Finally, there is hard proof that children born second are the actual worst.

Read it and weep, second-borns: according to science, you are officially the worst. Well, that is, according to one recently published report out of the US, anyway.

According to the report, which studied thousands of first and second born siblings from Florida and Denmark, second-born children, specifically boys, are substantially more likely to behave badly and end up in a worse position than their elder siblings in later life.

They’re 20 to 40 per cent more likely to have behavioural issues that will result in discipline during their school lives, and an even greater chance of ending up in the criminal justice system at some point.

are second-born children naughtier
Doomed from the get go. Source: iStock.

"We consider differences in parental attention as a potential contributing factor to the gaps in delinquency across the birth order," the report says.

"Second-born children tend to have less maternal attention than their older siblings because first-born children experience their mother’s maternity leaves and temporarily reduced labour market participation both following their own births as well as following the birth of the second-born."

Speaking to NPR about their findings, one of the report's authors, Joseph Doyle explained, "The firstborn has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational two-year-olds, you know, their older siblings."

Doyle continued, "Both the parental investments are different, and the sibling influences probably contribute to these differences we see in the labour market and what we find in delinquency. It's just very difficult to separate those two things because they happen at the same time."

 Well, this is awkward for parents telling their children they love them equally, isn't it?

Listen: Andrew Daddo and Holly Wainwright talk about the many ways parents get kids to do what they want on This Glorious Mess. 

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