Science

First-Born Children Are Smarter Due To Intense Parenting

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 10, 2017 05:29 AM EST
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A new study says first-born children really do reap the benefits of being child number one. For starters, they are smarter than their younger siblings. They also get more attention from parents who give time to provide them with mental stimulation, the research has found.

The study by the University of Edinburgh says that first babies tend to have superior thinking skills compared to their siblings because of the time their parents usually spend on harnessing their brain powers. While the study found that parents give all their children the amount of emotional support, the first-born generally received more help with tasks that develop thinking skills. This was proven by the economists at the University of Edinburgh, Analysis Group, and the University of Sydney through the survey data collected.

Processed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the data show that firstborn children scored higher than siblings in IQ tests as early as age one. Researchers have published the study in the Journal of Human Resource. Nearly 5,000 children from pre-birth to age 14 were observed by the study, with child assessment done every two years, the New York Post reports.

Researchers said the findings have explained the so-called birth order effect. It is a developmental phenomenon where the children born earlier in a family have better wages and higher levels of education later in life. In addition, firstborns scored higher on tests including reading, names, reading single words aloud, matching letters, and picture vocabulary tests.

Interestingly, parents tend to change their behavior as they had more children, giving less mental stimulation and taking part in fewer activities that sharpen concentration skills, The Guardian reports. Mothers also become more careless and take part in risky behaviors such as smoking during pregnancy with subsequent children. First-born children do have some disadvantages, however, a study in 2015 suggested that they were up to 20 percent more likely to develop short-sightedness than their younger siblings.

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