Eldest Daughter Syndrome: How To Identify And Overcome It?
It is not easy for a child to accept the change from an only child to an older child. After the arrival of the second child, she has to compromise on the attention, love, and affection of her parents. This compromise and change sometimes lead to developing an “Eldest Daughter Syndrome” in the first-born daughter.
In this blog, we will discuss “Eldest Daughter Syndrome” briefly. Eight prominent signs would be addressed to understand it and in the end, effective solutions would be suggested to overcome this syndrome effectively.
Eldest Daughter Syndrome
Eldest daughter syndrome is the most unaddressed syndrome. But it really needs to be addressed for the awareness of the daughter, parents, family, and even society. Because if it does not resolve at the right time, it becomes the root of so many personality problems, and sibling rivalry.
Normally, the first daughter is either very strong or compliant. Alfred Adler is a psychiatrist who presented the theory of birth order. Adler believed that personality is shaped and affected by birth order. He further added that the family, community, and social aspects also play a major role in shaping a person’s personality.
If the first daughter becomes unexpectedly competitive with other siblings. She often throws a tantrum due to jealousy. Shows dominance and becomes the boss around her younger siblings. These are the clear signs of eldest daughter syndrome.
All over the world when the second child is born it brings a clear transition in the family. The family has to give love, care, and attention to the second child as well. The first daughter feels dethroned from the only child to the elder child. If this transition becomes stressful, it can cause developmental crises.
This stressful transition can become the cause of sibling rivalry and jealousy. And ultimately, it becomes a traumatic experience for the firstborn daughter. These are some first born problems. Therefore, experts named it the eldest daughter syndrome.
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8 Signs of eldest daughter syndrome
Being the eldest daughter is both a blessing and an examination. There are some pros and cons of the eldest daughter. Sometimes we see the love, care, affection, money, toys, trips, etc. which she receives from the family. But other times we have to see the struggles of being the eldest child.
Some unhealthy behaviors and characteristics can become strong signs of the syndrome. Now, we are going to discuss specifically those 8 signs which can determine eldest daughter syndrome.
- Unhealthy competitive attitude
- Extremely high self-esteem
- Desire to lead
- Continuous urge to become flawless
- Act as a parent to other siblings
- Becomes obsessive
- Becomes controlling
- Family pressure on eldest daughter to become role model for other siblings
1. Unhealthy competitive attitude
The arrival of a newborn is always overwhelming. Sometimes, parents do not handle the division of love among their children properly. Parents start to ignore the first daughter. Now, the question arises why do parents ignore the oldest child? Might be they do so because the newborn is totally dependent on them. Whereas the oldest child can take care of him.
Parents think that the eldest daughter is stronger than the newborn. They think that the eldest daughter is physically and emotionally strong. She can understand things and situations easily. Therefore, they serve their efforts for the newborn. Due to all these reasons, the eldest daughter holds a grudge against their siblings or parents. This grudge becomes the reason for sibling rivalry and jealousy.
This grudge creates an unhealthy competitive attitude in the eldest daughter. She starts competing with her younger siblings. This unhealthy competitive attitude promotes the idea that whatever it takes she has to win. She does not think about the psychological or physical injury of others at all.
2. Extremely high self-esteem
Recently, multiple studies show that the eldest daughter tends to have higher self-esteem. She tends to be very confident and strong. This confidence and higher self-esteem help her a lot academically and professionally. Academically she can achieve higher grades and scores. And professionally she can show a wonderful professional attitude.
But this higher self-esteem can be alarming for dealing with the social life. Because sometimes the high self-esteem leads to having a high ego level. This ego makes her rigid and stubborn. She does not act as a humble person and society does not like such figures. Therefore, having extremely high self-esteem can signify eldest daughter syndrome.
3. Desire to lead
The eldest daughter has a thirst to lead, which can be a clear sign of eldest daughter syndrome. She leads and helps the younger siblings as she is the eldest. This leading behavior becomes her habit and she carries it in the future. She tries to become independent to make her decisions independently. Still, beware of her age as well, do not mix the first sign of puberty with these symptoms.
But sometimes this leading behavior turns negative and she starts dominating. This dominating behavior provokes her to control other siblings. She not only controls other sibling’s actions but also behaviors and decisions as well. If this behavior becomes persistent then this might become the sign of eldest daughter syndrome.
4. Continuous urge to become flawless
Numerous studies have shown that the eldest daughter has a tendency to be a perfectionist. She always has higher standards than her other siblings. She tries to achieve more and more. If there are limits to her perfection and achievements then it is fine. Whereas if some failure makes her aggressive then it is problematic.
She gets upset when she cannot achieve something. She gets depressed when her siblings achieve something or win. These are unhealthy signs and unhealthy traits. If she continuously and madly efforts to become flawless then it is a sign of the syndrome.
5. Act as a parent to other siblings
For the sake of attachment, parents give some responsibilities to the eldest daughter. For instance, they ask her to stay around the younger siblings. Inform us if she/he cries, or do not let him fall down, etc. It gives the eldest daughter a chance to stay connected to the younger sibling.
Such responsibilities develop a sibling’s bond. And the eldest daughter becomes a second parent to the younger siblings. It also gives a boost to attachment and overall responsible behavior. Though it is totally fine if the relationship goes smooth.
Sometimes eldest daughter demands the same obedience as the parents from younger siblings. It is alarming for both parents and the eldest daughter. They are siblings, they will fight and argue as well. If the eldest daughter does not allow any such thing to her younger then it can be a sign of eldest daughter syndrome.
6. Becomes obsessive
These are the first born female characteristics to be protective and perfect. It is wonderful for her personal and professional life. But if it turns towards extremism then it is not good at all. Because in this way the younger sibling will become dependent on her. And the eldest daughter will lose herself.
As she will keep protecting her younger siblings. She will become obsessive about them and will not pay attention to herself and her career. This obsession can be labeled as a sign of eldest daughter syndrome.
7. Becomes controlling
The eldest daughter has the tendency to be perfect and an achiever. Sometimes this tendency turns negative and she starts making things perfect around her. She does not care whether those things belong to her or not. She wants everything to be perfect. Therefore, she not only focus on her own achievements but also forces other to do their best.
The quest for perfection, provoke her to control her surroundings, especially her siblings. She makes decisions on behalf of her siblings. Does not let them play, or let them waste time. When this controlling behavior becomes irritating for her siblings and for the others it is dangerous. It might be a sign of eldest daughter syndrome.
8. Family pressure on eldest daughter to become role model for other siblings
It is observed that mostly parent desire their eldest daughter to be perfect. They ask her to do her best in every field. parents want their eldest daughter to behave well, dress up decently, and achieve a lot academically. She already has the tendency to be perfect and the pressure from her parents depresses her a lot.
Her parents want her to be a role model for her younger siblings. So that they proudly ask them to follow the eldest daughter. She does not accept any kind of failure, which becomes problematic for her present and future life. This is another sign of eldest daughter syndrome.
Effective solutions to overcome eldest daughter syndrome
If parents observe the upper mentioned signs in their daughter, they must help to get rid of them. Parents should start taking those measures which can help her to remove those signs. They should change their behaviors and help their daughter as well.
- Do not expect a lot from your elder daughter. Draw moderate level expectations from her and let her enjoy her life as a normal human being.
- Give your elder daughter ample space to grow and flourish. Do not put so much burden of responsibilities on her.
- Do encourage her leadership skills. But do not let her become bossy or dominate other siblings.
- After the arrival of the newborn, do not ignore the eldest daughter. Do spare quality and special time to spend only with her.
- Let your elder daughter play, relax and explore rather than dictate her.
- Do not give so much attention, care, or affection all the time. Do not become overprotective. Give her some personal time, for independent play, and to explore things. This will help her to tackle the situation after the new arrival.
In a nut shell, elder daughter syndrome does exist, and people must be aware of it. If it is diagnosed at an early age, then it would be very easy to overcome it. This blog will be very helpful for those parents who are noticing the strange behavior of their elder daughter.
After reading it they can easily identify the reason behind such bossy and difficult behavior. They can also help her deal with it effectively. Because if these signs become part of her nature, then it would be very problematic for her and for the people connected to her. We wrote another article about firstborn psychology, which can be read here.
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