By and large, the oldest siblings are the ones who receive the bulk of the responsibilities among kids in a family because they are raised to be responsible. Part of this comes from the fact that they are older and can handle taking on some tasks, but the oldest siblings also are given responsibilities earlier than their siblings are. This occurs as a result of younger siblings being born and either helping to care for them or becoming more independent because parents have their hands full. A trend that will continue as kids age. All because parents tend to give their oldest more responsibilities.
Giving responsibilities is not a bad thing. It is a matter of making them age-appropriate and not piling on too many, something that tends to get overlooked when giving the oldest siblings responsibilities. After all, they have proven to do well in the past so adding a bit more to the plate will not be that bad. Sometimes, it is not. Other times, it is too much and older kids can feel resentful. This is why, according to Everyday Health, finding a middle ground to give responsibilities to make kids independent, strong leaders, and have confidence in themselves versus feeling like they are carrying an unmanageable load on their shoulders is so important.
Here is why parents tend to give their oldest more responsibilities.
Oldest Started With Responsibilities From An Early Age
As soon as younger siblings were born, older siblings were given responsibilities they never had before, something that makes them feel helpful, feel like they are contributing, and can give them a sense of purpose, according to Steve Rose Ph.D. Counseling. These are all things that are great traits for building a foundation of responsibility.
When parents see that their older kids are able to take care of the tasks they set forth for them, parents recognize that these kids are able to take on more responsibility still. The more that older kids are able to do, it frees up time for parents to help younger siblings who are not as capable yet.
Unfortunately, as parents see just how independent their older kids are becoming, there are times that too much responsibility is given. And when that is recognized, parents simply need to pull back their expectations so that life skills are learned but feeling exhausted from helping everyone is not.
Parents Want Older Kids To Set An Example
Older siblings play a big role in setting an example for their younger siblings. And because parents want that example to be positive, they will give their older kids more responsibility so that younger ones can learn by example what to do.
According to a 2018 study, the amount of influence that older siblings have on younger ones is similar to that of parents. If older siblings emote traits of being "kind, warm, and supportive," younger siblings will show the same.
Consequently, if older kids are given responsibilities around the house, younger siblings will want to have responsibilities of their own. And when this happens, not only are parents raising their children to grow up to be responsible adults, but they are also helping with the load of responsibility that older siblings carry. This is because as younger kids can take on tasks and chores, those that take less skill and effort can be transferred from older siblings to younger ones. And this creates an atmosphere of fairness among siblings in the household.
Parents Know The Oldest Can Handle Responsibility
Many times, parents give their oldest kids more responsibility because they know they can handle it. This comes from starting off with small responsibilities and building to larger ones.
As older siblings become more proficient in what it is that they are asked to do, parents do not need to get involved as often. And when older kids can handle things, such as making food, doing their laundry, basic hygiene, getting their homework done without asking, and helping around the house, parents can see just how well their older kids handle the responsibility on their plate. This is why if things need to be adjusted because too much is being taken on, it should be done without question so that older kids still have an opportunity to be kids.