Are You The Oldest Child? Chances Are You Are The Smartest As Well.

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A new research suggests that smartness is interlinked with your rank in the sibling hierarchy. The oldest child is smartest, says this study.

Clearly, this study hasn’t gone down well with me, considering that I’m the youngest of the two siblings. I don’t even understand how they can come up with a conclusion like this. Humph! On a serious note, according to this report, the oldest child in a family is supposed to be the smartest.

As per the research, the firstborn children tended to perform better than their younger siblings. Cognitive assessments done as early as age one, threw light on this finding. With this gap increasing until the children reached school age, the difference remains relatively constant there on. This is because evidence suggests that older children got more mental stimulation and breastfeeding from their parents. Also, new mums were more careful about taking risks like smoking or drinking during their first pregnancies.

I see logic there. When you are pregnant with your first child, it’s a totally new experience for you… an alien concept to which you are just getting familiar. you know you may as well do your best and hence are extra cautious. By the time you are ready for your second child you know half the times you panicked for nothing. You lower your defences and relax.

But again, if you have more than one child, do you really get to relax? With just two of us siblings to take care of, I remember my parents felt like our house was a war zone. Ours was a classic case of sibling rivalry. My brother was seven years older to me and felt like he knew it all. I have also seen sibling rivalry in children with a lesser age gap between them. So how exactly do you deal with sibling rivalry, a common issue, but one hard to resolve? Here are some tips for parents with two or more children:

  • Plan well: Try to have at least two to three years of age difference between two children. This is just so that the elder child becomes independent enough to walk around on his own. Having two near-toddlers with same or similar demands is bound to create a rift between the little ones. You may not consciously veer towards to the younger one, but the elder one may already feel left out. That's usually the stepping stone for sibling rivalry.
  • NEVER take sides: Always be fair. Just because the younger one is really young, doesn't mean you side with him all the time. In fact, side with who is right. Develop a communication channel between yourself and the kids where they can explain things to you and you can reason it out with them.
  • NEVER compare:  I don't even need to explain this now, do I? No one likes being compared, be it an adult or a child. When we already know that no two kids are the same, why do we even bother saying things like, "look at how your brother runs" or things to that effect?
  • Don’t force them to share toys: Irrespective of the age difference between the siblings, get the same toys the siblings. Never force them to share the toys, unless they want to do it by choice. By default, the pressure falls on the older child and he/she is expected to share his/her things with the younger lot. If your children understand the idea of sharing and do it willingly, then it’s a different ball game.

On hindsight, sibling rivalry is mostly filled with silly fights which form fond and lasting memories. However, at the moment that you are trying to bring a truce between to warring children, all you want is a third umpire so you could retire.

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