First Born/Only Children & Intelligence

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  1. Jessie L Watson profile image60
    Jessie L Watsonposted 6 years ago

    We already know that children can suffer from a full range of learning and mental disabilities if they have not received physical or emotional contact before the age of 5.

    Since 2017, there is more mounting evidence to support that birth order has some effect on the expression of intelligence in children. The simplest explanation is that when a child receives the maximal level of attention and care from both parents, this strengthens and nurtures overall brain development. Moreover, the order in which children are born into a family with multiple siblings effects when and how often a particular child receives attention.

    The amount of time parents can spend on a single child are thinly distributed among the other children. For example, parents will more often vacillate between the oldest and youngest child of three, leaving the middle child in a position to fight for a respectable position in the family. The rank order also seems to affect what type of lifestyles, careers and political attitudes people are going to have.

    What have you experienced in your position among your siblings and how you differ from them? … /97846312/ … agreeable/

    1. gmwilliams profile image86
      gmwilliamsposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Oldest children had the lion's share of parental attention before they were displaced by a succedent sibling or succedent siblings.  As succedent siblings come, oldest children lose some of their familial importance in the parental hierarchy as younger siblings are given more attention to.  Oldest children are often pressed into teaching/parenting roles for younger siblings. Oldest children as a result of being displaced, have to prove to their parents that they are somehow worthy- so they outachieve/outsucceed their siblings in order to gain/curry parental favor.

      Only children are the LUCKY ones.  They are NEVER displaced by succedent siblings.  They have the lion's share of parental resources, attention, & time.  Because it is only one child, all the parental expectations are on that child.  Also, only children grow up in adult environments which makes them more mature than children w/siblings.  As only children grow up in adult environments, they have more advanced vocabularies & are intellectually prodigious.  In school, only children are high academic achievers.

      1. DzyMsLizzy profile image84
        DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Well, I've read some of this before, specifically in a book about birth orders.  (I think it was called The Birth Order Book.)

        There is a caveat,based on my personal experience that is not addressed by these studies.

        As an only child, yes, I had all the attention of both my parents.  Plus, due to the May/December relationship of my parents, I was raised in a very adult atmosphere. 
        This actually put me at a great disadvantage with my peers; I related better to adults.  I was snubbed and pranked by my peer group, because I had a more advanced vocabulary and behavior than my age in years alone would predict.

        Also, unfortunately, I was very over-protected, and was given strong roots and no 'wings.'  I was basically raised to be afraid of my own shadow. So, I was not an over-achiever; I was not given to being active in school clubs; I was the wallflower.
        I didn't participate in high school activities, such as dances; I didn't go 'boy crazy,' because I thought the boys were immature dolts, and I just wasn't interested.  So I "missed out," if you want to look at it that way, on milestones like going to Proms, etc., because I didn't want to; I just wasn't interested. 

        It was only when I got into my late 30s that I began to come into my own; learned to speak out at places like school board meetings, and take my children on camping adventures such as I'd enjoyed as a child.
        The catalyst for the latter was actually an ex-sister-in-law, who fresh out of college, went hiking/backpacking alone along a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Wow!  (She was the 2nd youngest of a family of 6.)  My brain then said, "Well, if she can do that, then I can certainly travel with my kids, and take them camping all by myself."  (My ex-husband was a stick-in-the-mud hermit type, and didn't care to go anywhere or do anything.)

        So, according to these studies, I should be highly successful from a business/political standpoint, and I'm not.  Never wanted to be; never had a career in mind.  I was among the last of a dying breed: the stay-at-home-mom, and that was my choice; I was happy there.

        I hated school, and refused to go to college after high school.  I went to a 2-year college in mid-life when my own kids were in high school, only to prove something to myself.  In high school, my attitude was, "If a "C" is passing, why bust my tail?"  When I finally went to college, I determined to graduate with honors, and I did.
        HOWever, by that time, entry requirements had changed drastically, so I was unable to continue to a 4-year college, due to a severe learning disability in math:  I couldn't pass the math entry requirement.  (And the reason for that is a whole other long story.)

        In short, then, I guess my point in all this is to say, "Take these studies with a grain of salt; they don't apply across the board."  You must account for individual personality differences.

        Oh, and one other thing I recall reading, and in this case, it held quite true.  My ex's youngest sister, the "baby" of the family, was actually a change-of-life "Ooops," and as such, fell more into the role of an only child, as the others had pretty much already left the home nest.  She and her nearest elder sibiling, whom I mentioned above, were/are very accomplished musicians; they play viola.  (The youngest was actually in the Fresno Symphony Orchestra!)

  2. gmwilliams profile image86
    gmwilliamsposted 5 years ago

    Only children are highly intelligent & intellectual because they were exposed primarily to adults in their formative years.  As a result of being in an adult environment, they have an advanced vocabulary early in life. Only children have access to parents that children w/siblings DON'T have (sadly).  With this constant & consistent exposure to parents, only children pick up adult mannerisms easily.

    Oldest children are dethroned.  They seldom have contact w/ parents as parental resources are devoted to younger siblings.   Oldest children besides being dethroned, are discarded & cast aside in favor of younger siblings.  Oldest children are exposed to children more than they are exposed to adults in the familial setting.  As a result, they have childish mannerisms & vocabularies.  In fact, there was a study done by psychologist which indicated that children who grow up w/siblings are more immature intellectually than children who don't have siblings.   Children w/siblings aren't exposed to much adult interaction, they only interact among themselves which makes them even more elementary & rudimentary in their behavior.

  3. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 5 years ago

    These average measurable effects are interesting but mean very little when it comes to making real world decisions.  The country is not full of non-only-child morons.  Maybe I lost half a percent of IQ  relative to my older sibling but my PhD is the same size and shape as hers.  Compared to the effects of access to health care, poverty, quality education, etc--birth order is completely insignificant as a factor.  If I was making a list of things to do to help the nation's children, it would not be on the list.

    1. gmwilliams profile image86
      gmwilliamsposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      In small families such as yours, there really isn't much difference in IQ.  In small families of two children, both children receive individualized parental attention for the most part.  Oldest children in small families of 2 children aren't cast aside & discarded in favor of the youngest sibling.  Both receive equal parental treatment.  Also both are exposed to cultural & intellectual activities.  The same goes in families of 3-4 children.  In such families, parents have the resources to give individualized attention to children.  Oldest children in medium sized families, on average, aren't cast aside in favor of younger siblings.  In small & medium families, oldest, middle, & youngest children are ON EQUAL parity in terms of parental resources.

      However, in medium large(5 children), large/very large(6-more children) families, there is a sharp disparity of parental treatment & resources.  Oldest children in such families are discarded, cast aside, &/or worse.  They aren't acknowledged by other family members unless they are called into servitude for parents & younger siblings.  In medium large to very large families, oldest children are oftentimes slaves to parents & younger siblings.  They are expected to be adults FAST.  They have no childhoods nor adolescence to speak of.  They must be adults early on in life.

      Of course, middle children in larger families are totally ignored & get lost in the shuffle.  They oftentimes fall through the familial cracks so to speak.  It is swim or sink for middle children in larger families.  They are all but ignored or worse-personae non grata.

      Youngest children have it made in the shade in larger families.  They are pampered, babied, & given the opportunities that older siblings didn't have.  In larger families, youngest children are usually the most affluent & the most educated as adults.  Youngest children in larger families don't have to struggle the way older children in larger families DO.  Youngest children in larger families are THE MOST SUCCESSFUL while oldest children in small families of 2 children are THE MOST SUCCESSFUL.  In larger families, oldest children are THE POOREST & LEAST SUCCESSFUL.


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