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The elder child of the family is the flag bearer. Naturally the onus of being good, setting an example, being the role model, being able to forgive, guiding the younger one, covering their mistakes, taking their blame etcetera is always on them.
May be one should step back and think that agreed the child is “the” elder one, nonetheless he/she is still a child.
May be this sudden and forceful imposition of maturity and placing the responsibility of “bada bhai ya badi behen/ bada beta/beti” ends their childhood even before it had started. I see children who are so matured and responsible that it makes me wonder if he/she will ever know what it is like to do all the mischiefs and naughtiness that’s befitting their age.
As parents, it is solely our responsibility to nurture and bring up the children we bring to this world. Delegating our responsibilities to our elder ones at the cost of their innocence and childhood is not only a shortcut but also not the right thing to do.
While we may think that we are teaching them to be responsible, it may actually leave a very deep wound which will surface in the future. Children should be equal in our eyes. That the elder one is THE elder one, was not a matter of his/her choice. This is not something which was within the locus of his/her control. Therefore absolutely no reason to choke him with unnecessary prejudices and ideas which are neither practical nor relevant in today’s time.
Of course, as children mature, they develop a bond and with it comes care and love which naturally makes them look after each other. But should the flow of such love only be top down?
Shouldn’t the younger children also have equal responsibility towards the elder siblings and the parents?
Should they always be excused just because they are chota? Nope, not done. This is neither fair, nor healthy.
As parents, we must be ever conscious as to how we are treating our children. Are we gender biased? Are we prejudiced in any way? Are we paying equal attention to both? Are we too harsh on one and too lenient on the other?
Entire lives go by and time flies, and at the fag end of their lives, many such “elder ones” ponder whether it was all worth it. Was it worth giving up on their dreams, was it worth not living their lives, was it worth suppressing everything they ever wanted to do, was it worth to make his own family go through so much just for the sake of being an example to the younger ones who did not even bother to follow?
My children are my responsibility. My son will have every right to lead his life the way he wants without having to bother about being the role model. He is free to do whatever his heart desires. And so will my daughter.