The curious case of the firstborns

Imagine a scenario where,  just as you are getting used to having all the office to yourself, owning every space and getting all the love and recognition, another colleague is introduced with neither your consent, nor your prior knowledge. From then on, the usual hug becomes occasional, the complements fade away and you are mostly left to cling to your computer as everyone is busy getting carried away by your new colleague.

These are firstborns for you!

When i first thought about this article, I rummaged through the internet and it was not a surprise when i found a myriad of pages elaborating different facts about firstborns. Here are a few good ones for those interested.

They are high achievers:-

Almost half of all United States presidents have, to date, been first born in their families as opposed to only 4 who were lastborns.

This only strengthened by belief that these special human beings go a long way in shaping the direction a family takes. They are guides, protectors, advisers and the link between parents and the younger siblings.

More often than not, they get the hardest deal as far as upbringing is concerned. On top of being born at a time when their parents are in the poorest phase of their family lives, most of them are welcomed to this world by parents eager to prove to the society, as well as themselves that they can be good parents, and that they can iron out all the inefficiencies they faced as children. They therefore subconsciously try to make their firstborns as perfect as possible. This, coupled up with the fact that they are active and full of energy (based on their age) ensures that every small mistake the firstborn child makes is likely to be noticed and punished!

A study in Essex’s Institute for social and Economic Research revealed that the oldest children in families have a 16 percent greater chance of going to college. As much as this may not be the case here in Kenya based on the fact that some firstborns have had to leave school to help their parents look after the younger children, what is evident is the willingness of firstborns to be the best. Having to work with very small margins of error influences their personalities and it is therefore not uncommon to find that they are perfectionists.

Firstborns trend into grounds unknown, with nobody to compare notes with. As they grow old, the pressure of being good examples to the rest dawns on them and if not well managed, this can affect their personalities.

What they don’t know is how much they affect who, the rest of us (younger siblings) become. They provide a platform for us to operate in and give us assurances that it is possible. This in its own way alienates our anxiety and gives us an immediate measure of our success or failures. We are punished less severely, treated in more subtle ways and given more freedom because parenting methods have already been tested on them.

The least we owe them is our love, respect and gratitude. I do.

Till next time,


PS: In unrelated news, a big shout out to Arsenal for winning 2-0 at the home of current champions Man City. For Santi Cazorla, take a bow son!


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