It's been 'proven' that second-born children are harder to bring up (especially boys)

Research has shown that bringing up your second child is harder than your first-born - particularly when it comes to boys

second child

You’ve heard it before. Having one kid is having one kid. Having two is like having 10.

Are you finding your second child more difficult to raise than your first? Parents have come up with an abundance of reasons to explain why that is. Firstly, you don’t get any breaks because when you’re not with one you’re with the other, plus you’re always breaking up arguments caused by sibling rivalry, and the noise…don’t get us started on the noise. But science shows that there could be another reason...

Historically studies have shown that birth order really does count when it comes to behaviour, personality and accomplishments. First-borns are often labelled as controlling but caring, the youngest are considered spoilt and inconsiderate and the middle ones grows up with a complex about always being ignored.

Well, it turns out that second-born children really are harder to deal with than the others. Research carried out by scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US suggests that in multiple-child families the second-born is 25 to 40 per cent more likely than their older sibling to end up getting into trouble at school.

While that may not seem too bad, the study shows that they are also more likely to get wrapped up in the juvenile justice system and even to go to prison. So why is that? Researchers suggest it may be down to the discrepancies in the amount of parental attention that the two siblings receive. 

While older siblings have time on their own and receive their parent's undivided attention, second siblings generally receive half the amount of fuss due the fact that there’s another sibling around. Obviously the introduction of a second sibling affects the older sibling as well, but for some time they did still have the parents to themselves.

And if you’ve got boys you’d better keep an extra eye out. The research focused primarily on second-born boys, which suggests that they could be especially rebellious. The news is good if you have a sister though, as research shows, having a sister makes you a better person.

Though if you ask us, parenting is always a bit of a lucky dip so who knows, you might just get lucky!

Aleesha Badkar
Lifestyle Writer

Aleesha Badkar is a lifestyle writer who specialises in health, beauty - and the royals. After completing her MA in Magazine Journalism at the City, the University of London in 2017, she interned at Women’s Health, Stylist, and Harper’s Bazaar, creating features and news pieces on health, beauty, and fitness, wellbeing, and food. She loves to practice what she preaches in her everyday life with copious amounts of herbal tea, Pilates, and hyaluronic acid.