Elder children always have a feeling that they are avoided by their parents. What can parents do about it?
Oldest children are not avoided by their parents. In many families, they are cast aside and waylaided in favor of younger siblings. Many parents see their oldest children as protoadults. They feel that their oldest children are somewhat self-sufficient, not needing them as much as their younger children. Oldest children are seen as the standard bearers and example setters for their younger siblings. They also have unwritten parental expectations to be the responsible one as far as the younger siblings go.
The oldest child must be ever perfect and stoic from an early age. He/she is expected to MAN/WOMAN up and not to be a child. Oldest children are the ones who are punished and disciplined the hardest by their parents, oftentimes for things the younger siblings do. Oldest children usually have the shortest childhoods of any birth order constellation. Yes, they are placed in authoritative positions early in life. They have to be the strong ones in the family. Their familial situation is that THEY have to grin and bear whatever life throws their way.
Yes, the life of the oldest child in the family is quite arduous to say the least. He/she is viewed only as an usable and servicable commodity by the parents, if not left on his/her own. Studies show that oldest children in families tend to be hugged less and show any outward form of affection than younger children in the family. It is many parent's belief that oldest children do not need such coddling as they are too old for such. Parents tend to be more demanding and harsh towards their oldest children for this reason.
However, the status of the oldest child in the family is dependent upon many factors. These factors include socioeconomic status, education, and family size. Oldest children in small and medium size families(2-4 children per household) have a much easier time being the oldest. There is more of an equal parity among children in small families. Oldest children in small and medium sized families are not cast aside and waylaided. They are treated as well as their younger sibling counterparts in the family.
In medium large, large, and very large families, oldest children(5 and more children per household) are either usable and servicable commodities to their parents and/or younger siblings or they are objects of benign parental neglect. In medium large to very large famililes, the oldest child is often cast aside in parental favor to younger siblings. In fact, in the average medium large to very large family, oldest children are viewed as the second wheel in the familial scheme of things. They are not viewed as important as the younger children in the family.
Many oldest children in large and very large families particularly can be classified as parentified children. They often assume parental roles to their younger siblings. They are THE REAL and TRUE parents of the family. Many such children have no normal, formative childhoods and adolescence, oftentimes spending those times raising younger siblings. The oldest child in large and very large families(6 and more children per household) have NO individual life as their counterparts in small and medium sized families. Oldest children in large and very large families do not get to do the normal childhood and adolescent activities but must spend those years at the beck and call of their parents and younger siblings.
It can be aptly stated that the greater the number of siblingship, the more adverse impact upon the oldest child. Oldest children oftentimes bear the brunt in multichild family situations. Furthermore, the larger the siblingship, the worse the oldest child has it.
Parents oftentimes fail to realize that oldest children are children also. They expect their oldest children to be little adults and assume adult responsibilities although they do not have the capacity to assume such arduous responsibilities. Parents, especially those in medium large to very large families, have to learn to treat their oldest child with more love. They also have to pay more individualized attention to their oldest child. They must let him/her be free and spontaneous-yes, to be a normal child and adolescent. They also must not be so unrelenting and unforgiving to the oldest child if he/she fails or makes a mistake.
Here is the link, Dr. Kevin Leman on birth order,
Many oldest children, especially those from large-very large families, become quite embittered because they were thrust into adult roles in childhood. It is typical for oldest children to be the parents of the family to their youngest siblings. In addition to that, they are often cast aside by their parents.
Many oldest children receive little or no parental attention. That is why they are often contentious towards their younger siblings. They see their younger siblings having opportunities that they did not have. They also see how their younger siblings have it easier than they did.
The 'life' of an oldest child can be either quite celestial(small & medium sized families), quite purgatorial(medium large families) or quite hellish(large & very large families).
In small families 2 children, oldest children have equal parity w/their youngest sibling in terms of parental time, educational, & socioeconomic opportunities. In large families, oldest/older children get the shaft. They are either cast aside & disregarded or put into the servant role a la Cinderella to serve parents & younger siblings 24/7/365. They also have the LEAST parent-child time, educational, & socioeconomic opportunities. It is NO ACCIDENT that oldest/older children in large families are THE LEAST successful & educated as they have to drop out of school to support their families of origin. While in small families, it is the OLDEST child who is the most successful, even if equally educated like the youngest sibling, in large families, it is the DIAMETICAL OPPOSITE-it is the youngest sibling in large families who are THE MOST educated & socioeconomically successful. FACTS are FACTS- F-A-C-T-S!
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