A relatively new study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked into the impact of birth order on delinquency and found that second-born boys “are substantially more likely to exhibit delinquency problems compared to their older sibling.”
The conclusions were extrapolated from examining data sets from the US state of Florida and from Denmark.
Most striking, it discovered that second-born boys are involved with the juvenile justice system at a rate 40 percent higher than first-borns and what is to blame?
More relaxed parenting and shorter maternity leave!
“Second-born children tend to have less maternal attention than do their older siblings,” the authors write. They explain that firstborns get the benefit of their mother’s maternity leave following their own births and following their sibling’s birth.
The study also looked into in school suspension and truancy rates when determining the definition of “delinquency” so it wasn’t all all out criminal behavior.
The authors found that when a girl was added to the mix, delinquency in the middle second boy went down.
My family dynamics are two boys and a girl and the second boy finds himself in more pickles and jams than the first but I think it is because he is more outgoing and has a larger peer group to get in trouble with, and also, his personality.
In my family, which has a youngest girl, the additional female did nothing to impact the boys behavior.
I suppose it is all relative, despite these stark trends in the data!
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