The older brothers: superheroes and loving friends

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Joe Dispenza

The older brothers: superheroes and loving friends

Last update: Augusts 18, 2017

Big brothers are always a bit of a superhero, even if there are those who say (with reason) that they are also very disloyal at times. This special position of being the firstborn usually brings with it many privileges, but also a good amount of additional weight or difficulty. With the first child, the parents learn, many times through practice and error, the arduous task of breeding and, with it, even the little ones learn to "be big".

The firstborn open the way for the children who will arrive later. They will have to go to school for the first time, alone, and then tell the brothers how to face the first day or they will be vigilant to save them from any danger if they share the same educational center. They will educate the little ones on how to play or make a perfect braid. They mark the way.

"The first to be born in any family always dreams of an imaginary brother to take care of him"  

-Bill Cosby-

Older siblings usually become a kind of extension of the mother and father figure, all together. They are, in some ways, responsible when their parents are not present, but because they are neither, they also end up being loving friends and concealers of misdeeds.

The older brothers and the care of the little ones 

The first thing that many parents instill in their older children is that they are an example for the little ones. This, in simple terms, means that they will be more watched and that there will be less tolerance towards their actions. The older brother has to take risks first; he is also obliged to accompany others to take care of them and, more or less, to answer for them.

Nowadays the laws are stricter to respect, but until a few decades ago it was not uncommon for an 8-year-old to take care of a 5-year-old. It certainly varies from family to family, but in almost all of them, parents tend to entrust the greater part of the responsibility for raising the youngest to the child. This gives it special authority, but it also causes tension and sometimes anguish.

A firstborn who feels overburdened with responsibility or treated unfairly with respect to others can develop a variety of character problems. He can unload the excessive burden he carries on his shoulders on the little ones or, if he is very afraid of his parents, he will fight to annihilate himself rather than compromising the growth of his siblings.   

It is common for older children to develop a fear of breaking the rules, especially when parents frequently remind them that it is their job to enforce them. For this reason, older siblings tend to be more conservative and mature faster. Failing to take on a responsibility that they have taken on or that has been imposed on them can generate a strong sense of guilt. On the other hand, just as parents give them more responsibilities, they should also reward them more for carrying them out.

What only older brothers know

Only older siblings can feel and understand what it feels like in certain situations. For the other siblings, they will always be a bit of their superheroes. There is no doubt that they sometimes take advantage of their position, but they are also the saviors who will appear from time to time to save the little one from a doom. Their brothers adore them and hate them at the same time. However, regardless of the circumstance, they become a referent.

These are some realities that make them unique:

  • Even as adults, other siblings expect them to act as guardians or protectors.
  • They must learn to give up toys, freedoms, and whims for their younger siblings.
  • They don't easily accept that the little ones win or surpass them in something.
  • They know, deep down, that they were the "guinea pigs" of several failed experiments of their parents.
  • They grant themselves the right to martyrize the little ones, but they will never allow it to a stranger.
  • They brag to their younger siblings about the rights they acquire when they become teenagers.

The older brothers deserve to hear a "thank you" from us, from the bottom of their hearts. They acted as a cushion for danger and offered us a lifeline on countless occasions throughout our childhood. We were able to confess a serious mistake to them and they served as a bridge to mediate with our parents. They defended us, took care of us and stimulated us. They were, without a doubt, one of the pillars on which we were able to grow.

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