Older Child Problems: 9 Things That Only The Oldest Sibling Will Understand
If you're the oldest child, there's a strong chance that you loathed your younger siblings when they were born.
We older kids knew what jealousy felt like from a very young age and we resented our parents thinking that we were permanently available, unpaid babysitters. No matter how old we all get, and how much the age gap narrows, we will always be defined by being the #olderchild.
It's shaped not just our childhoods, but our entire personalities. Have you ever offered your friends hand sanitizer? Yeah, younger siblings don't do that. Read below to discover all the things older siblings know to be true.
1. Your curfew was, by far, the earliest.
Because when you came along, your parents were paranoid, insecure people who didn’t have a clue how to raise children. They actually read parenting books when you were little, and they figured bad things happened when it got dark.
So, not only did you have to be home at 11 pm, but they would often -- the horror -- pick you up.
By the time their second and third children came along, they no longer cared. You had broken your curfew and tested the boundaries to the extent that your siblings were partying with their friends until 2 am. They lived an unrestricted life you could only have dreamt of, and it still hurts.
2. Your younger siblings got a cell phone years before you did.
Your parents didn’t want to spoil you, and they weren't indulgent and bored yet, so they liked saying the word "no."
So, despite the fact that you were 14 when you got yours, your brother was presented with a shiny new cell all to himself on his 11th birthday. "For safety," of course. This still rankles.
3. If you all got in trouble together, it was unequivocally your fault.
You can't even count how many times you’ve heard the line "you're the oldest, you lead by example." Your level of responsibility mean that your siblings were effectively blameless, no matter what they did.
This was beyond unfair, but whether it was you and your brothers making a dumb joke in public or your siblings getting their clothes dirty at a big family party, you were blamed for everything.
4. You are the permanent benchmark. (For better and worse.)
Sometimes, this went in your favor, and you got to sit back and feel smug as your parents yelled at your siblings for not producing the stellar grades that you did.
Other times, the conversation was basically your parents criticizing your very being in comparison to how perfect your younger siblings are. The dreaded, often-used line: "You were MUCH more of a handful when you were younger!"
5. You always won when choosing TV channel.
As the oldest child, there were responsibilities, but there were also rights. These included choosing which takeout place to order from and never having to take the middle seat. You won, every single time.
And if your siblings didn’t like it? You were bigger and could literally sit on them.
6. You’re never sure which of your memories your siblings were around for.
You know you remember certain vacations and holidays with them in it, but they have no recollection at all. In even more baffling fashion, they absolutely swear they were at events that occurred prior to their births.
This can be frustrating and has led to many unresolved and heated family debates.
7. You are "mature."
You’re not entirely sure what this even means, but you have been told it your whole life. Chances are you are also organized and have a Type A personality.
8. The pressure is entirely on you to get married.
And it has been since you were about 19. You are your parents' first and most pressing hope of having grandchildren, and they never stop reminding you of this.
Meanwhile, your siblings are entirely free to date losers, or not date at all, exactly as they please, while your mom won't stop setting you up with "eligible" men, AKA the sons of the women at her bridge club.
9. You always feel like your younger siblings are copying you.
I mean really, it can't just be a coincidence that your younger sister's favorite color is also purple.
Whether they choose the same college as you did, or happen to prefer the same flavor ice cream as you do, you will never outgrow telling them to stop copying you.
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