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10 Things You Learn Growing Up As the Eldest Sibling

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10 Things You Learn Growing Up As the Eldest Sibling

Are you the eldest sibling in your family? Being the eldest sibling comes with both difficult responsibilities and entertaining advantages, from babysitting for free to having a pass to be as bossy as you like.

Check out 10 funny things you learn growing up as the eldest sibling.

1. You were raised with strict rules.

You were the first child your parents raised, so they wanted to make sure they got it right. You were forced to join clubs, you had early curfews and your parents stressed over every cut and bruise you got. Your parents had relaxed by the time your siblings came along, so their youth was much easier.

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2. All of your toys were brand new.

There were upsides to being the eldest siblings, such as being the only sibling to get brand new toys. You were given brand new clothes, toys and game systems—and when you grew bored of them, they were passed onto your younger siblings. They said it wasn’t fair, but you think you deserved it as a reward for the strict parenting you went through.

3. You hated having to sit at the kids’ table.

When it came to Thanksgiving or family events you were always seated at the kids table, and you were always the oldest one there. You didn’t feel quite right sitting at the kids’ table—the chairs were way too small for you, but the adult’s table looked boring to you as well.

4. You are experienced in being bossy.

If your siblings did something bad, you were just as likely to get shouted at as they were for not stopping them. So whenever your younger siblings tried to draw on the walls or cut their own hair, you shouted at them. Then you got into trouble for making them cry.

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5. Staying out late was more of a problem for you than your siblings.

Due to your parent’s strict rules, you spent your teenage years abiding by a very early curfew. You always made sure you were home in time, whereas your siblings regularly arrived home in the early hours of the morning—and your parents never said anything.

6. You fear losing games to your younger siblings.

After years of being the oldest and the bossiest, you fear losing any games to your younger siblings. From soccer to Jenga, you always have to win.

7. You were a cheap babysitter.

You grew up with a paid babysitter looking after you when your parents went out, but they realized you were a much cheaper alternative for your younger siblings. So you became a babysitter every Friday night, and you wonder why you were paid so little—that is, if you were paid at all.

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8. You can never decide if you want to be the cool one or the responsible one.

You like the idea of drinking with your younger siblings, but if they have too many or puff on a cigarette, you immediately start worrying. It’s a tough struggle wanting to look after your siblings while also wanting to be their best friend.

9. You’re used to taking the blame.

You were supposed to “set a good example” for your siblings, so if they did something wrong, you both got in trouble instead of just them. Even if your sibling was 6 and you were 7.

10. You’re very proud of your siblings.

Despite the added responsibilities, you loved helping raise and shape your younger siblings. You are proud of everything they have achieved, and know you will always be there for your younger siblings.

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What did you think of this list? Share this list with any eldest siblings you know who you know could relate!

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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