The purpose of this paper is to examine current applications of Alfred Adler's personality theory to child-behavior and child-rearing practices. To provide context, this review of applications begins with a brief synopsis of Adler's general personality theory.
Adler's General Personality Theory: A Synopsis
Pervin (1992) reports that the personality theory of Alfred Adler, unlike the personality theory of Sigmund Freud, assigned sexual urges a secondary role in the dynamics of personality. Instead, Adler emphasized the superiority strivings of individuals with behavior being characterized as goal-directed and consciously chosen rather than driven and pre-determined by biological urges or the unconscious mind. Further, Adler called attention to the influence that an individual's immediate social environment had on his or her behavior and the contribution of this environment to the development of personality.
In therapy, Adler emphasized childhood recollections solely for clues to the client's present style of life as it related to dealing with feelings of inferiority resulting from childhood experiences (Pervin, 1992). For example, some individuals will strive to overcome childhood feelings of inferiority in a productive goal-oriented manner while others will seek sympathy, drifting over to apathy, dependency and "uselessness." Adler's perspective, Pervin (1992) states, focused on an active interventionist approach with clients urging them to replace their "useless" behavior patterns with a healthy striving for self-improvement and an increase in social interest.
Applications of Adler's General Theory To Child Behavior And
Current applications of Adler's Personality Theory to Child Behavior and Child-rearing practices are at both the theoretical and behavioral level. Both of these categories of application are reviewed here.
Basic themes of the Adlerian perspective as applied to modern day child-rearing pra...