The Pros and Cons of being the Oldest Child

Being an oldest child is a mixed blessing, depending on how you look at it. As the oldest child in the family, I will try my best to show the half filled cup before we proceed to the half empty part.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
As a mother now, I know that there is something special about the first child. You can love all your children equally, care about them the same and bring them up in a similar manner, but like every first time, even with a child, the first time around is more memorable.
In that respect, an oldest child is a special child for the parents. The age difference or what we call as a generation gap is also lesser with the oldest child and that makes it easier on the parents. An oldest child gets the best of what the parents have to offer attention, toys, clothes, unshared and in sole possession (for a while at least, till the siblings come along). No hand me downs either.
The oldest child also feels a greater sense of responsibility while growing up and that is a positive quality in the long run. When a younger sibling looks up to you with adoration and turns to you for advise it results in a great feeling of power and duty. Speaking of adoration, the oldest child gets plenty of it not only from the parents but from the family as well. And that adoration turns out to be a vice and a virtue together.
How would you feel if all the attention showered on you suddenly gets divided and keeps getting divided to the point that you miss it more and more? Neglected. That’s the real hardship of being the eldest. You get it all, just to be taken away or shared someday.
The oldest child is always expected to “understand”. Parents find it easier to make the oldest child understand than to deal with the tantrums of the younger ones and that is nothing short of blackmail. He or she is expected to be compassionate, concerned, forgiving, considerate, watchful, and responsible and always the one to sacrifice. That’s a lot of merits for one person to possess! The irony however is that regardless of being all the above and more the younger siblings still feel that the oldest is the most favored.
The oldest child has also to bear the irritating notion of always having somebody at the back. As much as you love your siblings, you don’t want them following you around all the time. Being the oldest one there were two things I hated from the bottom of my heart, babysitting when my sister was younger and her constantly trying to ape me when she was a bit older. Younger in the family have a strong inclination towards imitation and it is a marathon task for the oldest child to stop them from doing so.
Life isn’t a bed of roses, that’s what the oldest child learns once the siblings come along but what he also learns is what it is to love somebody like crazy. There wasn’t a day when me and my younger sister would not fight but I did and still do, love her to death.
So being the oldest amongst your siblings can be a plus or a minus depending on you and the surroundings but there is one truth nobody can deny. The oldest child grows up before time; the younger ones have the advantage of being the smaller, for eternity.