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Pros and Cons of Being the Oldest Child in the Family

Just call me the test dummy.

Big sister to a brother and big cousin to numerous cousins, I have officially figured out all the pros and cons of being the oldest child in the family. There are moments of sweet glory, and there are moments of annoyance. I love being able to have some authority over them (haha), but get so incredibly angry when I see my younger brother specifically get away with things that I never would have been able to get away with.

  1. Pro: You had everything first. All the toys and clothes, they were yours before they were anyone else's. Have fun with my hand-me-downs!
  2. Con: You're looked at for homework help. Let's face it, after a certain age, your parents look at your homework like it has four heads. Now that that subject has recycled itself, it's all eyes on you to help your younger family member figure it out.
  3. Pro: But they helped you with all those art projects you had to do at home before they had to help anyone else, which means they obviously put more effort into yours.
  4. Con: Or it means your project came out horribly and your younger sibling definitely got more attention for their project. Whatever.
  5. Pro: All your younger family members sort of look up to you, which is pretty awesome.
  6. Con: Being the oldest means you're the first kid to do everything, well, first. Getting in trouble in school, staying out past curfew, ditching a family party to go to a ~real party.~ You're unavoidably going to get yelled at way more, and by the time your younger family members are doing it, the adults in your family won't be phased by it. You're welcome!!!
  7. Pro: If the age gap is big enough, you eventually gain authority. 
  8. Con: Since you "broke in" all the adults in the family to modern teenagers, you're younger family members get WAY more freedom, WAY sooner, AND don't even get yelled at once for asking permission to do whatever it is. COOL!
  9. Pro: You have a special bond with the adults because you were the first kid in the family. First child, grandchild, niece/ nephew... you hold a significant title to everyone.
  10. Con: You hit the real world first. While I'm thinking about full-time employment, graduate school, establishing myself...they're thinking of parties or what they're going to do with their friends this summer.
  11. Pro: You get to watch everyone grow up and play a large role in who they are, who they become, and who they'll turn into. It's pretty amazing watching my brother and younger cousins grow up, and I love feeling like I have some influence on who they're becoming.
  12. Con: You're the oldest CHILD, which means in most cases, the "real" adults still view you as too young to be involved in family business, and the "real" children think you're too old to understand what they're talking about. Talk about being stuck in the middle.
  13. Pro: I get to hold onto my childhood a lot longer by living through their experiences. Watching my brother go to dances, football games, and soon prom and graduation makes me feel a little rooted to what high school life was like, and watching my younger cousins go through their elementary years reminds me of what it was like to be an actual kid. Its refreshing to put yourself in their shoes every once in a while.
  14. Con: You almost become a communicator between both parties. I have to justify the kids to the adults and the adults to the kids. Compromise? I'll probably have to think of one.
  15. Pro: I get to have unique relationships with everyone (refer to numbers nine and 11). While I get to be a first something for every adult, I also get to be a big sister and big cousin, which means that my younger family members will always feel comfortable talking to me (I'm younger than the real adults, we'll relate more, and my advice is more current, duh), know they can have fun with me, and know that I'll always protect them.

While I could try to continue and think of more cons for this list, the truth is that I love being the oldest child in my family. It obviously has its ups and downs, but these pros will always outweigh the cons. Shout out to all my fellow oldest children, it has for sure made for an interesting family life!

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