It’s a universal parenting truth that most people with more than one kid know: as soon as you think you might know what you’re doing, the second child comes along and chaos reigns again. Because the second child is never a replica of the first.
Now, a 2017 study backs that up with scientific evidence. So, if you’ve ever felt your second-born was more ‘challenging’, it’s now official, and not just in your head.
It’s important to note that Doyle admits the sampling included a majority of families where the second-born was male.
And also, that Doyle did not speak to the mother of this writer (who is the second-born).
Mamamia Out Loud discusses sibling rivalry.
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The study found that second-borns presented more “challenging” behaviour; they were more likely to get in trouble at school, and, more alarmingly, with the justice system as adults.
So why is this the case? The authors of the research explained their reasoning:
“We consider differences in parental attention as a potential contributing factor to the gaps in delinquency across the birth order.”
Of course it is – it’s always a parent’s fault, right? But actually, even Doyle admitted that’s not the full picture.
He said: “The firstborn has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds, you know, their older siblings.”