IT'S CONFIRMED: Secondborns get less attention, care from mothers than older sibling
For a long time, there has been a debate about how the second child is always treated differently by parents. Even though mothers have brushed this question off, a new study has found that the second child is indeed treated differently by their mothers. In fact, it is not limited to treatment by parents alone. The study also found that the first and second child also behave very differently.
The researchers observed 55 mothers who have two children. In order to reach a conclusion, the team, led by Marc H. Bornstein, observed how mothers behaved with their first and second child at the age of 20 months and compared the results.
The study suggested that mothers behaved differently with the second born in some ways, reported Romper. For instance, mothers who played a lot with their firstborn did not do the same with their second child. This change was not limited to the mothers as even the second born showed a difference in the way they behaved. The research showed that firstborn children tended to be more sociable with and emotionally available to their mothers than their siblings.
Due to this change, the study suggests that, even though parents belief remained the same over a period of time, their behavior towards their two children at the same age changes in response to differing child behaviors. A lot can also change in the order of the child born.
For instance, the first time around, everything for a mother is a new experience and, as a human would, they try to make the most of it. However, it may not be the same the second or third time around. The study suggests that the order of birth can impact children's personality and is not the first or the only one to do so. Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist and author of 'The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are also echoed the same thoughts.
"The one thing you can bet your paycheck on is the firstborn and second-born in any given family are going to be different," he wrote. According to parents, apart from being more sociable, firstborn children also tend to be more reliable, conscientious, structured, cautious, controlling, and high achieving. Firstborn children also tend to be more intelligent than their siblings as they are believed to receive more mental stimulation from parents in the early stages of their lives.
A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh found that parents gave firstborn more support in activities that involve thinking. However, when it comes to the secondborn, the study found that parents spent less time on "brain-stimulating activities with their younger children, took part in fewer activities with them such as reading, crafts, and music."