I am the eldest and have one sister exactly five years younger than I. My eldest son, also a first born, was born on my thirtieth birthday. My oldest granddaughter is struggling with being the eldest. (More)
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Addi, oldest grandchild is 9½ and asked me, as an oldest child, what was great about being the first kid. She is struggling just now with her role and responsibilities. I listened a lot to her frustrations and found myself coming up short on the good things about being the eldest. Sure we get to do things before our younger siblings can but that’s about it.
Addi is uber responsible, organized and a bit of a perfectionist for herself. She is smart and determined. She gets frustrated with herself when she doesn’t get something right away. She is very creative and has a novel underway. She has a wicked sense of humor and her observational skills can cut through any BS.
She struggles with being told to watch out for the younger brother and sister and having them, hands on hips saying, “You’re not the boss of me.”
After our first conversation I googled “eldest child.” Most of the entries are either sociological studies or “rants” by eldest kids. The middle kids and the youngest kids also seem to bemoan their place in the birth order lottery. I showed Addi the Google results. I told her that I felt like I had come up short and so I did some research. I also told her that no one seems to like their place in the birth order. She giggled as she read some of the entries.
She at least felt like she was not alone in being frustrated with her place. I told her about her uncle, the youngest child telling me how unfair it all was. I told him to call my sister who could probably give him more sympathy than I could. They talked for 45 minutes and most likely both felt vindicated.
There are no answers here. There are points of view and anecdotal ‘evidence.’ There are eldest kids and the other kids. Sometimes it sucks to be the oldest and sometimes it sucks to be the middle kid or the youngest.
Here’s my request. Please, if you are the oldest, tell me why it is a good thing. If you are a younger sibling, tell me why your older sibling was a hero or heroine. I definitely need a better answer for Addi on why it is good to be the eldest.