I’ve got a baaaad case of First Child Syndrome


I had a little tanty during a drink with a friend last night. I ranted that I was sick of being “good” and “doing the right thing” when so many other people get away with blue murder … without any consequences.

Whenever I tentatively dip my toe in the blue-murder waters I either panic and apologetically retreat or get soundly slammed for it.


How is it that some people seem to have a permanent Get Out of Jail Free card and others carry the can of responsibility?

I’ve decided to blame birth order.

I’m a first-born. According to Psychologies:

First-borns are thought to be conscientious and achievement-oriented. A study of Norwegians born between 1912 and 1975 found that educational achievement was highest in first-borns and diminished the further down the birth order you got, despite little difference in IQ. The legal profession is … filled with first-borns. World leaders are also overwhelmingly first-born children. On the negative side, first-borns are the only ones who experience having their parents all to themselves, then having to share them. For this reason, they’re thought to be anxious, emotionally intense, defensive and prone to jealous rages.

(Famous firstborns include William Shakespeare, Alfred Einstein, Winston Churchill, Saddam Hussein and Jesse Jackson.)

Meanwhile, Huffington Post says:

The eldest child will probably have more in common with other firstborns than their own brothers and sisters. Because they have had so much control and attention from their first-time parents, they are over-responsible, reliable, well-behaved, careful and smaller versions of their own parents.

Mind you, despite them having more in common with other firstborns, hooking up can be a problem …

According to The Irish Times:

One theory has it that hooking up with a person as far from your own birth order as possible has the best chance of a successful marriage and that two first or only children will struggle in the marriage stakes. As perfectionists, they are much more likely to fight over the slightest of details.

Erm, my ex and I were both first-borns … don’t ask about DD …

Sometimes being responsible, well-behaved and careful is such a fricking pain in the butt, not to mention exhausting. I wonder what being irresponsible, badly behaved and reckless feels like. And what’s the secret to getting away with it?

Oh, and does getting away with it make you high?

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m built in a way that would allow me to ever find out. I’m far too worried about upsetting people.

I’m kinda stuck with a permanent case of First Child Syndrome, which is probably one of the reasons my teeth are clenched all the time.

What’s your birth order? What do you hate most about it?

Song of the day: Pete Murray “Better Days”

8 thoughts on “I’ve got a baaaad case of First Child Syndrome

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  1. I’m second in line but have more traits of a first-born than my elder sister has. I’m the anxious, got-to-get=things-right one with an over-developed sense of responsibility. It can be hard-going at times.

  2. Yep, that’s ME all over! Expectations were always high and I had to set the example for my brother and sister, each a year younger than the other. My Mum had 3 kids under 3 years old!
    I was always the first to get “a clip on the ear” if there was a ruckus because I was “the oldest and should know better”!
    Interesting, however, that in our 50’s, my second-born brother has taken on the mantle since our Dad passed. I get too emotional about stuff these days.
    It probably helps that he is still in Newie and looks out for Mum all the time…

  3. I’m a first born and I completely get you. My sister and brother got away with murder. It was almost as if my parents became sick of laying down the law after me. I’m still a people pleaser too. Scotto is the baby so it must be why we get on so well. My ex was a first born… say no more.

  4. I’m a first born with a five-year age gap with my only sister. I’m prone to all the negative traits the articles above suggest. I’m a big over-thinker which means too much thinking (about what other people think), not enough doing; Analysis paralysis. But I’m definitely one who plays by the rules.

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