The Tale of Firstborns
The Firstborns or otherwise commonly known as the Eldest child is the first child born to a couple. They are considered to be the favorites and receive more affection than their siblings. Studies done over the years indicate that Firstborns tend to have higher IQ and are most successful in their career. They are considered to be smarter, faster and mentally stronger individuals.
Some speculate since they are born first, they receive greater attention and care, thus enhancing stronger and healthier brain development. After the parents, the family matters rests upon the shoulders of the elder child. Most Firstborns are taught to look after their younger siblings in order to teach them the importance of responsibility.
My Life as a Firstborn
Being the oldest among the three, I always hated the idea of being the firstborn. Maybe because I have never liked taking responsibilities. Ever since I started school, I was given the responsibility of looking after my siblings. It was always "Chippy, did you do this or did you do that ?". The chores, due to my short attention span, often were left half undone. I would run to the living room, sit down cross-legged in front of the TV, watching mickey mouse. To add to Mom's troubles, I would pull my sister along with me and get her too into mischief.
After a few years, along came my little brother and the sense of a superior sibling and sense of responsibility grew in me. I would constantly check up on him. Sometimes I would find him standing in the cradle looking for someone to take him into their arms. During those days, I learned certain tricks to stop him from crying. Tricks like calling 'Mom', the very word which would suddenly make him stop screeching. Then he would start over and I would yell 'Mom' again. This would go on for over half an hour or until I got tired of it. To this day I still remember how his face used to crease.
Getting him to sleep was another huge task. He loved the cold air from the air conditioner and I would hold him near to it so he could sleep.
These were the responsibilities I remember doing as an older sibling.
Some Reasons Why Parents are usually more Affectionate towards the Older Child?
So why do parents give more attention to the oldest child?
1) Some say since the firstborns are born first in the family, often they receive more love and affection. Although it cannot be said in all the cases and I am sure there would be some who would disagree with me.
2) After the birth of the second child, the older child may sometimes feel left out. This could lead to sibling rivalry in the long run. Knowing this, most of the parents provide more attention to the first child and give him the small responsibility of looking out for the younger sibling which helps in the development of the bond between the siblings.
3) Studies have reported that more the attention received by a child, more the chances they may show self-confidence, self-esteem, accept greater responsibilities, excel in academics and may have higher IQ than the younger siblings.
4) After the birth of the other siblings, priorities of the parents change and they may not always be able to provide more attention to the other offsprings as they did earlier for the firstborn.
Various Characteristics Firstborns tend to display
According to a study conducted by the University of California, 70-75 percent of Parents admit displaying more affection towards the firstborn. Therefore, children often tend to display behavioral characteristics like being:
1) They are often reliable
2) Tend to be controlling towards their younger siblings
3) Care for the younger siblings
4) Academic Achievers
6) Are mentally strong
8) Sense of superiority
9) Responsible especially when told to look after their younger siblings
Qualities of being an Only Child
Being the only child is a unique position in the family. Without siblings, the parent's affection and focus would be on the one child. The child may be lonely but enjoys the benefits of being a single child and the support and attention provided by his/her parents. These children tend to display:
1) Firstborns are said to reach Mental Maturity quicker than their siblings
2) Development of Leadership quality
3) High IQ level
4) Higher academic performance
5) Sense of Independence
6) Are more Organized
As with all things, there is often a disadvantage where an only child is concerned. Parents tend to spoil them and in some cases, these children tend to earn the name " spoiled brat". They display characters like selfishness, impatience, lack of mannerism and are very demanding. Temper tantrums are common in such cases.
Parenting the Child / Children
Parenting an only child has its difficulties especially when the child is used to getting his /her way. Problems arise when the child starts showing a bloated up ego and lack in discipline. If the child becomes critical of others, refuses to share, displays pride and bullying behavior, nip it in the bud as soon as possible.
From the time we are born till the time we die, life teaches so many lessons in every phase. A child learns to walk from the age of one. He crawls, tries to stand up, tries to walk but flops back onto the floor. He tries again and again till he learns to balance on his legs. All this time, his mother would be watching him. She knows that even with a little bump and fall, he must learn. However difficult it may be, this is a path he should accomplish on his own.
Similarly, as the proverb goes, "Spare the rod and spoil the child". It is better to use the word "NO" and be firm in areas where the child is usually very demanding rather than having a child grow up to be a public nuisance. Some cultures and families use a cane to discipline their kids. Teach them to handle disappointments, pain, life's many defeating situations, so that they may know how to handle it in adulthood. Most importantly give them their space to make their own mistakes, to correct it and to learn as to how to fix issues on their own. We must understand that problems are very much a part of their lives as it was of ours.
The Influencial Role of Parents
The relationships that the oldest have with the other siblings have a significant influence on what they are able to achieve later in life. Be it the firstborn, middle or youngest, what matters most is how parents treat their children and how each child is viewed by the other siblings. It is essential to understand the different perspectives of different family members.
After all, how many offsprings there may be, all are equally loved, protected and nurtured by their parents.
© 2016 Stephy Varghese Thazhone