A study conducted by German researchers revealed that the IQ of the firstborn is usually higher. Of course, being older does not always mean that you are the wisest of your siblings, but rather that you are likely to receive more attention and love.
In a report published by the American “powerofpositivity” website, author Christine Lawrence said that parents spend more time with their first child, and this amount of attention affects his IQ. Since parents have only one child to care for, they invest more energy and effort in his education, and they have more time to teach him reading, writing and other skills.
With the arrival of the second or third child, parents are likely to have other commitments and busy schedules that make it difficult to allocate much time to children born later. But this does not mean that parents love their later children less, but rather make the difficult reality that they struggle to reconcile family life with other responsibilities.
The author mentioned that parents learn ways of parenting with the first child. At this “experimental” stage, the parents try to correct all the misconceptions with which they were raised. But after getting used to the feeling of parenthood, the parents become more permissive towards the later children.
Babies born later may have more freedom, and they do not have to follow the very strict rules on which the first baby grew up. They will therefore not benefit from their parents’ constant attention as a first child.
How is the first child the most intelligent?
Birth order is not always a determining factor in determining a child’s IQ, but this study found that the first child usually has a slightly higher IQ. Researchers from the University of Leipzig studied the birth order of 20,000 people from the USA, the UK and Germany.
The researchers focused on assessing intelligence based on verbal ability and general IQ tests. The researchers also conducted personality tests on the adult participants on the five personality traits that include openness to experience, neuroticism, pleasantness, conscientiousness, and extroversion.
Researchers have revealed that the first-born children have an average IQ of 1.5 points higher than the children born after them. Therefore, it seems that being the oldest child has a slight effect on your intelligence. The results determined that the oldest child has a 60% higher IQ. The study also revealed that birth order does not affect personality traits.
Other studies have confirmed the theory that an older child has a higher IQ. A study published in the journal Human Resource found that first-born perform better academically as their parents tend to invest more in their education, giving them an advantage over their siblings. The researchers also found that these children scored better on cognitive tests than their younger siblings of the same age.
Extensive National Survey
The findings are based on a national survey of young people and children that has existed over the years, which included data on thousands of young people aged 14 to 21 years. The survey began in 1979 and asked questions about employment, income, education, family life and other basic information. Researchers were careful to feed participants at the beginning of the study and since 2014 every two years.
“I was amazed at how much parenting styles affect a child’s cognitive abilities early in life,” said Ji-Yun Liman, co-author and economic expert at the Analysys Group in Boston. “New parents tend to be more aware of how their behavior affects their firstborn. However, they are not strict with later children,” she added.
Benefits of the firstborn
While the study found that fathers provide the same amount of love and affection for all their children, older children were found to receive more spiritual stimulation by involving parents in educational activities such as reading, teaching the alphabet and playing with them.
Similar to the previous study, the authors found that parenting styles had no effect on children’s personalities, but that the firstborn children had more self-confidence, especially with respect to their intelligence and academic performance.
In addition, the study revealed that a mother’s cautious behavior changes during her pregnancy with her subsequent children. When it comes to breastfeeding, mothers avoid breastfeeding their babies during their second pregnancy. In contrast, studies show that breastfed babies have better cognitive performance as they get older.
Clearly, parents’ behaviors and habits affect children drastically. The first child may have more benefits, but parents should try to give each subsequent child the same amount of love and attention. Early life experiences have a lasting impact on a child’s academic success.
Parents can rely on the older child for help with responsibilities such as babysitting, reading, changing diapers, feeding and playing with his younger siblings. They often ask the older child to help with some household chores. It reduces the burden on parents and helps to establish a sense of responsibility in the older child.
Being the oldest child in the family not only imposes a great responsibility on you, but brings you many benefits. Your parents probably had more time to spend with you when you were a kid, which helped you develop basic skills like reading. They also had less responsibilities and more energy to invest in your academic success and emotional health.
For this reason, if you are the firstborn in your family, you should consider yourself happy. Your parents may have followed a stricter educational approach with you, but it is thanks to them that they spend a lot of time ensuring your success and excellence in your future life on all fronts.