First Born Kids Get More Mom Time

Filed under: Opinions

mother holding babyHey, all you little brothers and sisters! Looking for ammunition against your parents? It's your lucky day -- a new study out of Brigham Young University shows that first-born kids get as much as 30 minutes more quality face-time with mom and dad than do second children.

Most birth-order research focuses on how it can determine children's personality traits later in life, and studies bear out the common stereotypes: the oldest child is generally smart and ambitious, while later-born kids are often more liberal, rebellious, and flexible.

And lo, the guilt! Now I know for sure that the baby won't have all the advantages of our oldest. Scientific proof that second kids totally get the shaft, and it can only lead to a life of crime. Especially because second children are often winners in the discipline lottery: another study notes that parents are more relaxed -- and lax -- the second time around.

We had our second child eight months ago, nearly four years after the birth of our daughter. We dote on both the kids, but the big girl definitely got more one-on-one time with both of us, with every mewl and giggle getting our full attention. But the baby? What, he's eating paper? Eh, it's just fiber, won't hurt him.

My family of origin is a perfect example of birth-order politics. As the eldest, I'm a very traditional kind of gal with a stick-in-the-mud attitude, while my middle sister is the peacemaker. My brother, they baby of our family, is the outlaw. While I only have two, I can definitely see my kids playing out these classic roles. This study opened my eyes to the ways I short-change the baby, and I plan to carve out more time for one-on-one interaction with him.

Are you the responsible older sibling, or the carefree wild-child baby of the family? How does birth order influence your kids?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.