of Psychology. Routledge. Dr. Harriet J. Smith. (2005). Parenting for Primates. Harvard University Press. Excerpta Medica Foundation. (1969). Excerpta Medica. Excerpta Medica Foundation.
Harmon R. Holcomb. (2001). Conceptual Challenges in Evolutionary Psychology. Springer. Jane Nelsen. (1987). Positive Discipline. Ballantine Books of Canada. Jon E. Roeckelein. (1998). Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology. Greenwood Press. Kevin Leman. (1987). the Birth Order Book. Dell Publishing. Kris Radish. (2002). the Birth Order Effect. Adams Media. Lucille K. Forer. (1969). Birth Order and Life Roles. Springer. Meg F. Schneider. (2004). the Birth Order Effect for Couples. Fair Winds. Norman L. Munn. (1938). Psychological Development. Houghton Mifflin Company.