By Ignacio Mardones
May 9, 2024

Older brothers, let me tell you something: I wouldn’t celebrate this that much because if your younger siblings are the hardest, it’s because of you.

Maybe today this isn’t very common, but back in the 60s or the 70s large families were very common. We used to have 5 uncles and aunts, and in some cases, even more. But today, we are only children or only have one  brother.

Perhaps today’s economy has changed, or we choose to have an only child and a pet, or there can be a thousands other reasons. But for those families who have decided to have more than one child, or most importantly, for those ones who want to give their only child a little brother or sister, we have some news for you: second-born kids are troublemakers and the most problematic ones. So you better take this into consideration before taking the next step.


According to Joseph Doyle, an MIT economist, second-born children are more likely to become troublemakers, as firstborns have better role models.

“The firstborn has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds, you know, their older siblings. Both the parental investments are different, and the sibling influences probably contribute to these differences we see in labor market and what we find in delinquency. It’s just very difficult to separate those two things because they happen at the same time.”

Joseph Doyle in his investigation


In other words, the reason why the little ones tend to be troublemakers is because they don’t have their parents as role models, but their older brothers (and if the age difference isn’t much) they will probably make some mistakes they will want to copy. But what they point out is that this is more common in men, as women (often) mature faster than men and have more personality.