Firstborn Privilege: Five Ways Being The Oldest Child Sets You Up For Success

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Look away middle children and last borns, we have some bad news for you.

Science has found that your birth order can determine how successful you get when you grow up, revealing that firstborn children are likely to have more academic and intellectual success as adults.

A 2014 study on girls by Feifei Bu at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, discovered that being the oldest child and female means you are more likely to be ambitious and well-qualified than the rest of your siblings.

“There are several possible explanations for the higher attainment and ambition of the eldest,” said Bu, who is the oldest child herself. “It could be that the parents simply devote more time and energy to them — it could be they are actually more intelligent. For me, I tend to lean towards the theory that parental investment is possibly at work here.’’

Now that we have the science on our side, here are five ways being the first child can set you up for success;

High Achievers

Being the first comes with a lot of expectations. Your parents put all their dreams and ambitions on you and expect you to meet them. This pressure tends to place pressure on the older children to go out all to please their parents which gives them the drive to succeed later in life.

Problem Solvers

As the oldest child, your parents rely on you to know better than your siblings. This unconsciously trains you to solve problems and make decisions when your parents are not around to help out.

While this can be annoying when you are a child, this ability pays off later in life as you learn responsibility and problem-solving skills that might not otherwise be developed.

As an adult, you easily become someone people can always turn to you to make decisions and solve problems.

Born leaders

First-born children take the role of second parents which involves taking charge and bossing around their younger siblings. This gives the tools to command attention at work and other facets of life. This theory has been validated by research from the University of Texas-Austin and Sweden’s Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy. It found that firstborn children are 30 percent more likely to be CEOs and hold other leadership positions compared to third-borns.

Independence is your thing

Being the first means you learn quickly to take care of yourself when your parents are busy with your siblings. As an adult, this trait can be a lifesaver as your bosses do not have to micro-manage you since you have learned to do what needs to be done without much supervision. You also have no problem navigating the world by yourself.

The brains of the family

Scientists have found that firstborns tend to have a higher IQ than subsequent children. With only one child, first-time parents want to do everything right so they spend time teaching them the alphabet, reading to them, and helping them with their homework. Understandably, parents do not have the same time and energy to invest in subsequent children.

It’s not all good for firstborns! 

As with everything in life, being the first child also has some drawbacks. All that expectations and pressure from parents can lead to serious anxiety, insecurities, and people-pleasing tendencies that could negatively impact first children later in life.

Reportedly, first-borns are 3 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than second-borns and 7 percent more likely than fifth-borns.

Being forced to be a role model for your younger ones when you are a child yourself can lead to resentment and rivalry in the family.