[#145] Date: 21st October, 2021
When I was a kid and going around with my parents and siblings, when strangers got chatting with my parents, they liked to comment that I was a boy. When they were corrected, they then said, "Oh, youngest daughter? How precious."
How hateful, 'cos that's just too far from the truth. 😂 It's the common perception that being the youngest, we always get pampered by our parents, enjoy some luxuries in life, and generally get treated better compared to our older siblings.
This may be the case for most, even among my friends, but I know for a fact that it's not so with my family. Parents can deny all they want that they treat all children the same but nobody can beat that unique position of being the firstborn. From my observation, parents can handle two children at best. More than that and they run out of gas. They can't be bothered about hygiene or doing things for and with their subsequent children, because as the Chinese saying goes, "A child is God's gift, God will take care of him/her."
And if the age gap is wide between the children, the parents are older by then and lack stamina. For children who are older, they might even need to help care for their younger siblings. This also cannot be a sweeping statement, though, as I know of a girl who refused to take care of her younger brother, 11 years her junior, because, and I quote, "He is not my son." 😂
People who are close to me know that even as the youngest, I was never given preferential treatment. This is not the case of me playing victim, and I don't care either way whether I am treated better or not, because I am an adult now and my own individual. It's just that I love studying people and I've seen all sorts of parents, without passing judgment on whether they are doing right or wrong. I guess I can do so because I am not a parent myself, hence impartial. 😂
Even when you read up on the syndromes of birth orders being the oldest, middle or youngest child, the youngest is said to be overly pampered or coddled and is considered a negative trait. Again, in my family, whether oldest, middle or youngest, we were all overly-protected due to the deep-seated fear that our dad has of losing us somehow due to an accident or whatever.
The funny thing is that when my friends discovered that I'm the youngest in the family, and yet the one shouldering the bulk of the responsibilities, they joke that I was picked up from the dumpsite. Hahaha I actually would like to think that, but then again, when people look at us, they claim that we are from the same cookie cutter. There's no running away from DNA, even though I personally do not see it!
Oh yes, and then there is also the "only child syndrome", described as 'spoilt", which I think is almost the same as being the firstborn, especially when the second child arrives only after many years, some up to 12 years!
So, my question to you is, what is your birth order? Are you the oldest, middle child, or oldest? Or perhaps you are an only child? Are common perceptions or stereotyping about birth orders accurate in your case? I actually do see the traits in my older brother (authoritarian as the firstborn) and older sister (even-tempered as the middle child), but just not on myself, as the most precious baby of the family. Hahaha what a joke!
*Lead photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels