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Oldest Sibling Struggles

Updated on July 29, 2016

The struggles of OSS (Oldest Child Syndrome, or 'The Organization of Super Spies,' if you're a Spy Kids fan) is a very real one and it is universally felt and recognized. While I am sure your parents love you just as much as your younger siblings, we like to think anyway, they definitely treated you differently and still probably do when compared with those angels. As a sufferer of OSS myself, here are a few of those perpetual issues I've recognized as the eldest, maybe you can relate.

You're the Taxi

I never really cared to get my license, I purposely waited for several months after my 16th birthday before my dad forced me to the DMV. That very next day I was asked to "pick the kids up from school," and nothing has changed since. Let us not allow the trips to and from friend's houses, the trips to music lessons and sport practices, and the Girl Scout lessons to fall by the wayside. I don't mind driving at all, thankfully, but it's more of the principle than the practice and I don't care to have my day scheduled around taking kids from place to place, BUT it comes with the unwanted territory.


"Take the Higher Road"

How many times have we all heard this? The answer to that is probably several. It doesn't matter how many buttons those little heathens push (I liken this mental image to Buddy the Elf in the elevator. Yeah, you know the scene), it doesn't matter how long they have been nagging you. It does not matter how many times you have begged them to leave you alone or how long you've been trying to ignore them. As soon as your voice reaches above roughly 75-80 decibels it is game over.

"You are yelling at a child!!!" mom will, ironically, yell at you. "Act like the young adult you are!" "Set a good example!" "How would your Grandmother feel if she heard you like this?!" Et cetera, et cetera. The shouting is a self perpetuating cycle and, ultimately, you will never win a match against your little sibling, especially with a parental referee.

Built in Babysitter

Yes, when your birth order constantly volunteers for you to babysit, despite your current plans, it is nothing to laugh at. Thankfully, my parents were pretty good about letting me off the babysitting hook if I informed them of my upcoming plans enough days in advance. A perk to this one, however, was the ability to cancel unwanted plans or dinner dates with "friends" using the excuse, "oh no! I have to babysit all night tonight, very suddenly. Sorry." (Introverted people problems, am I right?) Said friend would nearly always respond to this with, "Well at least you're making some money!"

What part of 'voluntary service' don't you understand?!


You Were the Guinea Pig Child

Cruel and unusual punishments were your norm. Whether it was a spanking, a 'time out,' the taking of your favorite toy, or some other form of penalization, your younger siblings have never seen this in any arrangement of the matter. They practically get away with murder as far as you are concerned, and your parents could not care less.

My, then three year old, brother had a heyday on my bedroom wall while I was at a friend's house one weekend. I thought letting a three year old wander a house with a pack of brand new markers was widely understood as a bad idea, but apparently not. The bottom half of my walls were ruined. I confronted my mother about this, asking if she was going to take his markers, or give him a stern talking to, or make him clean it up. She suggested I just repaint my walls instead. I explained, very frustrated and upset, that I would've been in a world of trouble if that were me as a three year old.

"I know," she said. "And all that punishing didn't do anything to change that mouth of yours." Touche, mom. Touche.

They Want to BE You

People say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and those people must've never experienced the imitation that seems to radiate from a younger sibling. That or they were just incredibly altruistic and didn't let it bother them when said sibling NEEDED to be playing with the toy they had, eating the food they ordered, wearing their clothes, or using their catch phrases.

If Michelle Tanner quit being her cute self in a bid to be more like Stephanie, the annoying, often absentminded middle kid, I'm not sure how much Full House I could've stuck around to see. I am sure the premise of a few episodes revolved around this idea, but in the end we always learn that it is better to be true to yourself! You know why? Because being imitated nonstop is annoying and no one wants to deal with that, even secondhand.

You Feel Obligated to Protect Them

This definitely isn't a bad thing, per se. It is more of just a nuisance and a stresser, for me anyway. You are the only one who is allowed to pick on their loser self and anyone else who picks on them has you to deal with. The most negative aspect of this bullet must be the constant worry the older sibling experiences when the younger one goes into a new situation. Examples of this may be moving up a grade in school, dating someone new, or starting a new job.

It's stressful for everyone involved, even if they drive you crazy. They're kind of like a ButterFinger candy bar, no one lays a finger on them (but you).


Of course, this list is just the start of the troubles of dealing with Older Sibling Syndrome, and I'm sure the middle and chronic baby children of the family have their horror stories and trials as well. While you love your little sibling to bits, they really know how to rock the boat. Being oldest has its perks, of course, but that's a list for another day.

What are some of the struggles you've been through as the eldest kid?


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