Just because you love all of your kids equally doesn’t mean they don’t try your patience in different and sometimes drastic ways.
In fact, a recent study out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that your second-born (well, everybody’s second born) is a little monster for a reason. More specifically, they investigated the effect birth order has on rates delinquency and the findings were significant.
Studying a large sample from both Florida and Denmark, the authors concluded:
“We find that second-born boys are substantially more likely to exhibit delinquency problems compared to their older sibling.”
In particular, second-born boys are involved in the juvenile system at a 40% higher rate when compared to first-born siblings. This percentage is also reflected in school suspension rates, though, truancy rates remain about the same between first and second-borns.
Interestingly, high rates of delinquency were more often found in families with male-only siblings; dropping a sister into the mix decreased those delinquency rates significantly (thank you, ladies).
As for why these changes in behavior happen, the authors postulated a conclusion. Simply put, first-borns get more attention than their younger siblings.
“Second-born children tend to have less maternal attention than do their older siblings,” the authors wrote. They suggest that firstborns get the benefit of their mother’s initial maternity leave as well as from any future maternity leave due to additional children.
We’re not saying you’re terrible parents or that all supervillains turned out to be second-borns (even though that would be an interesting study in itself), but just be aware of your kiddos’ motivations the next time your angelic first-born tattles on his little brother for the 10th time that day.