Rudolf Dreikurs (1897-1972) was an American psychiatrist and educator who adapted Alfred Adler's system of individual psychology into a pragmatic method for understanding the purposes of behaviour in children and for stimulating cooperative behaviour without punishment or reward. Like Adler, Dreikurs was an Austrian born Psychiatrist who eventually immigrated to the United States. A student and colleague of Adler's, in 1952 he founded the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Dreikurs believed that children have an inherent desire to belong and feel part of their peer group (similar to Adler's concept of social interest), but due to feelings of inferiority and maladaptive parenting, they have acquired ineffective ways of finding their place. Instead, they actively exhibit maladaptive behaviors in an attempt to gain a sense of belonging. These behaviors clearly do not work effectively for them, but they know no other way of being. Dreikurs identified four behaviors that could be manifested in dozens of ways as children attempt to gain a position of significance in the group: attention seeking (e.g., interrupting), the use of power (e.g., bullying), revenge seeking (e.g., playing nasty practical jokes), and displaying inadequacy (e.g., withdrawing).
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