Being the oldest in the family can have its perks — but also its downfalls. It’s no fun having to forge the way for others, whether it’s begging your parents to let you have your first cell phone, negotiating a reasonable curfew, or convincing your parents that it’s okay to go across the country for college.
But at the end of the day, being the oldest sibling is pretty nice. You always feel like you’re the first one to do something, and it’s reassuring knowing at least one person out there looks up to you as a role model. Plus, every older child loved bossing their siblings around, as much as they hate to admit it.
If you’re the oldest child (like myself), and you feel like you might just be the best one in your family (no bias here), you’re probably right — research supports that being the oldest child has a lot of benefits, and all that negotiating may have been worth it after all.
For all you younger siblings who doubt me, here’s some proof: these six reasons why the oldest child is the best are not just my opinion — they’re totally backed by science.
1. They’re Smarter
I’m not making this stuff up: A study done in 2007 looked at 250,000 Norweigan adults and found that eldest children have higher IQs than their younger siblings. Although scientists are not exactly sure why, they hypothesize that older children often teach their younger siblings, which can help facilitate their own learning.
2. They’re Responsible
Not only are first borns smarter than their other siblings, but they happen to be obedient and responsible as well. The oldest child is less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as doing drugs or getting pregnant as teenagers. They also tend to be the most loyal to the family.
3. They’re Conscientious
One study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that first borns were more conscientious, agreeable, and less neurotic than their younger siblings when scored on a personality test.
4. They Hold Leadership Roles
It’s no surprise that the eldest child is born a leader. A review of studies by the University of Georgia found that older siblings are most likely to hold leadership roles in order to achieve their goals. This is because eldest children are used to taking initiative and view themselves as leaders due to their birth order.
5. They Have Higher Aspirations
Eldest children dream big, but they also attain their dreams as well. A study from the University of Essex found that first borns have higher educational aspirations than their younger family members, but they’re also more likely to reach those high aspirations and succeed.
6. They Land Positions Of Prestige
Older children not only dream of success, but they reach it. Studies show that firstborns are more likely to go for careers that require higher education such as medicine, engineering, or law, and they’re more likely to make salaries of $100,000 or more compared to their siblings. They are also more likely to hold a vice president or senior management position.
Younger siblings, as much as we love you, nothing can compete with being the first child born in the family. Hey – science says so.
Photo by ThomasLife