A slightly off-topic comment. I have had occasion to counsel personally with
many young university students (400-500) in their 20s. Several of these came
from large families (7-12 children).With only a couple of
exceptions, those who came from large families expressed slight to considerable
resentment that they had to share their parents' time and energy with so
many siblings during their formative years. In several instances, these
individuals explained that they felt much closer to one or two of their siblings
than they did to their parents. This did not vary by birth order. The
earlier-born said they noticed their parents beginning to ignore them and leave
them to their own devices as younger siblings were born into the family. The
later-born resented their parents having left them to be largely raised and
trained by their older siblings.Admittedly, young single university
students in their 20s often have challenges and they often tend to blame some of
their emotional problems on their parenting. Children crave and value one-on-one
time with a loving and interested parent. This is true even in their teenage
years when they are loathe to show it.
I was the second child out of two children in my mother's original family,
then she got divorced and remarried, and then I was a middle child in the middle
of seven children, which really was difficult, and then she got divorced and
then remarried someone that had no children, and that is only on my
mother's side, now my biological father got married after my mother
divorced him and remarried and had 4 more children of his own so I was the
oldest child there, because my brother wasn't talking to him at the time,
and then he divorced her and then married a woman that had one child of her own,
so I would definitely be the oldest child there, and then he divorced her and
then got married to someone that had no children as far as I know but then he
divorced her because she tried to poison him. That is why I turned out so
normal, and why I don't live in Utah anymore.
I think this birth order study is a lot of nonsense. I have four children. The
first and the third are unmotivated in school, but wonderfully relaxed and
happy. The second and fourth are highly motivated in school, but suffer from
anxiety. They were just born with the personalities they have. I have tried to
put more pressure and offer more rewards to the unmotivated ones to try to make
up for it, but it makes virtually no difference.
While there is some truth here, there are a multitude of factors. Our older
children had a stricter rules and have done very well (college scholarships).
Their younger siblings have more freedom, but are still doing very well (honor
roll). I am the youngest of 6 and have a doctoral degree. All of the children
in my family have at least a B.S.Several years ago I saw a similar
study that said that academic achievement suffers with family size. The study
had a footnote that two noted exceptions were Mormon and Jewish families. I
would bet that if you studied Mormon and Jewish families specifically you would
find less of a difference between the eldest and youngest in academic
No wonder my younger brother is such an idiot...
"Parents just get lazy" lacks perspective. Parents get wiser. With
your first kid you are overly strict to a fault. Maybe this child will have
better grades, but oler children, especially the oldest, tend to resent the way
they were raised by their parents when they're older. Whereas younger
siblings are given much more lattitude to make mistakes and learn from them.
They tend to build more personal relationships with their parents. Maybe they
don't always have the best grades and work ethic, but they seem more happy
with less baggage.That should be the follow-up study to this.
I guess I am an excepting to this study. I was the youngest of 4 children and
always worked for better grades and was the only one in my family to go to, and
graduate from, college. I now have my Master's Degree and am loving my
career and life. I don't think it is a matter of when you were born, but
more a matter of how much your parents really care. That would be the
determining factor to me. It is sad some parents get lazier with their children
the more they have. I have seen it in my friend's lives and am so glad my
parents worked hard for each of their children instead of mailing it in.
This is why I made sure that ALL of my children were "firstborn". And
they are doing great!
I am the oldest child in a large family. My father had cancer when I was a
preteen and Mom went to school then work. I became the afterschool caregiver
for my younger siblings. My younger siblings did not excel in school as I did.
I think in part because there was not the help that I had in the early years. I
was taught to read before kindergarten, my parents worked with me in the
elementary years. Yes, I learned responsibility, but I was not a good mother
substitute. Preschool/daycare was not as common in the 60's. I kept an
eye on my brother and sisters, changed diapers and made sure they were fed, but
I was worried about my homework. 40 years later, I can see the
financial differences in our family. The older children are very financially
stable. I went to college with a full academic scholarship. My youngest sister
refused to go to college even though the money was there. The younger children
in our family have struggled greatly with their finances. Parents need to be
aware and when possible make sure they spend time with the youngest children.
Their future is in your hands.
I believe part of the reason older children get better grades (which is not
mentioned in this article) is because older children don't have older
siblings who have already explored the world for them. This process of
exploration is very beneficial to young minds and I believe sparks
inquisitiveness. Older siblings dictate the world to younger. It can
make life as a younger sibling easier (or at least more secure) because they
don't have to face the unexpected, but at the same time, it robs them of
the need to deal with the unknown. And that's the very essence of learning.
Older siblings may also set the bar too high and the young give up
on competition... my first two are fiercely competative. Last three
not-so-much.Yes, parents get tired the older they get, but in my
home (I was the eldest of seven), that tiring had a beneficial educatory effect,
in which my younger siblings actually were much better adjusted than the older
ones. They got better teachers, because my parents knew the bad ones by then.
They got excellent grades, while mine were good but not valedictory.
The first child learns to speak from adults.
I know that my parents were much more strict with me than with my younger
siblings, who were likely to get away with anything.
I see a lot of parents pawning of their kids on their older siblings. It might
teacher the older ones a bit more responsibility though some come to resent it,
but I think the younger kids often miss the quality time with parents the older