Birth Order Blues
Being the oldest comes with responsibility and rewards
December 14, 2015
Filed under Columns
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I am the oldest of 5. The age gap between me and my siblings is huge, and I think that’s part of the reason why I feel so out of place sometimes. The downside of being the oldest is that your parents do not have any other experience: you are their first. The expectations that they have are also much higher and the treatment is different too. I didn’t really feel that until the passing of my baby brother, and I had to remain strong to be there for my siblings.
The responsibilities that come with being the oldest sibling are countless. You feel as if you are responsible and you have the duty to be a role model for your younger siblings. It is said that the first born acts like a “mini adult.” Ever since I was young I remember bossing my younger siblings around. I would yell at them when they didn’t obey me, and I would get yelled at in return by my mom. This bossy personality of mine can be explained by the idea of “birth order,” which is the effect of family position on personality.
It has been studied that “birth order” has an impact in a lot of things for individuals. Being the oldest causes them to feel more confidence and enjoy taking leadership of situations at home. The oldest feels like s/he has more authority than the rest of the kids at home. The oldest, however, has a much greater weight of responsibilities. Those type of responsibilities include helping around the house more, expected to be more mature, take care of younger siblings, and expected to figure things out on my own because sometimes parents don’t have the experience to help out..
Neither of my parents attended a university, so they couldn’t help me with the application process; however, I was able to figure it out thanks to the help of teachers and friends. Before figuring everything out, it all seemed like a nightmare. I felt lost and stressed. I knew I had accomplished a lot of great things in high school that will get me into good universities, but I didn’t know how to start. That’s when it all hit me that being the oldest can be very difficult when you can’t seek help from an experience older family member, but after I received guidance from others, I was glad because I knew that experiences like these would give me the knowledge I would later pass down to my younger siblings when they need it.
I look forward to keep guiding my siblings in whatever they will need in the near or far future. I think being the oldest is definitely challenging but it’s also an experience that allows you to become stronger. There are statistics that show that being the oldest child has a greater chance of being successful in big important fields like: politics, science, or math. They also could make a greater income, so yes being the oldest does have it’s perks.
Those students who are also the oldest and feel lost should remember that there are people whom you could go to for help. It’s not easy to figure things out on your own, but the rewarding feeling is amazing and the best thing is that you’ll be able to guide your younger siblings and make your parents proud, and that’s rewarding enough.