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Being the Eldest Child in a Typical Filipino Family

Being the Eldest Child in a Typical Filipino Family

Undoubtedly, the Philippines is a custom-rich country. We have a lot of beliefs, values, and norms to follow. In a typical Filipino household alone, one of the most common disciplines is the role of the eldest child in the family.

They carry a lot of burdens, pressure, and expectations that should be met. Especially for a woman as the eldest child, there are stereotypes and gender roles aside from the expectations cast upon them. It is a never-ending set of challenges for them. Not to mention if the parents are sacred Catholics.

These roles have become systematic and deeply embedded in the societal thinking that deterring away from them is just plain disrespect to the family’s name.

Bread Winner of the Family

Let’s face it. Most Filipinos are from the middle to lower class of society. We are still transitioning from the traditional setup of the father as the provider of the family. However, most of us are not well-off. A lot of Filipinos are economically incapable of providing for the needs of their families.

The role of the eldest sibling starts from here. They become the breadwinner of their families. They should provide and look out for their siblings. It is considered lucky when they finish college because of better opportunities.

The case is worse for those who sacrificed their studies to look for a job. You can find a lot of eldest children juggling work and studies and offering a lot for the family. This does not mean that all their parents are not doing anything. It is the circumstance that pushed them to dedicate themselves to their siblings – for the family.

Siblings’ Role Model

The eldest child is the setter of standards for their siblings. They should be excellent at school. Their manners must be on point. They should be a good model because their siblings depend on how they behave. One mistake could ruin the character of their brothers and sisters. They are expected to think, speak, and do their best.

The simple statement “be a brother” or “be a sister” entails a lot. In the first place, no one is teaching them how to be a brother or a sister. In fact, no one really knows how to be an ideal one. Is being good at school enough? Is behaving proper enough? Do working and studying at the same time fill their role? It is a whole trial and error phase, except making an error is off the table.

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Family or Self

There is also the choice between self and family. Eldest children are also humans. They have their own dreams and things they want to pursue. Yet, these are hindered by their responsibilities to the family.

They cannot begin their own lives because they are busy forcing themselves to be adults. Also, they do not have time to whine and be stressed about it. They removed giving up and making mistakes in their vocabulary long ago.

This problem is not being seen as a problem in our society. Yes, we owe our parents and we love our family to care for them but to what extent? Of course, this is not always the case. Each family has a different setup but this one is adamant in our country. Here’s to the sacrifices of all eldest children. May you find the happiness you deserve.

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