STUDY: Moms' 'Parenting Attitude' Changes After Their First Baby

Moms who played a lot with their firstborn did not do so with second born.

August 10, 2018

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There are endless comics, GIFs, and punchlines comparing raising your first child to those that follow, but there may be more than just laughs to inspire the comparison. A recent study found that moms' "parenting attitude" changes after their first baby, meaning that subsequent children tend to be raised a bit differently than their older siblings. What's more, along with receiving different treatment from moms, the children in the study also behaved differently themselves.

Researchers involved with the study, which was published in the journal Social Development, looked at 55 mothers who each had two children. According to Science Daily, the team, led by Marc H. Bornstein, observed the moms interacting with their first child at 20 months of age, and then again interacting with their second child at the same age. Their findings suggested that mothers behaved differently with their two children as far as rank order — the example of this behavior given by Science Daily is that moms who played a lot with their firstborn did not do so with their second child.

Along with moms behaving differently, the behavior of the children also varied. Overall, firstborn children tended to be more sociable with and emotionally available to their mothers than their siblings, according to Social Development.Because of this change in behavior, the study suggested that while parents' beliefs remained consistent over time, their behavior towards their two children at the same age changes in response to differing child behaviors.

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