Oldest Children Who Parent Younger Siblings
Oldest Children are Seen as Responsible, Even Authoritative in the Family
Oldest children are considered to be the most responsible ones by virtue of their birth order. Of all birth orders, oldest children have the most responsibilities placed upon them because it is believed that they are capable of handling them. There are high expectations placed upon oldest children in comparison to their younger siblings who oftentimes have more leeway than they do.
Oldest children are viewed as authoritative by their parents. In many families, oldest children are placed in authoritative positions pertaining to their younger siblings. They are asked to watch younger siblings. They are also told to ascertain that younger siblings don't get into trouble. They even act as mentors and teachers to their younger siblings.
There are parents who see their oldest children as second in command in the family. They rely on their oldest children to help manage the younger children in the family. To them, their oldest children are their right hand in terms of parenting responsibilities. They feel that their oldest children help make their parenting easier than it would be if they parented alone.
The Oldest Child in the Family
Oldest Children Placed in the Caretaking Role
Oldest children are the leaders of their families. As the oldest, they are the role models for their younger siblings. They are the ones who guide and instruct their younger siblings. Oldest children are the first ones that the younger siblings look up to as a relatable example to follow. Oldest children care for the younger siblings when parents aren't present. They are the ones who prepare breakfast for younger siblings. They take the younger siblings to school and other activities. They may even take the younger siblings home from school and prepare dinner.
Oldest children are the go-to people for younger siblings when parents aren't available and/or busy. They are the ones that younger siblings can discuss problems with. They soothe younger siblings' tears. They even help younger siblings with their homework and other school problems. Oldest children are seen as very comfortable in the eyes of many younger siblings. The latter see oldest children as more age related hence approachable in comparison to parents who are viewed as less approachable and more ancient being parents.
It isn't unusual for oldest children to assume caretaking roles of one kind or another in relation to their younger siblings. It is quite common for oldest children based upon the fact of their being responsible and authoritative to be in the caretaking position regarding their younger siblings. Oldest children are asked to assume such roles in relation to younger siblings because they are deemed reliable and dependable. In many families, oldest children are seen as the other authority figure after the parents.
Oldest Children in the Caretaker Role
When Oldest Children Raise Younger Siblings
While oldest children assume caretaking roles regarding their younger siblings, they aren't asked to parent nor raise younger siblings. Although they perform a certain percentage of such duties, the parents perform the majority of the parenting duties, leaving oldest children to have normative childhoods and adolescence. Oldest children in such families merely help with the caretaking duties when parents either aren't available or too busy. They may even help in caretaking duties when younger siblings find them more relatable or more age appropriate regarding their problems.
However, in some families, oldest children are relegated to being parents to their younger siblings. This goes beyond mere caretaking duties such as taking them to school, helping with homework, and escorting them to events. These oldest children are full-time parents to their younger siblings. They perform duties which their parents should perform. They are the ones who change their diapers, cook the meals, bathe them, and even raising them. These oldest children are at the call of their parents and siblings 24/7/365.
These oldest children are compelled to be parents at an age when they should be enjoying normative childhoods and adolescence. While many oldest children's caretaking duties are infrequent, these oldest children have caretaking duties on a daily basis. There are parents who consider their oldest children to be free built-in nannies. These parents are of the school that their oldest children are there to care for their younger siblings and nothing else should matter.
When Oldest Children PARENT Younger Siblings
Pushing Parenting Responsibilities on Oldest Children
There are parents who push their oldest children to raise younger siblings. They maintain that their oldest children, not them, should assume full parental responsibilities for the younger siblings by the fact that the oldest children are older and can handle the situation. Oldest children parenting siblings occurs in all size families-small, medium, medium large, large, and very large. However, the practice of oldest children bearing the bulk, if not all parental responsibilities for their younger siblings is prevalent in large and very large families.
Parents of large and very large families are overwhelmed emotionally, psychologically, and even psychically by the large volume of children that they have. Raising a large number of children by themselves can be a daunting venture. Since they know that they can't properly parent these children alone, they enlist their oldest children to help them parent these children. In large and very large families, oldest children are pushed into being parents to their younger siblings.
There are parents of such families who give birth and subsequently give the child for the oldest children to raise. For example, the Duggars who have a very large family routinely give their infants to the oldest children to parent. Such parents aren't involved in daily parenting of their children. It is common in large and very large families for oldest children to raise younger siblings instead of the actual parents.
In some families not only large and very large, oldest children are seen as the parents in the family. These parents see nothing wrong with oldest children parenting their younger siblings. They feel that they shouldn't have to be parents when their oldest children are present. They contend that parenting younger siblings is the role of oldest children from time immemorial, adding that it is the responsibility of their oldest children to parent their younger siblings.
Oldest Children PUSHED to Raise Younger Siblings
Why Must Oldest Children ...........be PARENTS to Younger Siblings
There is an unspoken family expectation that oldest children raise younger siblings. After all, oldest siblings have been parents to younger siblings since time immemorial. In pre-modern and other societies, oldest siblings have parented younger siblings in one form or another. Oldest children have always had responsibilities thrust upon them which includes parenting younger siblings.
Until recently, the brunt of parenting duties regarding younger siblings fell upon oldest children in the family. This was wildly accepted. While people have become more progressive regarding the treatment of children, there are some who still staunchly uphold the premise that oldest children usually raise younger siblings which is nothing to be alarmed about. There are parents who expect their oldest children to bear the brunt of caring for their younger siblings. They maintain that is what authentic families do.
Many oldest children have parental responsibilities towards their younger siblings far before they are ready to assume such responsibilities. They oftentimes must forego their own interests to assume parenting responsibilities. Because they assume the major, if not all, parenting duties, they have no life outside of school and caring for their younger siblings. Their parents feel that it is not their responsibility to raise and care for their children as they have other responsibilities. They maintain that if the children are to be raised, their oldest children will do the job.
There are parents who maintain why should they raise children when there are oldest children available to do the job. They furthermore argue that oldest children are part of the family and possess the necessary maturity to assume adult responsibilities which includes parenting younger siblings. These parents maintain that nothing is more important in a family than looking after each other. They view oldest children parenting younger siblings as a normative part of being the oldest child in a family.
Must Oldest Children be ........PARENTS?
Oldest Children Sacrificing Themselves To.....Parent Younger Siblings
Many oldest children put their own needs and interests last because they are raising their younger siblings. They are at the beck and call of their younger siblings, even their parents 24/7/365. There is no such thing is private or me time as far as these oldest children are concerned. Caring for their younger siblings is first and foremost. It is the family mantra that caring for younger siblings should take complete precedence. It also this same family mantra that raising younger siblings is what oldest children do and should do without complaint.
In one of the parenting blogs, a mother indicated that it was the responsibility of her oldest child to raise the younger siblings as that is what families do. This mother reported that a friend of hers chastised her on this, stating that the oldest child have an individual life outside the family. This mother rebuked the friend, indicating that there is no such thing as an oldest child having an individual life and all individuality should be subverted to the family.
There are oldest children who put their life and other interests on hold raising their younger siblings. It isn't unusual for oldest children to curtail their own relationships and life goals to raise younger siblings. Oldest children are the sacrificial children in the family, constantly foregoing what they want in life in order to raise younger siblings and be there for them. Many oldest children have been strongly inculcated by their parents that they are the ones who must sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their younger siblings. They even are indoctrinated by these parents that they exist for and must serve their younger siblings.
An example of the sacrificial oldest child is Jana Duggar. As the oldest daughter of the Duggars, she has been relegated to parent younger siblings. She has sacrificed her own interests and goals to continue to parent younger siblings. She has no individual life nor interests outside of parenting her siblings. I also had a friend whose oldest sister raised younger siblings. She never married nor pursued her own goals, living as a prisoner of her family.
Oldest Children SACRIFICE Themselves To Raise Younger Siblings
Oldest children are seen as the responsible and authoritative ones in the family by virtue of their birth order. Based upon being responsible and authoritative, oldest children are placed in caretaking roles regarding their younger siblings. While some oldest children are placed in caretaking roles occasionally, there are some who are placed in caretaking roles on a continual basis. These oldest children have to parent and raise their younger siblings.
As a result of parenting and raising their younger siblings, these oldest children are unable to cultivate their own particular interests and goals. They must continue to sacrifice and forego their own needs in order to parent and raise their younger siblings. Siblings shouldn't have to parent and raise other siblings. It is the job of parents to parent and raise their children, not to assign those tasks to their oldest children who are children themselves.
Oldest Children Raising Younger Siblings
Should oldest children parent and raise their younger siblings?
© 2015 Grace Marguerite Williams