Firstborn kids are smarter than their younger siblings, says study

There are many stereotypes about the oldest child in a family – one being that they tend to be overachievers. 

And now there is research to back that up as one study has suggested that firstborn kids could, in fact, be more intelligent than their younger siblings.

The study, published in The Journal of Human Resources also said that it is possible that it’s all about how they’re parented from birth.

Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann, Ana Nuevo-Chiquero and Marian Vidal-Fernandez who wrote the study said, ''As early as age 1, later-born children score lower on cognitive assessments than their siblings, and the birth order gap in cognitive assessment increases until the time of school entry and remains statistically significant thereafter.''

They suggest that the reason for this could be because, ''mothers take more risks during pregnancy and are less likely to breastfeed and to provide cognitive stimulation for later-born children.”

They continued, ''Variations in parental behaviour can explain most of the differences in cognitive abilities before school entry.''

They added, ''Our findings suggest that broad shifts in parental behaviour from first to later-born children are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labour market outcomes.''

Thousands of young Americans aged 14 to 21 were surveyed as part of the study, via the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of the Youth, over the past 40 years or so.

Jee-Yeon told Today, ''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.''

She continued, ''With each subsequent child, parents tend to relax to a greater extent what they might deem as non-essential needs for their kids.''

Jee-Yeon and her fellow authors concluded that while parents didn't sacrifice care and affection with their children born second and later, the mental stimulation that they had given their oldest kids was missing e.g. reading to them.

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