Younger Siblings Are More Laid-Back, According To Study

Little Boy Sharing Ice Cream with Sister
Photo: CokaPoka/Getty Images

Whether you're the eldest, the middle child, or the baby of the family, birth order never stops being fascinating. That's why this poll from YouGov is so interesting. For the poll, 1,782 British adults were asked to rate different aspects of their personality based on where they fall in their family order. As we previously reported, the results revealed that youngest siblings are more likely to think they are funnier than their older brothers and sisters—with 46% believing they are the funniest ones in the family—the study showed something else, too. Younger siblings may be the most laid back out of all the siblings, too.

There's a good reason for that, too: by the time the youngest kid enters the picture, parents aren't nervous first-timers anymore and tend to have given up their strictest rules and anxious hovering. After all, if their older children survived childhood bike accidents, Play-Doh eating, and playground misadventures, their youngest probably will as well. That means last borns usually can get away with more than their siblings did, too. "Parents are more lenient," says Catherine Salmon, Ph.D., a coauthor of The Secret Power of Middle Children told CNN after looking out the survey results. "Youngest kids tend to be less rules-oriented, yet still get lots of attention."

Their parents' relaxed supervision tends to make youngest children turn into more laid-back adults, who are less concerned with rules, deadlines, or strict adherence to codes of conduct that others consider good manners, like when your younger brother shows up on your porch at dinner time, every night.

While older children may dream of growing up with less strict parents hovering over their every move, youngest children may wish they had a little more of their parents' boundaries. "Some babies resent not being taken seriously," Linda Campbell, a professor of counseling and human development at the University of Georgia, in Athens told CNN. "They might become very responsible, like the oldest, or social, like the middle."

The biggest take away from this study is that wherever you fall in your family, you'll most likely turn out fine—and find plenty of ways to tease your siblings either way.

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  1. YouGov. It’s true: birth order shapes personality.

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