Growing up with older siblings means constantly being compared to the eldest child of the family and hoping to one day be like them. It also means the eldest of you siblings gets more permissions, along with responsibilities though, something that may bug you as a younger child.
Now research has given the oldest children another reason to act smug around the sibling line below them; it has found out that the oldest child is the brightest academically and more likely to be intellectually successful.
What Has The Study Revealed?
This latest study which has been published in the Journal of Human Resources has found that firstborns perform better than their younger counterparts when it comes to cognitive tests. Since infancy, they are set up for doing better academically than their younger siblings. Why is that so?
Basically, firstborn children get more attention from their parents. First-time parents invest a lot of time and attention in their first child. As more children come along, parents start relaxing. Findings from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of the Youth which interviewed thousands of people have revealed this.
As part of this study, participants between 14 to 21 years of age were first interviewed in 1979 and then re-interviewed several times since. The information collected about them included their background, education, employment, and income.
The research also revealed that the oldest child is more mentally stable than younger ones. Firstborns get more mentally stimulated. Parents spend less time reading to their younger kids and don’t invest as much time in teaching them basic stuff. The National Bureau of Economic Research says that firstborns are encouraged to get more involved in academic and cocurricular activities.
Children following the first one also receive less mentally stimulating toys or tasks. This, comparatively less attention, doesn’t have much of an impact on the attitude or personality of next born children as per this research. Though other studies have revealed personality traits that are linked with one’s position in the sibling ladder.
For instance, another study has found the second-born children are likely to be naughtier and bolder. This particular study stresses that parents need to invest just as much in other children as well. Previous studies have shown that the eldest child tends to have a higher IQ, is more likely to continue education, and has a 30% higher chance of becoming a CEO or politician.
A new study backs what the eldest child often tells his younger siblings; that he is wiser. As per this research, the oldest child is cognitively sharper than the rest. The firstborn child is likely to outperform his younger siblings on academic tests.
This is because parents give more time and attention to their first child and this attention drops as they start to relax when other children come in. This shows that all children must be invested in at the same level.