Everyone likes to think of themselves as the smartest child in the family – particularly the oldest siblings, but lately, a new scientific study may have settled the matter for good, proving that the eldest child really is the smartest.
The study, which has appeared published in the Journal of Human Resources, is entitled “The Early Origins of Birth Order Differences in Children’s Outcomes and Parental Behavior” and states that parents often place more attention and care on their first born, thus becoming more lax with later offspring.
The researchers looked at statistics from the National Longitudinal Survey of the Youth, which possesses information on thousands of Americans between 14 and 21 years of age. These minors were first interviewed back in 1979, and since then, have been re-interviewed regularly in order to gain a full comprehension related to their employment, income, and education.
From the date that has been gathered, they found that parents gave the same amount of love and care to all their children; the only difference was that the eldest child often received the most mental stimulation. As the family size increased, the parents weren’t able to keep up the same level of stimulation for the following kids.
The study’s co-author, Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann, spoke to Today magazine and said, “We were surprised by the finding that birth order differences in cognitive test scores and parental behavior appeared so early. First-time parents tend to want to do everything right and generally, have a greater awareness of their interactions with and investments in the firstborn. With each subsequent child, parents tend to relax to a greater extent what they might deem as non-essential needs for their kids.”
Lehmann then added, “The lesson here for parents is that the types of investments that you make in your kids matter a lot, especially those that you make in the children’s first few years of life. All those learning activities that you did with your first child as excited, nervous and over-zealous parents actually seem to have some positive, long-lasting impact on their development.”
The study has also clamed that after the first pregnancy, expectant mothers are less likely to cut down their alcohol consumption, seek prenatal care later, and also are less likely to breastfeed.
So it seems that older siblings win this debate. What do you think of the study?