Adler's work was based on the inferiority complex and the striving for superiority. He felt as though there were many situations within a child's life that could bring about these inferiority feelings. Adler thought that the driving force behind all human actions is the striving for perfection or superiority.
Inferiority feelings begin in the infant stage of development with dependency and weaknesses. It then continues in the school setting with teachers' insensitivity. Every child feels inferior because they are younger and smaller than most others are, and because of this, many children form inferiority feelings.
From childhood, these types of children begin to develop an inferiority complex. Because of these feelings of inferiority, these children want to do better and strive to be superior, and therefore, begin to only restrict themselves to situations where they feel comfortable and able to dominate others.
The striving for superiority is one's desire to fulfill all his potentials, to come closer and closer to his ideal.
This process always occurs within a social context. Therefore, everyone has a goal in life, some just strive too hard toward a goal that is somewhat impossible; we see this in those who have inferiority feelings because they feel they now have to be better than everyone else.
In many cases, different types of feelings also come about with the inferiority feelings. Some may include embarrassment, feelings of guilt, admitting weaknesses and inability to do things. In an attempt to striving to be superior, these feelings of inferiority are then turned into superiority. The feelings change to boasting as part of their striving for superiority, and then form a superiority complex, striving to be better than others.
Adler also had many feeling about the birth order of children within families. He felt that rank order, sex, span...