Older Siblings & Societal Expectations

While I am rooting for close sibling relationships, I know that being an older sibling(s) can be both fun and hard, especially in Africa where expectations are so high. Everybody expects that life’s seeming success pointers (education, marriage, job etc) should follow the order of birth. Therefore, as older siblings one has to ‘blow’ before them, get married before them, have children before them, give them money (not them giving you money); Even strangers have a blueprint of how your life ‘should’ turn out.

Subconsciously, these expectations become parameters for failure in our lives especially when things don’t turn out exactly the way we hoped. Even when God is telling us to do something different from what we are doing presently we begin making detours just because we are trying to live out people’s expectations which then leads to pressures and uncertainties.

Suddenly, being an older brother or sister becomes a curse rather than a blessing. Can’t they just chill for us to make some small breaks so that we can show ourselves as the eldest ones? We become reluctant to hear more progress stories from them because that’s more doom and pressure for us. People won’t let us enjoy our own journeys in peace!

Dear firstborn, Here are a few things to note

1. Relax. You don’t have to prove something every time; you are just fine.

People will always talk, and ‘na dem get their mouth’ (That’s their opinion). Even if your situation was different, people would still have something to say.

I think you should also remember that.

"Older sibling, Relax. You don’t have to prove yourself every time; you will be just fine." Click To Tweet

2. Your position as the older sibling is not a mistake. You have what it takes to lead your siblings.

Your position is for a reason. Our siblings need us just as much as we need them. Your role is a sacrificial one; it’s an exemplary one. It’s not a basis for competition. You are good just the way you are; Use your experience to help them out.

Your position as an older sibling is for a reason. Our siblings need us just as much as we need them. Your role is a sacrificial one; it’s an exemplary one. Click To Tweet

Just in case you begin to misunderstand me, let me clarify that…

3. …As the older sibling, you are not a scapegoat, you are a leader.

You are under pressure and you want to blow fast so you will be a ‘great’ model and help your siblings. I understand. In the secret of your mind, you pray that you blow before them so that they and the world would at least recognize that you are the older sibling- after all, leading the way is what you are supposed to do, right? You are a leader by privilege and by birth.

Even though you feel like everything just seems to be slow and hard with you; even though you didn’t really like what you studied, even though you didn’t get so much pocket money in school, even though you are trying to get rooted in a career path, even though it’s even taking time to get a job, relax!

This, however, doesn’t mean that…

"Even though you feel like everything just seems to be slow and hard with you; Relax" Click To Tweet

4. …Older siblings have to be aggressive 

People are different and you don’t have to be an extrovert or aggressive to be an exemplary leader. Assertive and firm, yes. You should choose instead to be there for them. Be intentional about pouring into your siblings. It’s not just something you ‘have’ to do, it’s something you ‘get’ to do. You are a vessel, let God use you.


Share with us in the comment box other suggestions you have tried or know that can help.

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