The Pressures of Being the Oldest Sibling

Being the oldest sibling is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we don’t get hand me downs but on the other hand, we get away with the least amount while growing up.

When I was in high school, I had a curfew of 11:30 p.m. but when I went home for the summer I found out that both of my younger sisters didn’t have curfews at all --  and they’re both still in high school.

It is easy to complain about all these small things my sisters get to do that I wasn’t allowed to. But in reality, the hardest part of being the oldest sister is having to act as a mentor and guide to your younger siblings,  when you might not know what you’re doing with your own life. 

My mom always loved to tell my sisters, “why can’t you be more like your older sister?” 

I always felt bad for my younger sisters constantly having to hear that, especially because we are different people that are not always going to want to or be able to take the same path in life. It is hard to give advice and guide somebody different than you, but it is worth the effort to stop your siblings from making the same mistakes you might have made in your life. 

One of my sisters is about to start applying to college.  I have texted and called her at least twice a week since the school year started to remind her to start her applications. I feel like the annoying older sister with all my constant calls to her. The biggest difference between my sister and I is our motivation, dedication and interest when it comes to school.

I know that if she wasn’t forced to, my sister wouldn’t apply to college. However, if she did it would be done last minute and without much effort put into it.

I’m not trying to be mean and act as if I am better than my sister, but I know her weaknesses and strengths. I know school is not something she is very interested, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s hard to push my sister to care more and be more invested in her future because that’s me and not her. 

I have been freaking out and thinking about my future for as long as I can remember.

While my sister is one of the most laid-back and live in the moment type of people I have ever met. I think that not only can my sister learn from my mistakes and experiences that I’ve gone through, but I can also learn from her. We can both take parts from one another that we admire and implement them into our own daily lives.

I don’t ever want my sister to compare herself to me and to think that just because I’m more into school than she is, that I’m smarter or better than her in any way. I just want to show her that there isn’t a harm in aiming for more and believing that she is enough. I know she is capable of getting into any school she wants to.

Applying to college was one of the most stressful moments of my life and if I can do anything to alleviate those feelings of stress, worry or lack of confidence that my sister might be feeling, I want to do all I can to help. 

My other sister and I are more similar but this can sometimes cause even more of a problem. My little sister used to love to ask me what I had gotten on exams and in the classes she’s taking now, and then proceed to compare us. It usually ends with her having done better.

At first, this used to get on my nerves, because I hated feeling less than and compared to my sister, who is honestly smarter than I am (I’ll admit this now and only now). But now I love to tell my sister that, yes, she is smarter and can achieve so much more than I did.

I think that it’s important to fuel my sister’s drive and ambition to go to a great college and to be successful in life. Though she is only a sophomore in high school she talks about all her big plans to go to an ivy league school and one day be a surgeon.

When I was younger, I didn’t have an older sibling to encourage me, to guide me or to tell me ways to achieve all my dreams by doing certain things in high school. There is a lot of pressure in knowing that my sister does look to me for advice and as a role model when it comes to shaping her future.

However, as I have gotten older I realize how amazing it is to have a relationship with your younger siblings where they look to you for advice and guidance. 

Though it is nerve-racking to feel as if you always have to set a good example for your younger siblings, there is also something amazing in knowing that there are always going to be people in the world that look up to you.

Your siblings are people you can learn from, and they are people that will always support you. I made mistakes regarding school, boys and friendships in the past. I can admit that sometimes I get too intense in my advice and pushiness with my younger sisters, but that is because I want them to learn from my mistakes and not have to deal with some of the pain and struggles that I have faced in my own life.

But this pressure that I have placed on myself to make sure my sisters succeed where I didn’t isn’t fair to anybody. Even though I wish my sisters could avoid the mistakes I’ve made or do better where I’ve lacked, they have their own paths in life. Sometimes making their own mistakes is the only way they will learn the lessons they need to in life. There truly is no other relationship that is as stressful, supportive and loving as the one that you share with your younger sibling.