Adolf Adler’s Ninja Turtles

Have you ever heard of the birth order theory?  Ever wonder what it’s about?  Ever need to have a good representation of it?  Did you know the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, despite being adopted, have the same characteristics as defined by the Birth Order theory?

That’s right!  Alfred Adler had the Ninja Turtles’s personalities pegged a good 60 years before Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird started writing their adventures.  The Austrian psychologist’s theory is that personalities of a person are shaped by what order they were born in.  This tends to come up in conversations involving children, and even involving personality compatibility.  With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows release coming up, it may be good to know what turtles are compatible partners.  But first we need to know who’s who in this setup.  So we’ll start with:

Leonardo (eldest)

Leonardo has invariably been the eldest in the series.  According to the theory, the eldest is the most responsible, and typically the most stressed.  They feel the most pressure to live up to their parents’ expectations, and most likely to look out for their younger siblings.  This describes Leonardo to the letter, as his moniker is typically ‘the leader.’  He tends to get the most upset when their father (Splinter) is upset with them, and keeps a close eye on his brothers’ well-being.

Michaelangelo (youngest)

According to Adler, the youngest is the most social, outspoken, but also demands the most attention, or finds ways to get it.  Michaelangelo, the youngest of the turtle brothers, fits this practically to the tee.  Whether it’s being the prankster, jokester, or pestering his older brothers and splinter, he finds ways to stand out.  His need for social interaction also shows it self periodically, whether it being getting a job to entertain kids, or dressing up in a suit to get the attention of a super-hero.

Raphael (Middle, youngest tendencies)

& Donatello (Middle, eldest tendencies)

Donatello and Raphael are both the middle children in this instance, and it’s when dealing with more than three siblings that Adler’s theory gets tricky.  Presumably, middle children are considered negotiators, able to see more able to see both sides of arguments and can make more thoughtful decisions.  They also tend to be the most likely to internalize thier problems, and keep things a secret from others.  Middle children of large families favor aspects of older or younger siblings, typically based on what order they were born in.

Donatello fits as favoring eldest tendencies.  He’s typically more level-headed than his brothers, and usually is the turtle with a plan.  He also has another aspect of a middle child, in that he tends to internalize his feelings much of the time, being the most logical of the team.

Rapheal, on the other hand, favors the youngest.  This fits considering he is typically the one to bring April O’Neil and Casey Jones into the fold.  Even when he can’t get along with his brothers, he spends time with Casey.  While I wouldn’t peg Raph as much of a negotiator, he does show the middle child’s tendency to internalize, leaving the team periodically to do his own thing, and keeping secrets from them.

So then, with these in mind, what turtles are the most compatible?


Leo and Mike

This is considered one of the most compatible.  The eldest helps the youngest be more responsible, and the youngest helps the eldest loosen up.  That tends to be the way Leo and Mike interact as well.  Leo is much more relaxed with Mikey in play, and Mikey is much more focused when guided by Leo.


Don and Mike

In this case, the middle child has eldest tendencies, which tends to perform well.  Don and Mike are typically paired up in the TV shows and movies, and they get along quite naturally.  The two are little more prone to meander though, and aren’t always the best option in a fight.


Raph and Mike

In this combination both represent the free-spirit of the youngest born.  Raph and Mike really don’t interact very much together, and when they do, it usually ends badly.  In the new show, Raph even bullies Mike at times.  They also are often easily distracted and rarely have a strong plan of attack.


Leo and Raph

The verdict on this combination is that this generally can work, but does require some effort.  This seems true, since Leo and Raph tend to butt heads most often of the bunch.  Still, with a goal in mind, Leo and Raph tend to be the team’s big one-two punch.


Leo and Don

Similar to the combination above, only slightly different.  In the show, Leo and Don tend to get along for the most part, though Leo typically shines in most scenarios.  It’s possible that there is more tension between these two and Donatello is just better at concealing it than his brother Raph.


Don and Raph

This is a setup that can be extremely strong, particularly when each favors the other direction.  Don being more like the first born helps keep Raph on a leash somewhat, while Raph’s energy keeps Donatello in the fight.  The only problem is when one, the other, or both don’t communicate effectively.

But of course we all know, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles perform best with all four of them together!

So, which Turtle will you be joining forces with in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows?  Let us know in the comments below.

websites used for reference:

videos taken from Machinima Youtube channel


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