The U.S. National Institutes of Health has dedicated its considerable resources to investigating one of the more infuriating aspects of growing up with siblings: the nagging sensation that your sibling gets preferential treatment. The takeaway from a new study suggests that your siblings are justified. Mom does treat each of her multiple children differently — but it’s probably not because you were born first (or second).
“There was no observable preference for the first or second child,” Diane Putnick, a study co-author a developmental psychologist at the NIH tells Inverse. “Instead what we observed was that each relationship seemed unique.”
Putnick quantified these unique interactions by observing two hours of interactions between 55 mothers and their first-born children when the kids were 20 months old. With those tapes in the archives, she then returned years later, when the second siblings were born and reached 20 months of age. What emerged from this was a scientific version of your most embarrassing childhood home videos, played and replayed by a team of cognition experts.
So, while moms tried to apply the same parenting rationale to both their kids, it didn’t really work out in application. Mothers engaged in 15 percent more play with older children, and younger siblings received roughly four percent more praise and 9 percent more physical affection. Putnick, however, is careful to highlight that these differences are far from universal.
Story source: GetPocket.
Featured image credit: KRBE.