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14th Jul 2017

Second-born boys are more likely to cause trouble than older child

Could this be proof that little brothers are trouble-makers?

Anna O'Rourke

Have a naughty boy in your house?

Birth order is known to have an effect on how children do in education, but research has now shown that it can affect their bad behaviour too.

Second-born children are more likely to be trouble-makers than the oldest child, but only if the second-born is a boy, according to a report on a study at MIT.

Researchers examining delinquency looked at data from thousands of families in Florida in the US and in Denmark.

They found that despite how different these two areas are, second-born boys are 20 to 40 per cent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system.

They noted second-born children are no more likely to be unhealthy, disabled or have a different education to their older siblings.

According to Joseph Doyle, an economist and one of the report’s authors, it comes down to who the second-born looks up to.

“The firstborn has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds, you know, their older siblings,” he said, reports Mommyish.