If You're The Oldest Sibling, Science Says You Think You're The Favorite

Researchers have long suspected birth order plays a role in the development of a child's personality.

It turns out, they weren't wrong: A new study shows first-borns tend to believe they are their parents' favorite child, and often enjoy a sense of superiority over their siblings because of their status as the oldest.

The study, led by University of California, Davis sociologist Katherine Conger, found 74 percent of mothers and 70 percent of fathers admit to favoring one child over the other(s).

While Conger did not ask parents to specify which child they preferred, she discovered first-borns tend to believe they are the favored child, likely because they are the first child in the family to reach major milestones in school, sports or other activities — or, conversely, are the first child in the family to make mistakes.

Parents learn how to parent better based on their experience with the first-born, who "generally confound their parents as to what to do."

By the time they have more children, parents are better trained in how to handle difficult situations, and often are slightly stricter when disciplining their younger children (even while "babying" them), thus leading the first-borns to believe their "easier" treatment is indicative of their parents' preference.

However, Conger found,

Everyone feels their brother or sister is getting a better deal. Regardless of how you look at it, both [earlier and later-born kids] are perceiving preferential treatment.

The study's findings are interesting because we often take the youngest, or the “baby,” to be the parents' favored child. Whether or not this is true, it's a relief to know first-borns don't share this perspective (or they'd all be pretty damn bitter).

Read more at International Business Times.

Citations: UC Davis study says firstborns feel they are their parent's favourite child (IB Times)