Being the Oldest Child

Charlotte Allison, M.A.
5 min readDec 20, 2020

A privilege or a burden?

Image: Anemone123/Pixababy

The Oldest Child

I am the oldest of four siblings. One younger sister and two younger brothers. Being the oldest has some advantages and some disadvantages.

One advantage of being the oldest is that because you are the first born, you have all your parent’s attention until the other kids come along. You might always be special to your parents because you are their first born.

Oldest children are often more successful in life and in their careers. And research has found that they often have higher IQs than younger siblings.

Another advantage of being the oldest child is you often get to do a lot of things first. You get to experience things that your younger siblings will have to wait to experience.

These advantages are some of the privileges of being the oldest. But I can say from personal experience that for the most part, being the oldest sucks. Being the oldest is often a big burden. So much is expected of you. It’s almost as if you are a third parent, rather than one of the kids.

There are always exceptions and variations within each family. But for the most part, here is why it sucks to be the oldest.

You Are a Guinea Pig

The oldest child is often like an experiment. Because the parents never had a child before, the oldest becomes a guinea pig. What works? What doesn’t work?

In a way you can’t blame the parents. Afterall, they are new to this parenting thing. So, they don’t really know how to do it yet.

The oldest child has it the toughest. The younger siblings won’t have it anywhere near as tough as the oldest child.

You Should Know Better

I hate when parents tell the oldest child that they should know better. I have experienced this myself personally. I have also seen it happen time and again with other families.

If all the kids are misbehaving for example, it is always the oldest who ‘should know better’ than the other kids. So, basically the younger ones get away with their behavior, while the oldest child always suffers the consequences.

Charlotte Allison, M.A.

Master of Arts degree in spiritual psychology. Writing is a tool for healing. When you heal your self, you help to heal the planet as well.