Second-Born Kids Are The Hardest, Study Finds


Whether it’s parents of multiples, the ‘fun uncles/aunts,’ nannies, neighbors, or friends of friends' of families of six, we’ve all developed our own theories, however loose or in-depth, about the significance of birth order. ‘Well, she is the youngest,’ or ‘Typical middle child behavior,’ aren’t uncommon umbrella-phrases to hear around the extended dinner table at family gatherings. The claim that the second born can be more challenging than his/her siblings, however, may be one backed by actual research and study.

MIT economist, Joseph Doyle, put out a new report enforcing what many of us have thought for years; the second child is harder to raise, especially if it’s a boy. In an NPR interview, Doyle says, ‘…second-born children, compared to their older siblings, are much more likely to end up in prison, much more likely to get suspended in school, enter juvenile delinquency.’ Among his reasoning, he attributes this concept to the idea of role models (or lack thereof, in this matter.). He suggests that, because first-borns traditionally have undivided attention from their parents, who are their role models, their tendency is to easily absorb the good habits they take in, as opposed to their younger brothers whose role models are, as he put it, ‘slightly irrational 2-year-olds.’ It’s safe to say that in little to no time at all, a toddler can take over and start running the show with one eye closed. Those are the moments when younger brother or sister is taking diligent mental notes.


Of course, this is a broad picture study, so it should be taken with a grain (or two) of pink Himalayan sea salt, as it may have you mentally combing over the families in your life (including your own.). Admittedly, though, there may be an ounce or two of relief to simply have our theories validated by the professionals. Even if ever-so-slightly.




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