Oldest children are the unhappiest of all birth orders because they are dethroned, displaced, disposable, & even dismissed.The life of the oldest child is very stringent.H/she is considered a protoadult & treated like an adult although h/she is a child.Oldest children, in many instances, have the shortest childhoods.Their childhood & adolescence. They are the children who are given responsibilities at a time when other children are having a childhood.
Oldest children are expected to be perfect.After all, they are the example setters to younger siblings.If they fail in any way, there is hell to pay from their parents for missing the mark.They are punished more rigorously & harshly than their younger siblings will ever be. One can say that oldest children are treated the most differentially of all birth
orders & that is in the NEGATIVE sense! They are treated rougher & more harshly by their parents overall than their younger siblings who are coddled & indulged more.
However,the way oldest children are treated are dependent upon their family size.Oldest children in small families (1-2 siblings) are treated like children & have a normative childhood.There is an equal parity as to how they are treated. In such families,younger siblings are treated equally-they do not get any parental slack. Oldest children in medium families(3 siblings) also receive loving treatment by their parents.They also have normative childhoods & interactions with their parents.In small & medium families, the status of oldest child is more glamorous.Yes, h/she is the oldest but h/she is seen as a child & treated that way.In such families, the status of oldest child is that of the hip & cool advisory sibling who has a range of freedom that his/her younger siblings do not have. H/she can stay up late, have more freedom to come & go, & other privileges that oldest children have in small & medium families.
Now, oldest children in medium large(4 siblings) & large/very large families(5 or more siblings) catch hell.There are no glamor & prestige in being the oldest child in such families.Such children are there to mainly serve their parents & younger siblings. They have NO INDIVIDUAL life to speak of. Their needs, desires, & wants are....LAST & even dismissed as unimportant, particularly by their parents. They have very little or no childhood, being adults as soon as they can proverbially walk & talk. In fact, they are THE REAL parents of the family. They are underappreciated.