Is big brother making your child aggressive?

Wondering why your pre-schooler is beating both you and his playmates up? Look no further than his big brother, say researchers who reckon that having an older brother makes younger siblings more aggressive.

Does having an older brother make the younger ones more violent? It seems so, at least according to some new research.

The study, by the University of California, indicates that while a particularly aggressive older sister may potentially wreak the same havoc on her younger siblings, having an older brother is a big factor in predicting a child’s level of aggression in adolescence.

In general, the research showed that having a younger sister made older kids less aggressive, while children with younger brothers demonstrated fairly stable levels of aggression over time. Mum and Dad are in the mix too: parental hostility was also important when it came to kids displaying aggressive tendencies. Money worries also played a part in straining parent-child relationships, because it tended to increase parental hostility.

That’s not all big brother might be doing to his little brothers and sisters either – previous research has indicated that boys may have a five-point IQ advantage over girls by adolescence. Having an older brother can also affect how tall younger siblings grow: statistics show that by ten-years-old, children with several older brothers are shorter than average. Experts have theorised that the boy effect may be caused by boys being more demanding on parental resources.

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