Eldest children are punished more, says study

UK Telegraph 16 April 2008

First-born children bear the brunt of family discipline as their parents strive to exert their authority, according to new research. Mothers and fathers mete out harsher punishments on their eldest children to keep them in line. First borns are also more likely to suffer financial penalties – such as having pocket money stopped – academics claim. However when younger children come along they are increasingly allowed to “get away with murder” in the home because parents grow tired of so-called tough love.

The report, published today, says second, third or fourth born children run a greater chance of going off the rails when they grow up. According to academics, they are more likely to drop out of school, drink, take drugs or become teenage parents. The findings – in a study published in the Economic Journal – will raise fresh questions about the way some parents raise their children.