Being the oldest sibling has some downsides

Oct 18 • Opinion • 240

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I am the oldest daughter in my family. I have two younger sisters, Danielle and Madeline.

While I was home for break, I got to sit in the back seat of my dad’s car as Madeline drove. Madeline is 17 and just got her permit three months ago. She has spent about four hours practicing with my dad in his car during the past few months.

I have had my permit for over two years and have yet to get behind the wheel. After I got my permit, my parents told me that neither of them would teach me in their vehicles because they didn’t want to risk me wrecking it.

They also said if I wanted to learn, I’d have to go through the driving school. But they said I’d have to pay for it myself too, and I can’t afford that.

My dad refused to teach me in his car, but Madeline has only practiced driving his car around.

When I was home this past week, the one night my dad said he would take me driving the next morning in the large empty parking lot next to his apartment complex.

We woke up the next morning and went out running errands and got busy with other stuff, so he didn’t end up taking me out to drive.

This made me realize how differently children are treated by their parents and relatives, depending on when they were born.

The oldest, me, is expected to be responsible and is put in charge of watching over the younger siblings. The oldest has more weight and responsibility placed on his/her shoulders. The oldest ultimately has it tougher growing up.

On the other hand, the youngest get more freedom and usually have things handed to them, requiring them to put in less effort.

It’s unfair that children are treated differently based on their birth order. For those of you who don’t have siblings, I don’t know if that means you had it easier growing up not having siblings or harder because you were the only child.

The reason that my family gives me as to why I haven’t learned how to drive yet is because I’m here in Erie and not home in New York. But when I’ve been home, no one takes me during the day and by the time it’s brought up in conversation, it’s already dark out.

I’ve been trying to learn how to drive because each time a family member comes down to Erie, especially my mother, they complain that they’re tired of driving so much. It’s about 2 1/2 hours each way. I’d be willing to help drive one way, if I knew how. But I don’t! And somehow, it’s my fault that I haven’t learned yet.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m sick of asking to be taught if a family member offers because my response is, “Why bother?” I’ve tried learning the past two years and any time I bring it up, it becomes an argument with all blame placed on me.

VERONICA KOWALSKI

kowalski011@knights.gannon.edu

 

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