Siblings and Skills

Does the amount of siblings a person has affect the skills they carry into adulthood?

Sophia Geisler, Columnist

Siblings are aggravating, and that’s nothing new. Whether your older sister isn’t letting you hang out with her friends, or your little brother is coloring on your homework, having another kid in the house can be annoying. However, there are benefits to these little pet peeves.

Being an older sibling can help kids develop some important life skills. The oldest sibling is most likely to develop significant leadership skills, from having to babysit and manage their younger siblings. With this, parents tend to treat older kids with more freedom. For example, they might tell them more things, get more involved in their personal life or place the well-being of their younger siblings in their hands. This can cause older kids to develop more communication skills and also the ability to mature a lot faster. According to Science Direct, a study by the University of Illinois found that older siblings tend to have a higher IQ, and are also more extroverted and tend to be popular among peers. They are also more likely to run a business than any other sibling.

Middle kids are mainly labeled by the media as the kid who gets the least amount of attention, and whether this is true or not entirely depends on parenting skills. Psychology Today states that another study conducted by Katrin Schumann and a variety of researchers helped create the book “The Secret Powers of Middle Children.” In the book, it explains how middle children cope with the “in-betweenness.” It states that middle children tend to be more creative, emotionally intelligent, and empathetic. They tend to be more patient and are, as the book says, “savvy, skillful manipulators.” Middle kids also tend to pursue careers in sales and/or marketing.

Youngest kids are mostly plastered as the “spoiled” ones, and this is partially true. Parents tend to be way more flexible with them. A study by the University of Birmingham states that younger kids tend to be more risk-taking and reckless. They are also more relaxed and tend to have more confidence. Youngest siblings are 46% more likely than older siblings to say they are funny. Younger children also tend to be more outgoing and athletic, but can also be less mature and emotionally intelligent.

Though this data is useful for common psychological phenomena surrounding siblinghood, it’s important to keep in mind that a child’s behavior is solely dependent on their specific upbringing and environment. Not all of these trends are necessarily true for every individual.