Second children, the most problematic? According to this study, yes

'Why do not you look more like your brother?' The comparisons are odious, but this phrase is repeated by many parents when they see that their children behave badly and set another example member of the household. Is there anything that explains that these children behave in this way and do not act as you would expect of them? According to science, the order of birth could explain these attitudes.

Specifically, a study of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, points out that second children are between 20 and 40% more likely to manifest problematic behaviors than the first. School failure, more rebellious attitudes and a greater reluctance to follow the rules are some of the elements that were detected in these children.


Different models of education

MIT researchers analyzed birth data from the 1960s through the year 2010 in Denmark and Florida. The objective was to find differences in the health of the brothers or the educational level of the schools where the children went. Evidence to explain these different behaviors, but nevertheless the evidence they found was directly related to the behavior of the parents.

In the case of first-born children, parents spent more time caring for their children and became more involved in their education. With the arrival of the second child, the experience they had in raising a child made them have a more relaxed and carefree behavior compared to the first. This means that the involvement of the parents is lower and that it can lead to greater independence and rebellion in these little ones.


Further, Joseph Doyle, director of this research said that in these two cases there are differences in terms of the models to follow. In the case of the firstborn, the only figure that gives example is that of the parents, a more adult behavior that serves as a reference. For their part, the second children have a more childlike individual in front of them.

"The firstborn have role models, which are the adults, the second-born children, on the other hand, have somewhat irrational models of two years, that is, their older brothers." The dedication of the parents is different and the influence of siblings probably also influences these differences, "concludes Doyle.

The order of birth

This is not the first study that tries to find out how the order of birth influences the behavior of children. Kevin Leman, author of The Birth Order Book, stresses that the order of arrival of minors has a very unique influence on the development of the youngest members of the household. Being the oldest, the medium or the smallest has significant effects in the way of facing the lives of children at home.


If the older person usually presents a leadership personality, the middle children do not have a well defined profile. Leman says that in these cases children born after the first fill the gap left by their predecessors. If these behave as an extension of the parental leadership, the mediums will be more rebellious and will oppose the rules of the parents.

Of course, Leman says they tend to be the most independent. After them arrive young children, which means the loss of attention from their parents. This situation of being between the eldest and the eldest makes them look for this affection, which they believe they lack, in their friend circle.

For this reason, parents are recommended do not forget about them when the little ones arrive One technique that this author advises is to involve them in the care of young children and to participate in activities with the firstborn so that they strengthen the concept of family and do not feel excluded from the home.

Damián Montero

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