Monday, October 22, 2012

The Injustice of Being the Oldest

Being the oldest, quite frankly, has no benefits, whatsoever.

Sure, you get to have the new technology first. But guess what? By the time your younger siblings get it, the technology is a million times more innovative, with more amazing new features that you will never get to have. Other times you get the same technology at the same time - so you get no advantage over your younger brothers and sisters. In fact, you're at a disadvantage because you're getting the technology late, and you're siblings are getting it early.
It's a lose-lose situation.

This is one of my personal examples of the unfairness of being the oldest child: when I finished 8th grade, my grandparents awarded me with enough money to buy a 32 GB iPod Touch. After waiting 5 long months, I finally got it, and I was utterly indebted and grateful to my grandparents. Then I found out that my mom had gotten one too, on a whim. Although that does not seem unfair at the onset, the truth of the matter became clear extremely soon: my mom rarely ever used her iPod, and it basically became my sister's. So basically, my sister got her first iPod when I did. Now let's speed up to present day. It has been almost 5 months since my sister finished 8th grade. She just got the newly-updated, wonderful iPod Touch with a 5 megapixel camera and flash. Those were the two things I had been wishing for ever since smartphones started coming out with high-quality cameras! Of course she was appreciative, but she felt that she was entitled to getting that iPod since I had got one two years ago. Yes, that's right, she felt entitled to it. So now in addition to virtually having an iPod as long as I have, she gets the brand new technology that she thinks she deserves. The injustice of that is enough to make me scream!

My parents always say, "You always get everything first, and you can't expect technology to remain stagnant. Your sister will always have the better technology because everything is always new-and-improved two years later. Deal with it." That's what they said about a car for me too. "You'll most likely use one of our current two cars when you get your license. We'll probably get your sister a new car when she gets her license, though." That's literally what my dad said.

Growing up, I have fallen victim of being the guinea pig to all of my parent's hopes and desires. Piano, is one subject I have been especially been bitter about. Forced to play since I was three years old, my mother never once let me quit even up until this day. How many times did my sister quit? Twice. And she doesn't even play it anymore. Instead she got to pursue her short-lived wishes like flute and voice lessons. It's just not fair.

What other disadvantages are there to being the oldest? I assure you, there are plenty more. The youngest children in the family are always shown the most favoritism by their parents. No matter what my sister does, if we are both involved, I always get blamed. They will not listen to my explanations, and if they do, they always fall on deaf or biased ears. My dad always automatically assumes that everything is my fault. Whenever he hears yelling or anything suspicious, he says, "Sarah! What are you doing?!" regardless of whether or not it is my fault. Whenever my parents punish us, they are always easier on her, or punish us equally when I had nothing to do with it.

Going to school is also initially worse for the oldest. You have no idea what to expect as you advance through school because you don't have any siblings that you can ask for advice or which teachers to avoid, or tips on what to do in different situations. Essentially, you are the guinea pig again. And then you are expected to pass all of your knowledge along to your younger sister or brother because your parents believe it is your duty to tell them all about it. The only possible downside of that is that your younger sibling may live in your shadow for the rest of their life, but that's a really small price to pay compared to the rest of things the oldests have to sacrifice.

I also had the "privilege" of being restricted from doing everything. I wasn't allowed to go to birthday parties, with few exceptions, no sleepovers, and I barely went out with friends - to the point where my friends even stopped asking me whether or not I wanted to come with them because they knew their efforts would be futile. My sister? She's allowed to do practically everything she wants to. She's extremely worldly and allowed to go out with her friends almost every time she asks. Sure, she makes a big stink about it, but my parents practically always eventually let her go. She was even allowed to have a boyfriend last summer!

I'll acknowledge that I'm biased against younger siblings because I am the oldest in my family, but that does not invalidate any of the previous arguments and paradigms. I could go on and on about inequity between siblings, but there just isn't enough space in one blog post to rant and rave about all the terrible things the oldests have to suffer.

1 comment:

  1. Mm. As the eldest child of my family, I can empathize with you to a degree. I too feel the pressure of being the first, the guinea pig. But is it not a pleasure to be the first? The first to do something and explore on your own? Yes, we may be at a disadvantage in comparison to our younger siblings as we never had such guidance, but on a personal level, I believe being the first at something within my family is something to be looked upon with determination and pride. A disclaimer,I have not experienced the things you have though, so I cannot relate in totality to your situation. Perhaps that is the problem.

    Anywho, onto English related comments. Strong opening sentences on each paragraph, good use of rhetorical questions and the tone is appropriate. No spelling or grammatical errors as far as I can see.