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11 Struggles Only Oldest Siblings Can Relate To

11 Struggles Only Oldest Siblings Can Relate To

Being the eldest of the siblings means you get a lot of advantages and you learn a lot of important lessons—such as compassion and patience—early in your life. However, being the first born is not as smooth a ride as it is perceived, and it is not all fun and games being the oldest of your siblings. While you sometimes get to boss your siblings around and you get first dibs at everything, there is also a lot of responsibility and pressure that rests on your little shoulders if you are the first born. Here are 11 struggles that oldest siblings can totally relate to:

1. You have to be a role model for your younger siblings, even if you don’t want to be

Your younger siblings look up to you as their greatest role model and so you have to be perfect. If you are a first born, you get this constant reminder that you have to set a good example for your siblings to follow. Every time you get into trouble, it is magnified by tenfold, and you are reminded of how you are not living up to the standards of the position you hold.

2. You are blamed by your parents for everything, only because you are the oldest

Having younger siblings basically means that you are in trouble when they are in trouble. Because you are older, even if you aren’t at fault, you are the one to be blamed since you are supposed to know better. Who forgot to put the bikes in the shed before it started to snow? Your little brother, but technically it was you, because you should have made sure he did it. So, you get the blame for almost every wrong thing that they do or whenever they cause any trouble. On the other hand, they don’t get into trouble because they are “not old enough to understand.” You are actually the one who is supposed to be watching them, after all.

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3. You want to be the cool one but you have to be the responsible one

You are constantly torn between being the cool one and being the responsible one. You like being cool because it’s fun, but then you are supposed to be mature and responsible.

4. You fear losing games to your younger siblings

Since you are the eldest, you like maintaining your “superior” status. Therefore, you try your best to win any game you play with the younger ones. It is a dark day for you if you lose any game to them.

5. You are under more pressure to succeed at school

The older ones are also expected to be smarter and get better grades at school. If your little brother or sister gets an A in Math and you get a B, your mother looks for an answer from you. Contrastingly, if you get an A and the younger one gets a B, you are now to additionally serve as their tutor and help them excel.

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6. You have to be ready for unpaid babysitting all the time

You are the babysitter for your siblings if your mother is doing the laundry, going out shopping, or is busy in the kitchen. You are the on-call babysitter and any plans that you might have do not seem to matter.

7. You have to make a case for staying up late or having cool gadgets, while your siblings are allowed to do all that at a younger age

You wanted to stay up late and watch a movie but you were not allowed. You wanted a cellphone, so you had to beg and beg for it and when you got it, it also came with a long list of rules. Yet, it seems that your younger siblings are allowed these privileges at a younger age and with fewer rules. The statement: “You never allowed me do that when I was that old” is, therefore, often uttered in your life—even you have lost count of the times you have said it.

8. You had to manage your frustration when your sibling was born and everything stopped being just about you

Life seemed to be great as an only child. You got all the attention, affection, love, and care of your parents. But when the new baby made an entrance as your sibling, they became the receiver of all this attention. Frustration and jealousy engulfs you when you do not get the same amount of attention and have to share everything with your younger siblings.

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9. You have to make a lot of sacrifices

Sometimes it’s unwillingly, but you have to make a lot of sacrifices if you are oldest of the siblings. These may include not being allowed to have certain toys that your younger siblings might swallow bits of, or having to watch TV shows that are too young for you, or having to stay at home to babysit them when you want to go out and party.

10. You can’t keep any secrets because the little ones are always on a lookout for you

When you have younger siblings, it is very unlikely that you can get away with anything or keep any secrets. They will continue to spy on you like a creeper, and will go running to your mom and dad as soon as they find out anything new. So it is difficult to have friends over, as your younger siblings refuse to stop bugging you.

11. You are often accused of being bossy, while you are just playing your role

You have to be assertive at times to protect them and make sure that they stay out of trouble. However, this is frustrating for them and they accuse you of being bossy, when actually you are simply acting your role.

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Conclusion

These are just a few of the struggles that go along with being the oldest sibling. However, being the eldest myself, I know that despite all responsibilities and pressures, being the oldest sibling is still one of the best things that could happen to someone, and one of the proudest titles to have.

Featured photo credit: UNICEF Ukraine via flickr.com

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Mehwish A. Wahid

Writer and Researcher

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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