Birth Order Plus was created by Cliff Isaacson, author, pastoral counselor and Methodist minister. Isaacson has recently discovered a correlation between childhood experiences and ADD.
Adult ADD Characteristics
Isaacson believes that nearly everyone has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) to some degree. The three common characteristics are
- The mind goes blank in situations that require thinking
- There is a need to read something several times to get it
- Not able to sleep because thinking won’t stop
These are subtle signs of adult ADD but not the typical symptoms of hyperactivity that are seen in school aged children. While more subtle, these still cause problems in the world of work and education.
Memories are the Cause of ADD
Isaacson believes that ADD is rooted in memories created at about age two. The two-year-old lacks the ability to distinguish between thinking and doing. When the child gets into trouble for doing something the child concludes that he got into trouble for thinking leaving him with memories that make it feel dangerous to think even into adulthood. The fear of thinking is reinforced when a parent forcefully tells the child “Don’t you even think about it!” or when a parent punishes a child for saying something, i.e., expressing a thought.
These early memories that have become subconscious interfere with thinking in the adult as well as in the child. When a situation requires thinking the subconscious responds with fear, shutting off thinking so the mind goes blank. Similarly, when studying something that requires thinking the fear distracts thinking. However, at night in bed it feels safe to think making nocturnal thinking compulsive.
Overcoming ADD by Reprogramming the Subconscious
So, is ADD a hopeless life sentence? Isaacson believes that is not the case. Cliff has developed simple phrases acting as suggestions that reprogram the subconscious to allow better “thinking.”
The suggestion Isaacson uses in counseling is “I want your subconscious to forget those memories that make you think.” This neutralizes the compulsive memory that drives nighttime thinking but it also relieves the fear of thinking during the day so that thinking improves. To reinforce the effect, Isaacson makes a second suggestion saying, “I want your subconscious to remember those memories that let you think.” This sets the mind free to think.
An alternate suggestion is “Forget making yourself think, just let yourself think.” Some school counselors find this simple phrase helps students focus better. The phrase can be placed on the wall as a poster or put on index cards for students to read.
Each Birth Order Copes Differently with ADD
Subtle ADD symptoms can interfere with everyday activities. Each birth order copes differently.
- The Only Child talks to keep others from talking.
- The First Born pleads ignorance when asked a question.
- The Second Born avoids the big picture by focusing on details.
- The Third Born puts others on the defensive with ideas.
- The Fourth Born refuses to listen to what others say.
All of the above is ADD in action.
In closing, Isaacson makes a final suggestion. “Never get so interested in being afraid of ideas that you forget to enjoy thinking.” Birth Order Plus by Isaacson makes a great deal more sense than former theories of oldest, middle and youngest. And, it is far more accurate.
Source: Communication with Cliff Isaacson, February 2010.