Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Science confirms what we always suspected about our little brothers

little brother.jpg

Older siblings certainly have had good reason to feel smug of late: not only has science deemed us smarter, nicer, and more outgoing than our little brothers and sisters, but now experts have put their heads together to confirm yet another of our long-held suspicions.

And it’s guaranteed to put a great big smile on the face of anyone with a perpetually naughty little brother.


Read more: How being a younger sibling could affect your career prospects


Throughout our childhood and teenage years, we moaned about our little brother’s bad behaviour to our mums/dads/any nearby grown-ups.

“He cut off all of Barbie’s hair,” we’d tell them, pointing to the little creep as he sniggered in the corner. “He flicked a bogey at me! He farted on my pillow! He read my DIARY!”

And, for years, those beleaguered adults gave us the same lacklustre answers: “He’s your little brother. He loves you. He didn’t mean it. It was an accident. Can’t you see I’m on the phone/cooking dinner/in the middle of something important?”

Hmm.

Well, as it turns out, the adults were right: the little pest probably didn’t mean it. In fact, he probably couldn’t help himself from being bad – because scientists have now proven that many little brothers are genuinely born naughty.

That is to say, they’re born naughtier than anyone else in their family.

Maggie Gyllenhaal with her little brother, Jake

Maggie Gyllenhaal with her little brother, Jake

A team of researchers examined some particularly rich datasets from Denmark and the state of Florida to find out more about “the role of birth order on delinquency outcomes such as disciplinary problems in school, juvenile delinquency, and adult crime”.

The results were… well, they were slightly damning, we suppose.

Writing about their findings (in their aptly titled report, Birth Order and Delinquency), the scientists explained: “In families with two or more children, second-born boys are on the order of 20 to 40% more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings.”


Read more: It’s official – your parents really do have a favourite child


It’s not all bad news for our little bros, though: they, just like our little sisters, are (apparently) way funnier and more laidback than we are.

Researchers explained: “The most significant difference is in feeling the burden of responsibility – most (54%) firstborns say they are more responsible than their siblings, compared to 31% of last-borns.

“Younger siblings, on the other hand, are more likely to say they are more funny (46% compared to 36% of elder siblings), more easy going and more relaxed.”

They added that this is down to the undeniable “family forces at work”, stressing the fact that “parental attention soon shifts onto new arrivals, and firstborns may have to learn the ropes themselves”.

Researchers concluded that, as a result of being asked to ‘keep an eye’ on their baby bro or sis (not to mention a teeny bit sidelined by the new arrival), “elder siblings are more likely to feel more organised and able to prioritise their own lives. Likewise, younger siblings are more likely to feel more favoured by their parents.”

Or, to put it in layman’s terms, everyone loves to spoil the baby of the family.

Hmm. Well, we may not be as funny as they are – but at least now we can bandy around the term delinquency at family dinners, eh?

Images: Disney/YouTube / Rex Features

Related

elephant.PNG

Original and imaginative: the perks of people who like being alone

rexfeatures_5073872ce.jpg

Oldest children are 'cleverer than their siblings'

siblings.JPG

How being a younger sibling could affect your future career prospects

More

The best possible gifts for when flowers aren’t going to cut it

17 unusual and thoughtful gifts for when the s**t hits the fan

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This Battle of the Sexes legend wants you to STOP asking about McEnroe

“I would like to see John McEnroe win a Grand Slam tournament while pregnant”

by Susan Devaney
22 Sep 2017

“The real reason we should all be upset about Uber”

Grow up: your bank balance really isn’t what’s at stake here

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Sep 2017

There's a huge sherbet fountain coming to London - and it's free

Bompas & Parr are planning a weird, wonderful and nostalgia-filled event

by Helen Brown
22 Sep 2017

Rick and Morty creator responds to sexist trolling of female writers

The show hired four women. Cue cries of “Worst. Episodes. Evah.”

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Uber being banned in London

The taxi firm has had its license revoked by TfL

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

The new Baileys flavour you’ll want to drink well beyond Halloween

Perfect autumn cocktails ahead

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This unexpected town has been voted the best place to work in the UK

We didn’t see this one coming

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

Harry Potter fans, this epic Hogwarts goblet is actually magical

It's perfect for Butterbeer (or prosecco)

by Megan Murray
22 Sep 2017

The hidden meanings behind the nation’s most popular baby names

Prepare for lots of girls’ names ending in ‘a’

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017