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Birth Order

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Can there be a set of rules, or a system that can determine who you will be in your life? A set of rules, or a system that can predict how you will perceive yourself and others, as well as what type of occupation you will have in your adult life. It may seem a bit far-fetched to think that based on the order in which you entered your family, all of these things can be predetermined by a few generalizations. However, this is essentially what the Birth Order Theory consists of. The Birth Order Theory states that the order in which you were born tends to determine many things, such as how you perceive the world, your sense of responsibility, your expectations, and other personality characteristics. Also, according to the Birth Order Theory, these characteristics then influence the career you choose, the types of relationships you have, and how well you will do in your adult life. I believe that according to the Birth Order Theory, there are characteristics that can be generalized about the second born child in a family, and children who are in the middle as well. These generalizations are then backed up by psychological studies that have been conducted, on large groups of people.

In general, birth order characteristics are established by the age of two, and each birth order is distinct, not a blend of one or more of the different types. Birth order characteristics repeat through the first and fourth born children, which means that the fifth born child will have the same characteristics as the first born child, and the sixth born child will have the same characteristics as the second born child. Birth order personality affects every area of litations that the second child is expected to meet. In this sense, the second child always has someone ahead, which can either be a good or bad thing, depending on the way the person sees his or her situation. There are also many general characteristics that second born children tend to have. Second born children tend to be more competitive, and want to overtake the older sibling. In an attempt to do this, the child may become a rebel, or try to outdo everyone. In other words, competition often deteriorates into rivalry. (Child Development Institute) Also, the second child views life as a "race," and he or she is always trying to catch up. For example, if the first child is successful, the second child feels uncertain of themselves, and their abilities. Also, the second child feels that he or she cares about everyone around them, but in return, they get nothing. As a result of this, the child suppresses their feelings, in order to avoid pain. (Birth Order Plus) In response to these generalizations made about second born children, I feel that they are overall valid. The only exception that could be made was if the first child did not set high expectations at all, which would eliminate the "life is a race" factor. If this factor is eliminated, then it also diminishes many of the characteristics such as wanting to overtake the older child, or becoming a rebel trying to outdo everyone. (Adler)

There are conflicting views on whether or not birth order has an effect on intelligence. The confluence model by Zajonc in 1993, attempts to explain the negative effect of birth order on intelligence. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the confluence model tried to explain



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