The oldest child always knows and appreciates the time when we were the only child. We got all the attention and all the love, but then with no preparation, no warning, and no heads-up, there’s a new kid.
That was the day we had to start sharing everything, starting with our parents.
As an older sister with a 7-year age gap between my brother and I, I have been unfairly treated many times. I mean, it’s only natural when you have multiple kids and you’re still figuring out the whole parenting thing. The first child is when the parents try the hardest and aim for their kids to succeed in everything. But then when the second child comes along, it’s slightly different.
So let’s begin, shall we.
- The younger ones are always spoiled.
So, as I was saying, when the second child comes along, things take a turn. And this can be for so many reasons, being that the world is always changing and so is our environment. Each age group tends to be a little bit more different than the first, but part of it also has to do with the amount of leniency that is given to the second child.The favoritism is unreal.
Growing up, I had a very wide variety of toys, everything from dolls, playdoh, magnets, to some stuffed animals. But I had to work for it; I had to beg and plead for every toy. It took me 5 years to get my parents to purchase a full set of barbie clothing for me, which I had to ask for repeatedly. As for my brother, things were just handed to him. He barely asked twice and whatever he wanted was shipped to our doorstep. Even for the most expensive items, my parents didn’t think twice.
- The older ones always get the work.
When my brother had come of an age where he should have been capable of cleaning up his own toys, folding his own clothing, or putting away dishes from the dishwasher, my parents said that he was still “too little”. And I’m just gonna say, this was always one phrase that I simply couldn’t accept. He was “little”. If he is of age, he is capable. That means that he should be able to do at least the basic tasks.
As a child growing up, he needs to understand that his parents are not always going to hold his hand for everything he does. By the age of 6, I was able to brush my own teeth, bathe myself, clothe myself, and put on my own shoes. My brother, on the other hand, had them done for him. Because of that, he often doesn’t know how to do chores or merely states that he doesn’t want to. Essentially, kids, no matter their age, should be trusted to do things for themselves, or they might constantly be dependent on others.
- The older ones raise the younger ones.
This idea can vary from family to family, depending on the age gap between children. In some cases, it might not even exist. But in other cases, it can have a huge impact in the childrens’ lives.
There are many situations where one child is 8 or 9 years older than the others, meaning that the older children play a motherly/fatherly role. In most scenarios, watching them grow up and hit stepping stones in their lives, fills the older siblings with joy. However, raising siblings may take a toll on the older child, especially when they must continue to balance their school and home life. I have experienced this first hand, sacrificing fun outings with my friends to babysit my brother.
- Parents always take the younger ones’ side.
For some reason it always seems that whenever siblings are in a fight, the younger ones get the most support. Either because they’re “little” or because “they don’t know anything”. My parents have often been blind to my brother’s mischief. Even if I give a logical explanation as to why and what he did was wrong and how I was correct in response to his shenanigans, they just don’t see it.
- Always having to share belongings.
If we’re being honest, I think we can all agree that there have been situations where, as the older sibling we have had to share our toys/ belongings. Sometimes, siblings may share your interests, leading them to steal everything you own. When a sibling takes a gift or an item that has special meaning, it can be hard to keep your cool. And when they don’t return it (oh, boy), they’re asking for trouble.
But all in all, I will say that having siblings is one the greatest gifts anyone can have. It can give many different kinds of experiences and opportunities to learn new things in ways you wouldn’t have thought. It gives you a person to rely on, which is something we all need in our lives.