The Effect of Birth Order on Learning and Development

explanatory Essay
1213 words
1213 words

The Effect of Birth Order on Learning and Development Birth order is a topic studied by many psychologists through numerous different studies and conflicting viewpoints. In respect to the order in which children are born, psychologists have labeled specific personality traits for each child. While psychologists continue to disagree on the amount of emphasis to be placed on birth order and personality, studies have shown family size can be a determining factor in a child’s learning and development. First-born, middle, youngest, and only children are the common birth order positions most commonly studied by psychologists. Alfred Adler, a major personality theorist, often studied the issue of birth order. He believed that “the demands of each birth order position typically, but not inevitably, structure the way the parents treat the child and help define the child’s resulting personality,” (Parker, 1998, p.29). Frank Sulloway, author of the book “Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives,” states: Siblings compete with one another to secure physical, emotional, and intellectual resources from parents. Depending on differences in birth order, gender, physical traits, and aspects of temperament, siblings create differing roles for themselves within the family system. These differing roles in turn lead to disparate ways of currying parental favor. (Epstein, 1997, p.51) First-born children are more widely studied and have been found to have higher responsibilities within the family and a greater need for achievement. Strong self-discipline, a need for approval by others, susceptibility to social pressure, and conformity to authority and regulation are also common personality traits of fi... ... middle of paper ... ...ldren from relatively small families tend to be more academically gifted. References Baydar, N., Hyle, P., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1997). A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of the Birth of a Sibling During Preschool and Early Grade School Years. Journal of Marriage and the Family, (59), 957-965. Epstein, Joseph (1997). O, brother! (birth order’s effect on human behavior). Commentary, (103), 51-55. Graeber, Laurel (1997). Talking Timetable: Personality, not intelligence affects when your child will speak. Parents Magazine, (72), 90-92. Oshima-Takane, Y., Goodz, E., & Deverensky, J.L. (1996). Birth Order Effects on Early Language Development: Do Secondborn Children Learn from Overheard Speech? Child Development, (67), 621-634. Parker, Wayne D. (1998). Birth-Order Effects in the Academically Talented. Gifted Child Quarterly, (42), 29-37.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the table points out a tendency among first-born children to be more academically gifted, whereas the dsty sample shows higher percentages of gifted only children.
  • Explains baydar, hyle, and brooks-gunn's longitudinal study of the effects of birth of a sibling during preschool and early grade school years.
  • Explains that birth order is a topic studied by psychologists through numerous studies and conflicting viewpoints.
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