ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Being the Oldest Child

Updated on October 23, 2012
Winston Churchill was a first born child, the eldest of two brothers.
Winston Churchill was a first born child, the eldest of two brothers.

This is the third in a series of articles I have written on birth order and how it can affect peoples’ lives, both as children and as adults. People who are born oldest, in the middle, and youngest all have certain images and stereotypes associated with them. In many cases, the conventional wisdom regarding birth order may not be accurate, but in other situations it may hit the mark.

After interviewing my sister (the middle child) and my brother (the youngest child), I am now going to interview myself – yes, myself - about being an oldest child. This should be interesting.

The Interview

Did you have feelings of jealousy or insecurity when your younger siblings were born? If so, what strategies did you use to receive attention?

Well, I have no memory of this, since I was only two, but I reportedly had quite a difficult time adjusting when my sister was born. My parents bought me a Big Wheel tricycle as a present, and I allegedly ran over my sister’s fingers with it. I seem to have had an easier time when my brother was born a couple of years later. However, I still hadn’t gotten used to having Cate around. I reportedly asked my parents if my sister could be returned to the hospital after my brother was born!

How do you think your life would have been different if you had been a middle child?

I would probably have had many of the same issues my sister did, although being a guy would probably have helped in some regard. My sister was not only the middle child, but the first (and only) daughter of the family. This led to the usual increased amount of protectiveness and scrutiny.

However, the oldest child also has to deal with an even more significant amount of scrutiny from his or her parents. When they have their first child, parents often have an idealistic, strict attitude toward parenting. We become experimental guinea pigs, which leads to benefits for the younger children later on.

Both middle and youngest children have a blueprint to follow. They can use the oldest child to learn what to do (or not to do, as may often be the case). The oldest child has no one to emulate and must blaze his or her own trail.

How do you think your life would have been different if you had been the youngest child?

I would definitely have been able to take advantage of laxer rules. However, I also would have been teased more. Every birth order has its advantages and disadvantages.

What advantages does being the oldest child have?

Being the oldest child can teach you a fair amount about responsibility, caution and conscientiousness.

What disadvantages does being the oldest child have?

Like I wrote before, the oldest kid inevitably receives the strictest parenting. Parents usually relax with the younger siblings, especially the youngest.

Do you feel that you lacked a sense of identity?

No, actually this could be considered one of the perks. The oldest child is probably the only one who DOESN’T have this issue. We have a very lucid conception of our place in the family.

Oldest children are sometimes stereotypically known for being cautious, careful, and exhibiting perfectionist qualities. Do you think that you fit any of these attributes?

I think I am a relatively cautious person. I do not usually consider myself a perfectionist, but I can be very nitpicky about my writing. I will often repeatedly read through and edit articles like this, trying to get every word just right.

Other stereotypes of oldest children are that they are bossy, snobby, and solitary. Do you feel that you have any of these attributes?

Bossy and snobby? I probably was sometimes as a kid. I don’t think I typically am now. Solitary? Yes. I spent many hours in my room by myself, in my own little world, as a kid.

Famous oldest children include Reese Witherspoon, Harrison Ford, Walter Cronkite, and Winston Churchill. Which one of them do you think you are most like (if any)? Which one of them would you like to be (if any)?

I don’t think I am very much like any of them, but if I have to choose, I will go with Walter Cronkite. Both of us have a strong interest in political/historical issues. As for whom I’d like to be, I'll go with Winston Churchill.

Overall, how do you think being the oldest child has affected your life?

Like my brother said, your birth order shapes your familial relationships, as well as other relationships that you have. Being an oldest child is a significant part of my identity.

Top of the Totem Pole

Are you an eldest child? How do you think it has affected your life? Leave a comment if you wish.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • nanderson500 profile imageAUTHOR

      nanderson500 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thank you for the comments! Good insights!

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      This is a great hub. The oldest child is the standard bearer for the younger siblings. He/she is expected to be the tough and strong one. He/she is held to a higher and tougher standard than the younger siblings in the family. He/she is often expected to be adultlike earlier.

      Oldest children because they are dethroned oftentimes feel abandoned by their parents. They sublimate this feeling into being the perfect child and the overachiever in order to get parental attention and love. The oldest child is often the toughest of all birth orders. He/she must be there for parents and siblings 24/7/365.

      I was not the oldest child but my mother was. She was always the responsible one for her numerous siblings. Even in adulthood, she took the weight for them. The life of the oldest child is not easy whatsoever. Many oldest children are what one would call overburdened.

    • nanderson500 profile imageAUTHOR

      nanderson500 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks for the comment, Sueswan! Yes, I think it's easier to get along with siblings as adults.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 

      5 years ago

      Hi nanderson500

      I am the oldest child. I can relate to being cautious and careful but I wouldn't call my self a perfectionist.

      I was not jealous when my sister came along. We are only a year apart. She was jealous of me. I still can remember her pulling me off my mother's lap as a very young child. We get along famously now. :)

      Voted up and awesome

      Take care

    • nanderson500 profile imageAUTHOR

      nanderson500 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks, shiningirisheyes. I agree.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Good review on the oldest child. I enjoy your funny take on it as well. I do thing the oldest child has it the toughest. Parents are just learning and tend to expect a bit more from this position in the family. The children who follow after have it a bit easier after much trial and error of the oldest child.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)