Life As an Older Child

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When you’re born with a sibling or more, there tend to be times where you either want to hug them to death, or you want to choke them to death. If you’re the oldest sibling, you’re like me. Plenty of times, we’ve gotten blamed for their mistakes, have had to forgive their actions when it really sets us off, and, most importantly, we’re supposed to be their biggest role model. Being the oldest child in a Tamil family certainly has its perks and downfalls. Here are a few.

PERKS

• Hand-me-downs were never a thing for you.

You were the one to get the fresh-out-of-the-store clothes. They may not have been high-end, but at least they weren’t worn before. Your sibling(s) on the other hand; tough luck.

• They’re expected to follow your footsteps

As the Acca or Anna, achieving things that made your parents proud usually followed with a lecture for the young ones how they should be like you. Brought home a kick-ass report card and Amma would say “See, you should be like Acca.” Ah, good times.

• You’re their human superhero

Low-key, you love your sibling(s) to death. No matter how much you say you hate them; let’s be real, you’d still take a bullet for them. The need to protect them goes down as they grow older, but you know you’ll do anything to prevent them from getting hurt. They won’t admit they need you, but they do know you’ll be there through their times of need. Super cute eh?

• You get dibs on mostly everything

• Your siblings cherish your advice

You’re older, therefore, you’re wise in their eyes.

• Amma and Appa love you more

Self-explanatory.

DOWNFALLS

• They steal your clothes, it’s okay. You steal their clothes; “YOU GUYS HAVE YOUR OWN CLOTHES. WHY ARE YOU FIGHTING FOR EACH OTHERS’ CLOTHES?”
Wyd Amma?

• Mistakes aren’t an option

Being the oldest in a Tamil family isn’t easy. You’re reared to behave older and more mature to set examples for not only your sibling(s), but for younger cousins also.
Being the oldest = more responsibility = no space for mistakes

• They snake…

BIGGEST PYTHONS. Not all the time, but they do…

• They’re expected to follow your footsteps

Notice I put this point under perks too? The minute you slack off; whether in school or life in general, Amma pulls out the “YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO SET YOUR SISTER EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW!” card out. Of course, followed by words like kurungu, nai, etc. You get the picture.

• They got a phone when you got a phone…

This hits hard at home for me. Unless you independent human beings bought your phones yourselves, it’s usually Appa who bought you your first phone. After YEARS of begging, you had to wait a few extra years compared to them.

• Easier sailing for the younger ones

Ever had a hard time convincing your parents to let you go to formal, or semi, or even some party? “Who are you going with?” “Who’s coming?” “Why are you going?” Why, why, why. If you’re a girl, you often get asked “enna, aatam kaata poriya?” Anyways, once you’ve worked hard to get the yes, your younger sibling(s) don’t go through the same interrogation phase you did. Fam… like?

• Thinking of attending an out-of-city university? Oh hell to the no.

Waterloo? Western? Ottawa? Don’t bother thinking about it if you’re the oldest child. Amma’s excuse: “She’ll miss you.” Your parents prefer you commuting to and from home. With great force, some of us have gotten the approval (woohoo!). For the younger sibling(s), choosing to attend an out-of-city university is way easily granted. *eye-roll*

• Amma and Appa are still learning with you

Sometimes they’re a yes. Other times they’re a no. For their oldest child, they always want to make sure they’re doing the whole parenting thing right, so decision-making is usually awkward for us. Patience is major key, my friend.

Being the oldest clearly come with its perks and downfalls. No regrets in my life though. Just trying to make the best of being a good role model to the younger ones around me.

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Saliga Premakumar

Saliga Premakumar

First of all, she loves to get lost in her artwork. Saliga is an undergraduate student at York University who's working towards a degree in psychology. As an individual, her goals go as far as wanting to help those around her, and being able to give back to the community. She is the founder of @StainsOfInk.

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10 thoughts on “Life As an Older Child

  1. I’m never babied. I have wanted apple crisp for how long now? I still haven’t gotten it. Wow especially with everything im going through right now. Times are tough and I’m starving.

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