5 Reasons Why Being The Eldest Is Difficult

I’ve heard a lot about how life is generally kinda difficult for the middle child. She (I’m basically talking about girls, but I guess this is applicable to boys too) has to outdo or atleast match the achievements of the eldest child and, at the same time, set an example for the youngest. And then, there are (jealousy) issues about lack of attention, importance and…most significantly – lack of love (according to the middle child: apparently, parents exhaust all of this on their first child and don’t have enough for the other kids). And as if this weren’t enough, she also has to deal with the normal teenage & adolescent problems that are part of growing up!

OK, now, don’t assume I’m a middle child. I’m not. But I can very well imagine what they have to live through. Anyway, what I intend to emphasize here is: it’s super-hard being the eldest child as well! Β I’m the eldest of three girls. And as much as I enjoy it, there are so many instances when I wish I didn’t have to go through some stuff just because I’m the eldest. Trust me, it is definitely hard being the eldest. I love my sisters. Hell, yes! They mean the world to me. I suppose having them is what makes this a little easier for me.

So, why do I say being the first-born has its problems? We’re getting to that.

1) Since I’m the eldest, parents/relatives/elders expect a lot from me – responsibility and maturity while taking decisions, living life, doing anything; doing things right (so that my sisters can learn from me, yeah right!!), so on. To be frank, I think it’s too much burden on me and, sometimes, it’s hard to live upto their expectations.

2) I’m supposed to know everything. I’m supposed to lead my sisters on the right path and I’d have to know everything if I’m supposed to guide them properly. Nobody seems to care about what I know; all they can do is point out what I don’t know!

3) I know that every decision I take will have a direct impact on my family. And I can’t let it be a negative impact. That’s enough reason to worry about what I’m doing, whether it’s the right thing or not, blah blah. Frankly speaking, I HATE IT! As if I don’t have enough to worry about already! I can’t take a single decision without thinking more than twice about it. Yes, I don’t want to hurt my parents. But I wish they wouldn’t expect so much from me, that they would just let me explore life and live it, even if it means falling down or failing once in a while. With all these expectations, there’s too much on my mind. And there are times when I wish I could just do something to take it all off my head! I’m going through a similar phase right now. And it sucks!

4) This particular point is what triggered me to write this post right now – my siblings think I’m the only one important to dad and mom. OK, I understand why they feel this way. I’m the first child and I happened to be bright at school; so, my parents always had a kind of pride in me and some special affection. And now that I’ve been (mostly) away for the past 3 years, they tend to show a little extra love. So, you see, I know why my sisters feel the way they do. But they don’t try to see that dad and mom love them, too… All they see is the extra affection I get. I’ve tried to make them understand but in vain. I don’t blame them. Just hope that, someday, they will see what I was trying to tell them.

5) Sometimes, dad tells me certain decisions and asks for my suggestions or just wants to know what I think. Because, I guess, he thinks I’m old enough to be included in the serious decisions of the family. But I go blank when he does that. Half of the time, I don’t know why exactly he is doing what he’s doing and I don’t know what to tell him as suggestion/thought. I go blank, totally! When that is the last thing expected of me. Ah, expectations again!! Sigh!

So, you see…it isn’t all that easy being the eldest child. There should be an Elder Child Syndrome too. Or maybe there is (already googling). I admit it has its ups…but the downs are inevitably hard! Anyway, I bet the little brat (aka my little sis) will soon be coming up with 5 reasons why it’s hard being the youngest! πŸ˜› Inspite of all this, if I’m given a choice to decide who I want to be in my next lifetime (assuming I’ll have one), I’d still want to be born as the person I’m right now (eldest and everything included), without a second thought!

28 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why Being The Eldest Is Difficult

  1. I can relate, and think there should be an Eldest Child Syndrome. Being the eldest in my family and the only girl, Mom had a lot of expectations of me. I was the mom when she was at work. I had to make, or at least start, dinner when she was working. I had to babysit my two younger brothers who would always gang up on me and make me so angry I could spit nails! Now that we’re all grown up, things are a lot better. We’re all friends. I guess what I’m trying to say is, it will get better. πŸ™‚

    • πŸ™‚ Wow! That sounds a lot like me. I had to take care of my younger sisters while my mom was away. I can’t say I did it well but I did what I could. πŸ™‚ And yes, I always hold onto the hope of things getting better! πŸ™‚

    • Yes! I have the exact same trouble. I’m 16 and I have three younger brothers. Whenever tea needs to be cooked, or clothes need to be hung out, I’m always the one Mum or Dad asks, not the boys! And I have to look after them and then they fight or lock themselves in their rooms and exclude me! At least it gets better πŸ™‚

  2. Great and interesting post. I think its easy to forget how difficult the oldest child has it. Being the youngest of the two kids in my family, I can’t really relate, but I must say that a lot of your points make sense from my view – maybe except point 4. In my family anyway, my parents feel that the oldest can handle themselves and I end up with the most attention. Guess it can vary dependant of the parents’ mindset.

    • Yeah, I’ve noticed how people don’t tend to see that being the eldest can be difficult too. That’s exactly why I wrote this. πŸ™‚ And yes, it can definitely change depending on the parents’ perceptions and mindsets.

  3. I agree with SilverFox. This is a very interesting topic and yours is the first post about this subject. I’m the youngest of only two and I don’t think my sister dealt with these issues. I think everyone might have their own syndrome.

    • I bet they do! It never occurred to me that this could be the first post on this subject! πŸ™‚ That’s awesome!! πŸ˜€

  4. As the oldest, I totally relate to your post. Sometimes, it is a pain being the responsible one, the one that is supposed to know what to do. I love that you would pick being the oldest again.

  5. Well, being the youngest of 3 and having two older brothers, I see both sides of this post. Immediately I can give you a handful of instances where my eldest brother and I got into a disagreement and my brother was “blamed” even though I technically should have gotten the worst of it because he was the eldest and should have been setting the example for me! Let me get my ‘neener neener neener’ in now πŸ˜‰ You make a lot of valid points though and I think that every set of parents learn from their firstborn and hope that they did a good enough job on the first child that they’ll help be an example for those to come! All of us kids are “grown up” now and I can honestly appreciate everything that my older brothers did. I see it now. I think your sisters will too. πŸ™‚

    • Wow! I love the fact that you’re able to see it from both perspectives. I’m hoping my sisters will see it, like you said, someday.

  6. Hehe…great post. I’m the youngest of two and I do agree with the points here. I guess I should write one about why being the youngest is difficult. The biggest thing here is that you can’t be adventurous. Your elder sibling has probably tried and failed at something and therefore by ‘learning’ from that process, you start living your life a bit too carefully. That’s why you miss out on a lot of experiences.
    But I fully agree with the post! πŸ˜€

    • Thanks a lot. πŸ™‚ I agree with what you said, regarding younger siblings learning from their elders and not being able to do new stuff. In some ways, I guess it’s an advantage for the eldest, since they get to be adventurous and experiment with stuff (even though it means getting into trouble quite a lot!).

  7. I agree I am the eldest child of three. Every one goes on about middle child syndrome well what about elder child syndrome! When we are first borns we are the universe ( most of the times) we are the little princesses and princes but after that second child is born our parents attention for us goes away, now I’m not saying that parents do it intentionally, but you know it’s very easy for a first child to feel like a burden and feel like they must become an adult before they actually are.

  8. I hate being the eldest cause I am expected to do everything whereas my brother and sister get the easy life. I do my chores and they don’t have to cause they are so young when I did them when I was their age . The youngest siblings get too much favouritism whereas we are labeled as arrogant hormonal teenagers.

  9. I can really relate to this, i am a 13 year old girl who is expected to have the responsibilities of an adult, make life decisions and fiance problems, like hell im only 13 and i have a younger brother, i know some parents can get carried away with the younger child but i just feel like he always gets the affection whereas for me if i do something wrong it’s like world war 3 started however if my brther does something h’s treated with love and respect blah blah, am i suposed to feel like an outsider?? other thing is that he is only two years younger but he doesn’t have the burden of what i do. I just have way to many high expectations and “responsibility” that i feel like if i do anything wrong it’s the end of the world. I think my parents do have more affection for my brother but i donj’t know if they do it purposely or not. I just have all this stress that in all honestly i feel like i shouldn’t be having and yet i do. I can’t be sorry to them if i don’t turn out how they wanted me to be but they gotta give me a break.

    • Helen, it’s good to know you could connect with this post. Well, I know what it might feel like to have way more responsibility than what you can handle while your younger sibling gets to be free of it, just because he/she is younger, sometimes only by a year or two. Parents might have their own reasons or circumstances for what they do but they rarely try to understand what the elder child is going through. But then, there’s nothing you can do about it, is there? Yes, you can try talking, or you can be angry at your parents or complain…or you can try to find the strength to deal with the situation and come out stronger. πŸ™‚ Whatever you decide to do, always know that there are others out there who go through the same situation; you’re not alone.

  10. I totally agree with this post. I think you hit being the eldest spot on. I’m the eldest of 3 and I thought only I experienced some of the things you talked about in your post. Especially # 5, my dad does that to me all the time. He will confide in me more than my younger siblings. When he gave me lectures, I had to stand there for hours listening to his every word about being responsible and setting examples for my younger siblings. The best thing though was that I only grew from my experience being the eldest because my parents were so hard on me. I wouldn’t want it any other way, now responsibility and setting examples comes so naturally to me. I feel like this post was very interesting. I enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing.

  11. You know, I am a older child too and I think that what you said was great, the situation I’m in is like not fun, I have a younger sister and she like to fight with me when ever she had a chance a few month ago and if I even think about revenge, I can just dig a grave in the garden in my backyard. Now she don’t do it so much because that she know that it is not really working with the fighting so she sort of just quit so I am sort of of the hook.

  12. I am an only child; but I can definitely see why being the OLDER or OLDEST sibling in the family can be both positive as well as negative, and it’s not just the MIDDLE child who as it ROUGH. You may get to stay up longer and out longer; and maybe boss to younger ones around, but being the very first child your parents were still in the beginning of the whole β€˜How to be a Good Parent’ thing and didn’t always make the best choices concerning you. You automatically become a babysitter (hopefully with payment at least) as well as a role model; if the younger sibling or siblings does or says something wrong you get I blamed and in trouble for it, because you were not being responsible and protective by keeping a close eye on them. You might also have to be on your very BEST behavior most of the times; especially if the younger sibling or siblings look up to you and to wants to be just like you, one of those β€œmonkey see monkey do” type things were youngest attempts mimics the oldest whether it’s something good or bad.

    • Family can sometimes be the last place to look for attention, I have the same problem or perhaps I should say had. I’m 33 so I guess I can at least understand. There is something my high school teacher always used to tell me because I was the introvert: “Go make some friends”. It’s crazy when you think about it now. What he really meant to say was get out there and mingle, have some fun, live life, create a few ties and see what happens. The most successful people in life are business men/woman. You want to know why? They can sell anything to anyone, that is a hard power to combat against.

  13. Being the eldest child is REALLY hard. I have 2 little brothers. The middle brother annoys me SO MUCH! I always get into trouble for things I do to him or call him names. But the thing is, he calls me them right back. Them when I tell my parents, he doesn’t get in trouble!

    • My problem with being the oldest is that people expect you to be the most mature all the time. You can’t screw up or you’ll be judged harshly. Not only am I the oldest, but I’m the only daughter. I’ve attempted to ask God “why,” but I know I won’t get an answer. Also, I didn’t have many female friends growing up, so I had no sister to fall back on and it was terrible. Also, I would take the most abuse my father dished out.

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