9 Surprising Scientific Facts About Youngest Children

numbersAsk most firstborns how Mom and Dad treat the baby of the family, and you're sure to hear a ration of complaints. They're spoiled! Adored! Pampered. But is it true? Do you really treat your lastborn child differently?

Is the youngest child in the family any different from their siblings? And is it because of birth order, or would they have been the same kid if they were born first? Turns out science has a lot to say on what makes your lastborn child tick:

1. They're more prone to obesity. When researchers in Copenhagen looked at the weights of children based on birth order, they found the last born child was most likely to be obese in a family.  They shared the trait with only children.

2. They're more creative. At least when it comes to careers! A study by CareerBuilder found the youngest children in a family tended to pick careers such as art/design/architecture, editing/writing, information technology, or sales.

3. They have it easier. When economists from Duke University and Washington University looked at parental rules and birth order, they found rules, parental monitoring and consequences for wrongdoing lessen as parents go from oldest down to youngest.

4. They're dumber. Well, relatively speaking! When scientists at the University of Oslo looked at the IQ scores of men, they found firstborns were likely to have higher IQs than secondborns. What's more, secondborns were likely to have higher IQs than thirdborns!

More From The Stir: 11 Surprising Scientific Facts About Firstborn Children

 5. They're rebels. Ever looked at your youngest child and though, "If they'd been the first, they would have been the last?" Psychologist Frank Sulloway, author of Born to Rebel, has found a reason for that! His studies have shown firstborns are more likely to follow parents' rules, while their younger siblings are born to, well, ... rebel against them!

6. They're at higher risk of disease. A little general? The more scientists are looking at how a father's advanced age at conception can affect the baby, the more they're finding! Technically the risks of having an older dad affect any child born to one -- but because he's technically oldest with his last child, the risks are higher for the lastborn. Among those diseases most prevalent in youngest children? Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.

7. They're at a lower risk of diabetes. Despite what we just shared in #7, it's not all bad! Researchers at Oxford delivered bad news for firstborns who are at the highest risk for diabetes, but they found that risk decreases as birth order increases (in other words, it's less for baby number two, even less for baby number three, etc.).

8. They speak just as well as their siblings. Ever been warned that your lastborn will speak later because the older kids will speak for him or her? Not true! Scientists have actually found that younger children have to work harder to be included in their older siblings' conversations -- and they are "more advanced in their conversational skills."

9. They're just as callous as the rest of us. If you think your youngest child is more empathetic then their older siblings because they're always being bossed around, that might just be your perception. Because Israeli scientists say it's not true -- in fact, birth order was found to have no affect on how a child does or doesn't develop empathy.

Which of these ring true for the youngest children in your life?


Image via Lenore Edman/Flickr

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the4m... the4mutts

100% wrong for our youngest. We are strictest on him, because he has a tendency to not think his actions through. He did talk as early as his older siblings, but not as well. They do talk for him. A LOT. A habit we've been trying to break. He is finally using very well formed sentences, and thinking his answers through before he says them.

He is not creative. At all. Because he just does what the older kids want. He hasn't had much chance to use his imagination (which is about to change as we enroll him in pre-k for the summer, then his sisters go back to public school while my 2 boys stay homeschooled)

All of my kids are lean, and fit. He happens to have the highest muscle tone of all 4. No obesity there.

Yeah, I don't see this applying to our last child at all.

Rhodin Rhodin

My oldest is autistic and nonverbal. Her little sister talks for her.

Rando... Randomlady

#8 and they have "more advanced in their conversational skills.".. they ARE more advanced in their conversational skills. The irony hit hard.

Anywho, I can't say much of this is true. My parents were just as strict with me as with my brother, though since I am a girl they had a different set of rules just for me. Can't agree with the IQ scores either, not just in my family but with my friends as well, the younger ones were just as smart or smarter than at least one of their siblings. 

TinyT... TinyTootiePie

You wanna freaking proofread before you post an article?!?! God, do they let just anyone write and post an article these days? Maybe it doesn't matter when it's a crappy website?

somuc... somuchlove4U

I never agree with articles like this. Birth order can not determine overweight people. The decisions that those people make do. 

Rache... RachelKoch

Most of these are true for my youngest sister, She is a bigger girl, she does have it easier, she doesn't pay for anything she is 26 years old and my parents still pay her cell bill, insurance, tax and for the plates on her car, they also pay for the gas and are constantly giving her money, she has two jobs and lives with our parents she has also brought home 6 dogs with out asking my parents one of the dogs had 10 puppies( all got good homes) I brought home one cat and was grounded for 2 weeks ( I still got the kitty today) she is creative she is a dog groomer who loves to use hair chalk to put all kinds of colorful designs on two of her dogs. 

disne... disneymom2two

I was the youngest in my family.  I spoke late (over 2) but so did my brother who was the oldest.  I definitely didn't get it easier either as a kid; my siblings are much older than me so by the time I was old enough to get into mischief, I was all my mom had to focus her attention on - every misdeed was caught.  

Claire Shepherd

Don't know if this would've been different if she had been born first, but my littlest is the toughest, bossiest, loudest one of the lot of them. And she's not even two yet 😊

skrawli skrawli

Tiny Tootiepie- You are welcome to unsubscribe from the website.  Just wanted to put that out there.

 Mostly I think this is researchers telling parents things that they are guessing about and it sounds good.  I wonder how many of them even have children.  

J'zanne Read

Don't forget, that if if there is a gap of nine or more years between a youngest and the last prior, they tend to be treated more like an only child, ie "adult-peered". Also too, most 21 year olds are not going to raise their kids the same way as most 36 year olds.

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