Can personality characteristics be attributed to the order of one’s birth in the family in which they grew-up? While there are many variables influencing its accuracy, many psychologists believe this is generally true, even today.
Birth order psychology was first studied by Alfred Adler in the early 1900s. It was controversial at the time and many psychologists dismissed these ideas. It is no wonder why. During the early 1900s, families were generally much larger than today. Deaths of children were not uncommon. Families with one child were rare and usually the result of tragedy or illness, never by choice. All these factors and more greatly influenced the typical roles of the birth order groups.
During the mid-1900s, family units became smaller, healthier and more affluent. Under these circumstances, birth order groups behaved, developed and matured in a predictable manner. Birth order theories became more acceptable during this time.
Today, these ideas are still accepted by the general public, although many scientists still consider it pop psychology. However, families of today are different than those of the “Baby Boom” generation. There are far more variables influencing family structure. There are more two-child families and only-child families than ever before, and by choice. Parents will have long gaps of time between children. Blended families are commonplace. All of these factors can turn birth order psychology on its ear.
With all these changes in our family structures, how can birth order psychology still be accurate? The important thing to keep in mind is that these are tendencies, not psychological profiles. Knowing the birth order tendencies of someone you love, can help us understand them and interact with them in a more positive manner, rather than in a critical or judgmental manner. Just knowing this information can enrich all our relationships and our understanding of ourselves.
So, how true is this anyway? You be the judge. Check out the following articles about each of the birth order groups and judge for yourself. Does it describe you or someone you know?