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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 February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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