How Does One Survive As the Oldest Child in a Family?


Quick Answer

An oldest child in a family can be well-served to remember that they are only a child, and shouldn't hold themselves accountable to unrealistic set of expectations. It's common for the oldest child to feel especially responsible around the house and to be a perfectionist. This should be controlled so they don't feel that they're being forced into a leading or semi-parental role within the household.

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Full Answer

Oldest children don't usually understand the learning curve, so they don't draw a strong distinction between adults and children. For example, oldest children are often unforgiving toward themselves when learning motor skills because all of the adults around them already have perfect motor skills. This tendency toward perfectionism leads to stress around younger siblings as these siblings try to learn the same skills. As a result of this attitude, the oldest child often feels that they must act as a perfected parent, and they carry around that sense of responsibility when dealing with siblings.

Another source of stress is that oldest children may feel neglected when a younger sibling is born and begins receiving a disproportionate amount of parental attention. There's a system of roles within a family that the oldest child doesn't yet understand. They assume that they're being disciplined more than their siblings, but in reality they're simply getting older and acquiring more responsibilities as any aging child would.

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