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Chronicle of a mother: what I learned in place of the elderly woman

Does each person’s place in the family really influence character? And the eldest, who has invested a lot, is the luckiest. I’ll tell you about my experience in my family of four children.

I was recently having coffee with a work acquaintance and told him that I had three sisters and that was me “lesser”. I could have said the youngest, the youngest of the brothers, no, I used this expression of “youngest” which brings with it a whole series of stereotypes: overprotected, capricious, too spoiled, family pet, not to mention only some .

Ever since I had children, I have been interested in the topic of position within siblings and its real or perceived impact on each person’s personality. People like to attach labels, but it is clear that we observe some similarities between the children of the same birth order. I asked some questions to Héloïse Junier, child psychologist, author of numerous books, including recently Sam and Cleo posted by Hatier Jeunesse What he told me is fascinating.

This post is taken from the weekly newsletter “Le Balagan” by our editor-in-chief Candice Satara. Candice is the mother of four boys ages 2 to 12. To receive it you can sign up for free here.

Parental investment would be stronger with the older,

My oldest son is 12 and we have a lot in common. How to describe it to you? He is joyful and anxious, unpredictable and responsible, generous and authoritative (with those with whom he is in the conquered land). He is a good dough, some say, but he is very easy to transport. He was born 21 months before his brother: 21 months of discoveries, 21 months focused on him observing the slightest progress, worrying about all his ailments. Parental investment would be stronger with the older child, and for good reason, he spends more individual time with his parents and family, this time, even if limited, is a treasure.

“Scientific studies show that the major has a better level of language, analysis of the situation because it is more intellectually stimulated, explains Héloïse Junier. A chance for him in terms of education. These are generally children who tend to have better academic results because their parents are more involved” I found it hard to believe that I could be less involved with my second child, it’s unthinkable, but it’s true that L. was a wiser, calmer child and that A. had long since taken up all the space. Today it is also true that I give more importance to the results of my eldest son who attends the 5th grade than to those of L. who attends the CM2.

The eldest, the smartest?

A study carried out in Sweden and available on the site Direct science analyzed The influence of birth order on academic success. The results clearly show that later-born siblings perform worse academically than their older siblings. Of course, these results should be taken with a grain of salt, because there are many other factors that come into play, such as at the same time the development of education in the countrybut still, it’s pretty crazy.


Even the eldest would potentially have additional IQ points compared to his younger brothers and sisters, again because he is more involved by his parents, continues the psychologist. This is a trend that we also find among only children. » These are the conclusions of a large German study published in 2015. But rest assured, younger people are not excluded. If older people benefit from a higher entry wage into the labor market, this advantage then goes on average to those born later due to a greater willingness of the last born to adapt to the labor market and change jobs. It’s all me.

The most conformist major? More applied to the frame?

It’s not a certainty but some data says so.” adds Héloïse Junier. When I see my son, he is very respectful of the rules of life in society (not mine). He is serious, responsible, defends his brother tooth and nail every time he is scolded. And he very often thinks of himself as the father of the twins, but with four children at home, it’s inevitable that he sometimes takes on that role. However, when it comes to taking risks, he pushes his brother, his beloved companion, to the forefront. It’s L. The crafty one, the good negotiator we send to parents to ask for more screen time.

Do we give the same attention to every child?

Studies say things, reality is very often more complex. I don’t think my youngest child will have the lowest IQ in the family, but I found it interesting to share with you these few results that invite us to question ourselves the way we interact with each child. Do we give everyone the same attention? Aren’t those who speak loudest, act loudest, ultimately the ones we care about most at the expense of others?

One of the co-authors of the German study proposed to the British newspaper The Telegraph another factor to explain the older child’s additional IQ points. “ Teaching others requires high cognitive demands: children must remember their knowledge, structure it and think of a good way to explain it to their younger siblings, which could increase the intelligence of some first-borns. » I like this idea of ​​transmission between siblings, but I think, contrary to the study, that the movement is not top-down and that everyone learns from the other.


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Source: Madmoizelle

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