This post originally appeared on November 8, 2017
I came across a study recently that caught my attention. Not one to be overly concerned about birth order, I normally wouldn’t even bother to read the article that cited the study. But here was the headline:
SECOND BORN KIDS MORE LIKELY TO BECOME CRIMINALS, STUDY FINDS.
So, for obvious reasons, I felt this story about birth order warranted a gander from this second born kid.
It wasn’t even like the story was out of National Enquirer. It came from National Public Radio, and the study was conducted by some economists from MIT (all undoubtedly either bossy first-borns or youngest kids looking for attention). The study looked at second borns in Florida and Denmark. Florida and Denmark? I wonder why they didn’t look at second borns in South Dakota and Romania, or maybe Kentucky and the Netherlands. Why did they pick Florida and Denmark? But I am getting distracted.
Apparently these second-born Floridians and Danes are somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 40 percent more likely to commit serious crimes or cause other kinds of unlawful mayhem. While first-borns have higher IQs, perform better in school, and earn higher salaries, second borns are earning crappy grades and barely making a living.
The reason for this apparent contrast according to these first-born economists? Parents are focusing all of their attention on their first-born child and sending the second born kid out to search for scraps. Just be home before dark so that you don’t disturb your brother or sister. Well, I might be exaggerating their findings a bit. But the gist of what I just said is true. They say the parents are less vigilant with their second-born child because they want to make sure their first born prince or princess is excelling in school, taking music lessons from a maestro, and being tutored by an MIT economist. Again, I might be exaggerating a bit.
But this part is true: The study author said that “the role models of the eldest child are his or her doting parents while the role model for the second-born is a spoiled older sibling.”
While I can’t vouch for every second born in the world, I can tell you unequivocally that I AM NOT A CRIMINAL. Despite my blog post on Monday about how I am a pretty good liar, I am unceasingly honest unless there is a surprise party involved or someone asks me if these pants make them look fat. When I applied for a job at Circle K in Denver when I was 20 years old, I had to take a lie detector test. (Now that I think about it, I wonder if that test was only given to second borns….). Anyway, I passed with flying colors. They even directly asked “Have you ever stolen anything while at work?”. I could quite honestly answer no to that question. It’s true that up until that point, I had worked only for my dad at the bakery and he would have kicked my butt if I had stolen money (how are we going to pay for your older sister’s ballet lessons from Anna Pavlova if you steal money from us?)
And I certainly have never killed anyone. The closest I have ever come was when I chased my sister Jen around the house with a butcher knife when I was 10 and she was 6. Perhaps I’m lucky that she ran so fast or I might be supporting the MIT first-borns’ clinical study results. But since the study didn’t say anything about third-borns, I can only assume that they are more likely to be killed by their second born sibling, and perhaps deserve it.
The headline for the next clinical study conducted by MIT will be:
THIRD BORN KIDS MORE LIKELY TO TORTURE THEIR FOURTH-BORN BROTHER OR SISTER, BECAUSE BY THIS TIME PARENTS HAVE COMPLETELY CLOCKED OUT.
And, for the record, here are faces of some of my favorite second-borns, none of whom are criminals…..
I could go on and on…but I won’t. I have to run to the store and steal some Italian sausage.