Second-Born Kids Are the Rebels of the Family, New Study Finds

Updated 07/19/17
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Although parenting can be a never-ending educational experience, we can thank science for shining a light on how traits like intelligence and behavior in children can be affected by favoritism, birth order, and other influences. Speaking of birth order, there's yet another kid-rearing takeaway for us all to keep top of mind, specifically when it comes to the second-born child.

Parents recently pointed out a study by MIT economist Joseph Doyle, who examined families with two or more children living in Florida and Denmark. Taking into account "measures of infant and childhood health, parental investments, school quality, and sibling composition [in these] two very different environments," the study reveals that second-born children are more likely to be disobedient when compared to their older siblings. What's more, the findings show that the male subjects of note in Denmark exhibited behavioral issues like hyperactivity and "measure of conduct problems" by age 12 and higher rates of incarceration for severe violent crimes by 21.

It's worth noting that the study isn't suggesting that all second-born children are destined for a life of defiance—after all, many of us can attest that rebellion is a rite of passage in adolescence, and even Berkeley describes risk-taking as essential to developing our independence and own identities. Rather, parents can look to findings like MIT's as a way to better inform their parenting and to ensure that they devote equal time to each of their kids.

Are you the second-born child in your family? Let us know in the comments if you agree with the study.

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