Does The Oldest/Older Sister HAVE To Be Mom? The FEASIBILITY Of This.................Scenario!!!
ROLE OF OLDEST DAUGHTER IN THE FAMILY CONSTELLATION
OLDEST SISTERS IN SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED FAMILIES
OLDEST SISTERS IN LARGE TO VERY LARGE FAMILIES
OLDEST SISTERS AND STRESS
Why Do I Have To MIND/RAISE Them, Aren't YOU The Parents- THEY Are YOUR Children, Not MINE!
I. THE ROLE OF FAMILY SIZE UPON THE STATUS OF THE OLDEST/OLDER SISTER IN THE FAMILY
The issue of an oldest/older sister assuming a mother role to younger siblings is dependent upon the respective family size of the family in question. Oldest/older sisters of a small family of 2-3 children usually are usually not expected to raise their younger siblings. Their role in the family constellation is often that of the advisory, cool and/or sophisticatedly knowledgeable older sister.
Oldest/older sisters in the small family often have the more glamorous role of the older sister and none of the drudgery of being the in locos parentis. They have a normal childhood and adolescence,unencumbered of caretaking responsibilities. Thus they are allowed to freely develop their own individual personas and utmost human potential. Although they are the oldest/older in their families, they are not pushed into raising and/or assuming major caretaking responsibilities as their parents are the ones assuming the major parenting roles in the family.
In the small family culture, it is the parents who assume the major responsibility of raising their children. Families of 2-3 children can be effectively raised by the parents without any outside and/or inhouse assistance. Parents of small families can easily give individualized attention to their children so they usually do not need the oldest/older sister to raise the younger sibling/siblings. Oldest/older sisters in small families are often not saddled with child rearing responsibilities as the parents have an adequate span of control over the number of children.
Oldest/older sisters in medium size families of 4 children are often not asked to be the in locos parentis of their younger siblings. Dependent upon the age of the younger siblings in question, they may be asked to babysit on certain occasions. Although 4 children may lean towards a large amount of children, this size still can be effectively raised by the parents without any outside and/or inhouse assistance.
Oldest/older sisters in medium size families may assume somewhat responsible roles regarding their younger siblings. This is done only occasionally such as babysitting duties and/or taking them to events when the parents are not available to do so. In essence, they may have more responsibilities than the oldest/older sister of a small family but those duties are usually not all encompassing. They have a semblance of a normal childhood and/or adolescence. Parents of such families usually assume the duties of raising the children.
Parenting duties of oldest/older sisters in medium large families of 5-6 children is dependent upon their respective family structures and/or parental system. Some oldest/older sisters in medium large families do not have to raise their younger siblings as the parents assume the responsibilities in raising them. Other parents may have relatives, nannies, and/or other child care personnel look after their children.
Some parents enlist the oldest/older sister into more responsible duties because they are not able to effectively raise their children on their own. They believe that it is the duty of the oldest/older sister to assume such duties whether it is chaperoning and/or chauffeuring their younger siblings and babysitting on a as per needed basis. They contend that by virtue of the oldest/older sister's particular birth order system, she should assume the responsibility of looking after her younger siblings. These parents portend that after all, they simply cannot raise the children on their own- that is humanely impossible for them to do so without any assistance.
In megafamilies of 7 or more children, it is totally de rigueur for the oldest/older sister to assuming parenting duties for their younger siblings. Although there are megafamilies who have outside assistance in raising their children, such megafamilies are in the extreme minority. Typical megafamilies compel their oldest/older daughters to act as a second parent to their younger siblings.
In megafamilies, it is totally impossible for parents to effectively raise their children on their own. It can be quite daunting emotionally, mentally, and psychologically for parents to raise a family of 7 or more children. Raising such a large number of children can tax even the most patient parents.
it is the oldest/older sister in the megafamily who often does not have a childhood and/or adolescence at all. She spends those periods being the surrogate parent to her younger siblings. The oldest/older sister in a megafamily is often on call to her parents and/or younger siblings 24/7/365. It is often said that the childhood of the oldest/older sister in a megafamily is comparative to the days in the winter solstice.
In fact, many parents of megafamilies have an unwritten and unspoken expectation that the oldelst/older sister raise the younger siblings. These parents portend that naturally they cannot raise such a large amount of children alone. They further assert that since the oldest/older sister is the older among the sibling, she can assume the parenting duties. They contend that after all because the oldest/older sister is well, older, she is quite capable of caring and being responsible for the younger siblings-no questions asked!
II. IS IT FAIR TO THE OLDEST/OLDER SISTER IN THE FAMILY TO ASSUME PARENTING DUTIES TO THE YOUNGER SIBLINGS
Many oldest/older sisters, especially in megafamilies, feel quite put down and exploited being always on call to their younger siblings. As a result of parenting duties being thrust upon them at a young age, they do not have a normal childhood and/or adolescence. The typical oldest/older sister in a megafamilies can be aptly described as a parentified child. A parentified child is a child who assumes a parental role of being the primary caretaker of the family.
Oldest/older sisters in megafamilies do assume the major parenting role in the family. It is she who often is the parental caretaker of the family. Many mothers of megafamilies assume only a minor parental role regarding caretaking responsibilities. Since mothers of megafamilies cannot usually raise a megafamily alone, she has the oldest/older daughter assume the mothering duties. These duties included caring and feeding the younger siblings, being an per diem babysitter, and/or related duties.
In small to medium sized families, although the oldest/older sister may be asked to babysit occasionally dependent upon the age of the younger sibling and/or parental circumstances, this is not a constant. The major responsibilities in caring for younger siblings in the family falls upon the parents. Oldest/older sisters in small to medium sized families are not pressurized to be the parentified child like their counterparts in megafamilies.
III. RESULT OF THE OLDEST/OLDER SISTER HAVING TO ASSUME PARENTING DUTIES TO HER YOUNGER SIBLINGS
Many oldest/older sisters, especially in megafamilies, had childhoods and adolescence which were so encumbered that it is their desire to have a totally unencumbered adulthood. They had no time to be normal children and teenagers because they were the parents. They also have a hatred for and/or resentment of their parents because of being forced into caretaking and/or other parenting duties before they are either able and/or ready to do so.
Some oldest/older sisters because they were thrust in parenting roles, learned to put everyone's needs first. In many families, oldest/older daughters were taught that it is not nice and/or selfish to voice their needs. Because they were inculcated to put everyone else before themselves, they are usually non-assertive regarding their own needs. They also tend to be let others take advantage of them because they are loathe to assert their needs and individuality.
Quite a few oldest/older daughters use a passive-aggressive mechanism in order to be appreciated. They often adopt the martyr psychology in order to get noticed and to be appreciated by their parents and/or younger siblings. It is the psychology, look at all I have done for you, you should be thankful for a sister/daughter such as me, you ungrateful #$%##@!
There are oldest/older sisters who avidly avoid any type of responsibility once they become adults because of being so saddled with responsibility as children and adolescence. Those responsibilities could include job, relationships, and/or other variables and factors. There are some oldest/older daughters who elect to be childfree because they spent their childhood and adolescence raising and being mother to their younger siblings. They figured that they have raised children already, so it is time for THEM to say the least.
Then there are oldest/older sisters who are mothers to everyone. They actually believe that they know more than anyone else whether it is siblings, friends, spouse, lover/significant other, other relatives, and/or associates. They portend that since they are the oldest/older, they know things that the other people do not know. They further assert that since they have this knowledge, experience and/or expertise, others are to do as they say.
Some oldest/older sisters are actual control freaks and on quite a power trip. These girls/women view others as lesser than they are. Because of this, they believe that they have the unmitigated right to dominate those who they perceive to be "less"- whether it is knowledge, education, social status, and/or other factors involved. They are often uncomfortable and threatened by those who are as strong and/or stronger than they are. They are not able to dominate and/or demoralize such people. They prefer people who are weaker than they are because in that way, they can effectively use their power to manipulate and bend them to their will. Their philosophy is might=power=unmitigated and absolute right!
In summation, the status of the oldest/older daughter in the family constellation is not constant. Her respective familial status is dependent upon the specific family and parental structure involved. Also, the issue of family size is a strong component in that regard.
Oldest/older daughters in small families usually do not have to assume parental duties because parents can adequate raise that number of children without any outside and/or inhouse assistance. As families become larger, oldest/older daughters are usually enlisted in caretaking and parental duties to their younger siblings. In megafamilies of 7 or more children, it is often de rigueur for the oldest/older daughters to assume the duties of the parentified child to the younger siblings as the parents are emotionally unable to raise such an extremely large number of children alone.
The results of the oldest/older daughter being a parent to younger siblings are quite varied. Some resent their parents for forcing them to assume parenting roles in their childhood, thus missing out on a normal childhood. Quite a few learn that their needs do not count since they always prioritized the needs of others in their families.
Many adopt the martyr complex in a bid to be appreciated by their respective families. Others adopt either a maternalistic and/or control freak mentality, believing that since they were the responsible ones, others are not as responsible and need their guidance so to speak. Many an oldest/older daughter are not allowed to be carefree children and often are assigned onerous responsible and parenting roles based upon their ordinal positions in the family. Yes, she may be the oldest/older daughter but she should also be free to be a child and enjoy childhood and adolescence.
© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams