"A new study reveals…” These words never fail to grab my attention to discover what learned minds are talking about.

I am both the first-born and a woman so according to the University of Essex, am “…more likely to succeed.”  My alumni includes Angela Merkel, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton and Beyonce.

We are more likely to be more ambitious and successful than our younger siblings who just happen to be Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Nelson Mandela, JFK, and Michael Jackson (technically the latter two were somewhere in the middle). Yes all men and yet, all successful, but so were/are Jane Austen, Barbara Walters, Jenifer Lopez and Madonna.

What is it about birth order scientists find fascinating enough to study and make bold statements about?

I guess the statistics demonstrate specific characteristics to warrant stereotypes like “…middle children tend to have high degrees of patience, perhaps because they spend so much of their time in childhood waiting their turn”, or “the youngest is often indulged, even spoilt,” says educational consultant, Katrin Schumann.

Is it money in the bank, number of friends on Facebook, or scoring an invite to Kensington Palace that’s the measure of success? Does a teacher’s salary score more points on the achievement scale than being the mum of four delightful children? My two younger sisters, the teacher and the mum (both somewhere in the middle birth order) could both argue their case and have you believe each is ambitious and successful.

What these studies do show is that parental attention makes children feel safer and loved. Spending time with your offspring may not be a guarantee for their success in life but it will hopefully bring joy and smiles and wonderful memories for all…and maybe save you money on therapists if you are so inclined.

I think tomorrow I will start my own study on how scientists come up with studies they feel worthy of their superior education and our valuable time to read them.