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Growing up the oldest of seven children

Updated on January 29, 2013
It was seven of us and I was the oldest growing up.
It was seven of us and I was the oldest growing up.

How does it feel being the oldest of a lot of kids?

My parents had seven of us and I am proud to say I am the first. The first to learn how to do chores, to learn how to listen and obey, and the first to have responsibilities. While many people might think that it is hard and a bitter task being the oldest of a lot of kids, I have had more positive experiences than negative ones. I love my little brothers and sisters and I enjoyed helping out with them. Some times I wanted more time for just me or I would had rather to do something besides look after them, but for the most part having responsibilities made me mature and more knowledgable than other kids my age, who were the only child or one of a few. Being the oldest makes a child a leader and hopefully a good one that makes decisions that the other kids can learn from. If parents really train the first child right then they are a role model for the younger children. I can remember having my own room when the others had to share. It was almost like an unspoken agreement that my parents made with me, since I was the "assistant parent" I got a few perks that maybe the others did not get. I could easily manipulate a situation like kids do, because while I was a child sometimes I had to fill my parents shoes. I remember times when my mother would have me cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I would look in the refrigerator and map out how I would make the meals. There were times when I would be jumping on the inside waiting for my parents approval just like the little ones, for a job that I did well. But because I was older than the rest sometimes they did not see that I needed that praise just like the rest. The child next in line was often jealous because he felt that I was treated special and above all the rest. He would always say "I am the oldest boy", as if to compare to me being the oldest. There was sibling rivalry, he always tried to dethrone me. But no matter what I was the one that always had my parent's back. The one to clean behind the others, read them stories, get them ready for outings, comb hair, and find sock mates. Those were some days. I will never forget them. I feel like I was a mini mommy, trailing my mother's steps.

Is it fair to expect the oldest to help with the younger ones?

Some might think that it is not fair to have so many children and to expect the oldest to help with so much. I can agree that the oldest needs to be a child just as the rest. I do not think that most parents intend to forget this, it just happens as the load gets so heavy. Parents should prioritize their responsibilities and while the oldest should help, all the children should have jobs and should learn to be self sufficient as it is age appropriate. The younger ones in our family often did not do chores even when they were old enough. I started at 5 years old washing dishes, and cleaning the house. When they were at this age they would laugh if I asked them to do chores. Parents should endeavor to teach all their children responsibilities at the appropriate age, not just the older ones.

Why I think big families are great.

Now that I am a mother with my own children, I must say that big families are great.Despite all that one might think is negative about the subject, the companionship between siblings, the sharing and the learning from each other is a wonderful experience. There is a since of safety in numbers and a strength. When we look at each other we see pieces of our parents in each other and sometimes we even see ourselves as we deal with each other's personalities. It brings joy when you know you have a brother or sister that understands you because they have known you since you were little. Reunions, dinners, and birthdays are awesome. There are so many faces and people to love. And when parents are old, if they did a good job parenting their chances for being looked after as elderly parents are good. Sometimes when people just have one or two kids they are selfish and tend to not value caring for loved ones. Of course, selfishness can happen in any family, but when their are lots of offspring, parents have a greater probability of one of their children caring for them when they are older.

It is better for some couples to have just a few kids.

I have known people to have a lot of kids and they were not able to adequately care for them. Now adequate care means something different to different people. But to me it simply means do not have more kids than you can afford to give a high quality life. You do not have to be rich to have a big family. But it would be best to live in a safe home, with enough space. To also be able to provide your children with health care, education, healthy food,and transportation. Of course, everybody needs help every now and then. But when parents set out to have kids they should be planned for and prepared for. No one should just have lots of kids and not be able to love them all, or notice when one needs special attention. All children in big families need to recieve time and love. It is okay to grow up with hand-me-downs and shared rooms as long as mom and dad are there for the ups and downs and they provide at least a foundation for each of their many children to grow from.

If parents can not structure their lives to meet the needs of a large family then they might consider only having a few. I remember my mother once said that some people should not have children, and I believe this is true when parents know that they are not willing to do 100%.

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