bySidiqat Olalere-Abdulkareem

Assistant Parents 

Are you a first child or do you know one? If your answer is yes, then you can relate with what I’m about to talk about.


What is it with first children and responsibilities? Why do they have to be assistant parents? It doesn’t matter how little or old a first child is, their responsibilities are never ending.


These leadership starts from when they’re as little 9, 10 years old. They’re expected to make sure their younger siblings are okay. Especially when they attend the same school, they must make sure no one bullies their “baby brother or sister”. And the most annoying thing is that they’re asked to give up or share their toys with the younger ones just because they’re older or make them tune to the television channel that the younger ones prefer.


And as they grow older and gets into secondary school, first born children are expected to perform excellent at school. Anything short of that will have their parents scolding them about setting a good model for their younger siblings. What about the cooking aspect of it? Especially when she’s a female. She’s expected to make sure her siblings are well fed and taken care of. She’s literally the babysitter. And of course, a first child is expected to make their secondary school leaving certificate at once, otherwise, they have jinxed it for the younger ones.


The most overwhelming of these responsibilities is taking up the financial role of the parents. Once the first child starts to work, then some, if not all of the financial duties of the parents’ falls on them. First born children are required to take care of their younger ones. Wherever that rule emanates from is still a mystery. Whatever financial duty the parents are not able to meet up to, they automatically transfer it to the working older sibling. This is one of the major reasons why first children are called Assistant Parents.


But should these really be the case? Do first born children really have to be Assistant Parents? What happens when these older siblings start having their own family? Do they still have the obligation to continue be role models for their younger siblings?



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