A recent study has concluded that second-born children are more likely to end up getting in trouble at school or having issues with the law later in life—a finding that is sure to bring much pleasure to older siblings everywhere.
Researchers from MIT, Northwestern and University of Florida (plus a few others) followed thousands of sets of brothers from two dramatically different cultures.
According to the study, families with two or more children, second-born boys are 20 to 40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when compared to other siblings.
Researchers say differences in parental attention may be a contributing factor in delinquency across birth order.
The second-born children do not receive the one-on-one focus and doting that their older siblings did. As a result, they may act out as a way to get their folks to focus on them.
The authors also point to the fact that parents take more time off work when they have their first child compared to when they have their second child.
“Second-born children tend to have less maternal attention than do their older siblings because first-born children experience their mother’s maternity leaves and care more” researchers said.
Furthermore, the study authors also say that second-borns might be more apt to act out because they are looking up to their older sibling as their first role models, whereas first-borns look to adults as their first role models.
In other words, the oldest child spends more developmental time around adults, which, in turn, influences them to behave more maturely.
A second-born, on the other hand, will be looking to a toddler or a school-age child as a role model—one who will naturally be more impulsive and egotistical.
It comes as no surprise that previous research has found that oldest siblings tend to be smarter than their younger sisters and brothers. The reason? Parents, naturally, spend more time alone with their first children—giving them their undivided attention.
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