Study reveals that youngest siblings are obsessed with being the funniest
Older and younger siblings are very different. Everyone who has siblings knows this, as does every parent who has more than one child. In all honesty, even those without any brothers and sisters know this, after meeting a friend's siblings for more than five minutes.
Psychologists have been studying these dynamics for years now, and for good reason. There's bound to be a huge difference behind the personality of the first-born child and the last one to join the family. New parents likely have a lot of anxiety over their inexperience with their first baby, whereas by the third or fourth they have a better understanding, but likely a lot less time as they are spread thin across multiple mouths to feed.
For me, the difference was pretty clear. I have both an older brother and an older sister, and we're all very different. Things have levelled off now that we're all adults, but when we were young you could see how the age difference affected how we acted towards one another. My sister, the middle child, tended to feel that she was treated unfairly while we had the advantages of being the eldest or the "baby" of the group (in my case). I was always frustrated by seeing them both get to do things I was too young to do, and the eldest of us ended up being pretty self-sufficient as attentions were turned to his younger siblings.
But another way in which siblings can be different is in how they see themselves. According to a poll taken by YouGov, who studied the personalities in the youngest and oldest children in Britain, younger siblings see themselves as the funniest of the children, while older siblings believe themselves to be more successful and responsible.
As the study describes, there are plenty of differences in how children see themselves and each other. Looking at the stats, the poll revealed some truths about siblings that you may see in your own family:
"Splitting out the first and last born siblings in British families with more than one child (86 per cent of the population), a clear divide in personality traits emerges.
The most significant difference is in feeling the burden of responsibility – most (54 per cent) first borns say they are more responsible than their siblings, compared to 31 per cent of last borns.
Younger siblings, on the other hand, are more likely to say they are more funny (46 per cent compared to 36 per cent of elder siblings), more easy going and more relaxed."
The website admits that age can have some affect on these results, rather than the family dynamics, but there are undoubtedly some forces at work that have more to do with how we are brought up. After all, when the second (or third, or fourth...) child comes around, the first may have to learn a lot of lessons for themselves while their parents' attentions are elsewhere.
This isn't the only discovery made about how our origins affect our personalities and livelihoods in the future, as you can read about the recent study that found that people born in September are more successful.