Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Let's talk siblings: Who's smarter...?

Growing up, I always felt like my younger sister Janelle got the brains of the family. Sure, I had my smarts, but she was a genius in my book. She scored off the charts on standardized tests. She read the classics and philosophy books for fun. And she was practically fluent in Spanish overnight -- OK, not really true, but it seemed like it.

But! The Atlantic just released the results of a new study that maintains the opposite is true: First-born children are smarter than their siblings. The study, conducted by economists V. Joseph Hotz and Juan Pantano, found that first-borns have higher IQs, perform better in school, and are considered more accomplished by their parents. Why? Simple, say the researchers. Parents tend to go easier on their later-born kids. The first time around, moms and dads put their tough foot forward, establishing strict rules and making sure they're intimately involved in their child's academic life. With subsequent children, parents have noticeably chilled out and tend to adopt a more hand-off approach to child rearing.
Isn't that interesting? Were you raised differently than your siblings, friends? Are you the oldest? Youngest? Somewhere in the middle? How have you raised your own kids, if you have them? xoxo

P.S. On sibling relationships, birth order, childhood photos and childhood vacations.

[Photo by Charles Gullung]


  1. How interesting! I'm an older child, and I definitely felt more pressure to perform, especially in the areas where I was strongest! Even now, I feel that pressure!

  2. Oh, yes! My sister definitely got away with more than I did. But academically, my parents were strict on both of us. We are about the same when it comes to school. She is a better test taker than I am, but our scores were close.

    Everything else, though, my parents were waaaaaaaay more lax with her. Ridiculous.

  3. Really interesting, although it doesn't necessarely apply to me. I'm the oldest sister, but my younger brother is a genius! :) We both got same line of education/pressure. Xo,

  4. I don't necessarily think this is true! My oldest sibling is proof. haha :\

  5. Hmmm, I am an older child and my grades did refelct the finding, but I think it depends on the child. As for the push to perform I would believe that. First children are always in new territory when it comes to parents and expecations are high. By the time the second or third siblings come along parents have a better idea what to expect.


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