Are Second-Born Children Braver?

My second-born, Olivia, is one tough two year old!

Olivia doesn’t seem to get scared or intimidated by much. She LOVES action.

I think she figures, “If my brother can do it, why can’t I?”

Which leads me to wonder, are many second-born children braver than their first-born siblings?

Does the fact that they are watching older siblings conquer tasks naturally lead them to try more themselves?

And does our perspective as parents change, allowing us to give our second-born children more opportunities to challenge themselves?

As a mom, one of the things I have learned most is that people are who they are from the womb. We can shape, mold, encourage, teach, etc., but the fundamental nature and personality of a child is in place long before we even meet them face to face!

So, having said that, I realize that naturally anxious or cautious children won’t be hanging from tree limbs at two whether they are first, second or tenth born!

But for the average child, I think that being second born probably makes those tree limbs seem a lot more accessible.

Tell us: Do you think second-born children are braver? Why or why not? What have you noticed with your own children?

Written by Janice Croze, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom.
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  1. says

    actually my second born id the more shy and very easily scared. My 3 is the brave one not scared of anything, he tries to do things i wouldn’t.

    • says

      Personality and nature is amazing isn’t it? Even siblings can be so different. I love watching my children’s personalities unfold as they grow up.

      I bet your third child keeps you busy! :)

  2. says

    My 2nd is definitely my more active child. He will climb anything and just on the go all the time. But I think he would have been that way no matter what order he was born in, that’s just his personality. I was a 2nd born and I have always been extremely shy and cautious, though a lot of that had to do with my upbringing.

  3. says

    Well this mother of six, parenting for 26 years now…can say…my second was and still is. He is the one who wants to stretch everything. So far almost all the second borns of mother’s I was friends with saw the same thing….not saying that they have to be, but it seems to happen a lot more. I can now watch children and guess their birth order….isn’t that funny. Kevin Leman’s book on Birth Order has turned out right more times than not.
    They are usually the center of all attention and love people.
    Enjoy!!!!!!!! Parenting is a blast.

  4. says

    hi. i would agree to say that 2nd born children are braver. my son is, my husband and i are 2nd born and we both are braver than the rest in the family.


    we take the risk to do all things the other siblings won’t.

    well, it may be coincident, but i would just agree based on experience.

  5. Tami says

    This is really interesting to think about. My 2nd born is most definitely braver, but I had chalked it up to gender, not birth order. (My 1st is a girl, 2nd a boy.) They’re only 16 months apart. The boy will climb ladders and go down slides that his older sister refuses to even attempt! Interesting to watch, and I’m curious to see how things go as they get older.

  6. says

    For my kids, this is definitely true. So much so that we have problems, because our second is fearless and doing everything way earlier than her brother did, and we’re not expecting her to be doing things like climbing the furniture yet… she keeps catching us offguard! When I think about it, it’s also true for myself and my brother and my husband and his brother- secondborn is by far the braver! Interesting theory!

  7. says

    Today I watched my Brooklin at the park. She had no fear going down the slide and wanted to go again and again. She’s 13 months old. She walked a lot sooner than her sister. It’s so true it’s just more in her reach, she learns from her sister, and more!

  8. says

    My second child is way too brave…scares me to death. He is only 19 months younger then his brother, but he must do EVERYTHING that the older one does. He is the bravest almost 3 year old that I know.

  9. says

    I totally agree. My next sibling is almost 4 years younger than me and is the daredevil of the family. He always insisted he could do everything that I could do.

    If we have another one I’m in for trouble, cause my son is already on the brave side… One trying to live up to his antics just might give me a heart attack!

  10. says

    My 2nd one is far more agreesive than his 5 1/2 year old brother,
    he is into everything. Is very vocal about his his opinions and will make himself heard.
    He’s also not interested in his baby toys but wants to play with superhero toys and hotwheels cars..
    a real handful, and oh he’s just 13 months.

  11. says

    Hmm, I’m not sure about second-born – my Hannah is so close in age to her older sister that I never really noticed. Plus there are so many other differences between the two of them with Abby’s ADHD and Asperger’s that it’s hard to tell. But my third-born is definitely braver – she’s tried (and done) things at a much earlier age than either of her sisters did, and absolutely keeps me on my toes every day! From a very early age, she seemed to think that she simply could already do whatever her big sisters could, whether it was try to ride a bike, climb a ladder, or whatever else. It’s been hard to have to convince her to wait until she’s a little older for many things!

  12. says

    As with everything, the answer has got to be a bit of both. If a second born is timid by nature, then they probably won’t be hungry for danger and action. But i do think being a second born will push more gentle natured children to be a bit more fiery, because they have to be. And, in the case of my second son, a boisterous, big lad will become a bit of a nutter ;<)


  13. Linda M says

    Both of my girls are super fearless and very brave but my youngest is crazy brave. She is not happy climbing up a few branches she needs to go to the top! She can just ride her bike quickly she needs to fly and she can’t just paddle in a pool she needs to touch the bottom. I think it is nature and example. Her big sister can so there is no reason she can’t too.! Good times!

  14. says

    My second born is definitely more brave at age 2 (almost 3) than her brother was! I also do think I am more relaxed as a parent. But my oldest was definitely born a much more cautious human being.

  15. says

    My second-born is definitely braver. He’s also faster to pick up certain skills that he sees his big sister using. Like, say, climbing or kicking a ball. It’s sort of fun, but also totally nerve-wracking. Sometimes I want to say, “Dude! Slow down! You’re not even 2 yet!”

  16. says

    I totally agree! My 2nd child was climbing up on top of the kitchen table by the time he was a year and a half. My 1st never even thought to do such things! Even as they are getting older, my 2nd will just step out and do something whereas my 1st is more cautious and thinks about the outcome of his actions.

  17. says

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  18. says

    I agree with you completley. My son was born the way he is. He was like the alien inside trying to get out and he hasn’t stopped moving or being adventerous since. I can hardly keep up with him, but he also has this, I see my sister doing it so can I. It’s going to be hard when she goes to pre-school next year and he doesn’t understand why he isn’t going too.

  19. says

    My second born was fearless in all things however my 7-year old grandson who is the second born is very cautious. He’s learning to ride a two wheel bike but only because his parents are making him. I was upset at first believing he would ride at his own pace however he is enjoying himself. His little sister who is four has been riding her two wheel bike since she was three. Sometimes I wonder if he’s cautious because he doesn’t want to compete with her. hehe

  20. says

    I wonder if it maybe depends on how relaxed you are? My second hasn’t been born yet, but my first is FEARLESS! I was talking to another mom at the park this year and she climbed the rock wall (over 6 ft tall) on the big kids play structure and went down the enclosed twirly slide all by herself. She’s 2-1/2.

  21. says

    My second boy is definitely the adventurer of the two. More willing to go on roller coasters, a cli9mber on everything and daredevil Big time.

  22. Liz says

    Their personalities are certainly interesting, aren’t they? I can look at my sisters and me and the differences are AMAZING!! My first born was born sensitive. I mean sensitive to everything, like noise, light, darkness, hot and cold, emotionally sensitive, sensitive to trying anything new. Our second is sooo easy going, very care free, downright silly. I wouldn’t say she is necessarily more brave, she is following in her older sister’s VERY carefully placed footsteps. Our third seems to be fearless, and incredibly independent, strong-willed…aka very difficult!! We love watching all of them with all their similarities and differences.

  23. says

    My second born is only 8 weeks old so I can’t really say how adventurous she is yet, but I certainly hope it isn’t more so then her older sister. My oldest is fearless and just jumps right into anything that catches her interest. At 2 1/2 she’s already climbing trees and the side of her the jungle gym.

  24. says

    Both of our girls are pretty adventurous and active, but…I think out firstborn is more bold than her little sister. She’ll try almost anything and she is always asking us if we can do something “we’ve never done before.” :)

  25. says

    My second is 21-months and she is not even as close to being as brave as my son. I think second children might be braver than first borns…unless the first born is a boy and the second is a girl. I do think girls in general are less crazy than boys.

  26. says

    i totally agree. my second daughter is totally caution to the wind…a rolly polly always tipping over, flying down slides, and jumping off high things type of kid. sometimes it freaks me out a little.

  27. says

    I have noticed the very same things with my daughter. She rises to the occasions of whatever my brother wants to do, play, learn.

    I’ve been teaching him skills to begin kindergarten and she learned the very same things and at 3years old she is reading books!!! I just started teaching D about all the school stuff at age 3.

    I think it is true, they see and feel and know they can do it too.

    My younger child is learning things at a much younger age than my firstborn. Yes they are braver and I think it’s instinctive to want to be like the older siblings and in the case of when they are fully aware of themselves, be in the same glory as the older sibling.


  28. Elaine says

    My first born is shy, quiet, conservative… but my second daughter… Whoa! She’s a spitfire! I remember going camping and I told her she was far enough in the lake. She laughed and kept going out further. She must of been three or four at the time.

  29. says

    Whoa! This post rings so true. My second born is such a thrill seeker, it makes me scared for when she is a teenager. We went to an amuzement park, and she wanted to go straight for the big scary rides. My oldest is completely opposite and very over cautious, she wanted to stick to the baby rides (she’s 9). I don’t know how much is birth order, but interesting that others may have noticed the same thing.

  30. says

    Oh, I completely agree that it is completely an inborn personality thing! My 2nd child is only one but boy, is her bossiness and bravado shining clear already! Her elder sister (5 years old) is gentle and cautious, not quiet, but she’ll always watch first before she did anything. She’s quite a dare devil already in loving roller coaster rides and walking alone from the school gate to her classroom which is quite a distance etc. but my 2nd one has so much more spunk. She is brave enough to test our limits continuously and even scold us in her babble and GETS HER WAY, one way or other! She has no example from us to follow from so yes, definitely inborn.

    • says

      My second is such a mommies Boy its rediculous. My first is the one that is more active and not hanging on my leg…. Gotta love them both. They are my mommies babys!

  31. Lauren says

    I was the 2nd born and scared of everything. I think that was my brothers fault for being a wimp coupled with my general temperament of being a sissy!


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