A Study of Birth Order and Emotional Intelligence among Adolescents from Dual-Parent Homes in Goa

By Viegas, Vijay; Henriques, Joslyn | International Journal of Education and Management Studies, September 2014 | Go to article overview

A Study of Birth Order and Emotional Intelligence among Adolescents from Dual-Parent Homes in Goa


Viegas, Vijay, Henriques, Joslyn, International Journal of Education and Management Studies


Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development generally occurring between puberty and legal adulthood, which marks an important turning point in the parentchild relationship. As the child enters adolescence, the biological, cognitive, and emotional changes of the period spark transformations in the parent-child relationship. In many homes, the transition into adolescence coincides with the parent's transition into midlife, and this, too, may introduce additional challenges into the family system that spill over into the parent-child relationship.

Adolescence is a time during which the child urges for independence may challenge parent's authority, as the young adolescent strives to establish a sense of emotional autonomy or individuation. Many parents find early adolescence a difficult period. Adolescents fare best and their parents are happiest when parents can be both encouraging and accepting of the child's needs for more psychological independence.

Conflicts and power struggles within the parent-child relationships are an almost inevitable consequence of the quest for autonomy by any adolescent and hence adolescence may be a time of heightened bickering and diminished closeness in the parent-child relationship, but most disagreements between parents and young teenagers are over less important matters, and most teenagers and parents agree on the essentials. By late adolescence most children report feeling as close to their parents as they did during elementary school.

Conceptualframework

Birth order: Birth order is defined as a person's rank by age among his or her siblings. Birth order is often believed to have a profound and lasting effect on psychological development. Many differences in the behavior of siblings have been attributed to birth order. Such differences range from general expressions of achievement, to more specific behaviors including attainment of higher education and eminent occupational status, endorsement of unconventional ideas, and leadership of scientific revolutions, to name only a few. Although many genetic and environmental factors contribute to differences between siblings, some differences in behavior of siblings have been attributed to the effects of birth order, an individual's rank by age among siblings (Claxton, 1994). The place of the individual within the family, the first social structure encountered, has been suggested as a contributing factor in shaping human personalities (Gould, 1997), and influencing interactions in subsequent social structures.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937), an Austrian psychiatrist, and a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, was one of the first theorists to suggest that birth order influences personality. He argued that birth order can leave an indelible impression on an individual's style of life, which is one's habitual way of dealing with the tasks of friendship, love, and work. According to Adler, firstborns are "dethroned" when a second child comes along, and this may have a lasting influence on them. Younger and only children may be pampered and spoiled, which can also affect their later personalities. Additional birth order factors that should be considered are the spacing in years between siblings, the total number of children, and the changing circumstances of the parents over time. The birth of a sibling results in significant changes in the family environment. Regression, anxiety and aggression have been commonly observed in the older child (Bischoff &Tingstrom, 1991 ).Positive interactions with an older child may diminish, especially if the birth interval is short and the mother adopts a more controlling parenting style (Baydar, 1997).

Emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is the ability, capacity, skill, to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. Goleman (1995) defined emotional intelligence as comprising emotional awareness (knowing ones emotions), emotional management, motivation, empathy (recognizing emotions in others) and social skills (handling emotions). …

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