Leading article: Born to succeed

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The Independent Online

Really, we knew it all along, didn't we? Now Norwegian researchers have confirmed it. The eldest child of the family is the brightest. And don't they let the rest of us know it. Whether it's the exclusive parental attention they enjoy until that little brother or sister comes along, the failed parental ambitions that are projected on to them, or the years of teaching practice they get trying to civilise their younger siblings, they leave the bosom of the family equipped to be number one.

But all is not lost, for all you second, third and subsequent offspring. You may not have that edge in the IQ tests, but you have surely developed compensating skills. We await the study that shows younger siblings to be harder working, craftier and more likely to charm their way to what they want. We await, too, the study that tells us the last-born is funnier, more feckless and mummy's favourite. That's something else we have always known, haven't we?

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