7 Harsh Realities Of Being The Youngest Sibling


Having siblings growing up is the best — you’ve got instant best friends, you can torture each other and know they’re always going to be there for you, and your fights never last long. And since there’s such a thing as birth order, you probably have certain characteristics based on how many babies your parents had before you, and after you.

Everyone thinks they know about birth order, cause there are certain stereotypes: the oldest one is the responsible one, the middle one is chronically ignored, and the youngest are always hella spoiled. But Full House managed to get a few things wrong after all.

Here’s what it’s really like to be the youngest.

1. People always think you’re so spoiled

As the youngest, the stereotype is that you get everything you want, that your parents have indulged you and spoiled you to within an inch of your life. And despite how many quizzes we take online promising to guess our birth order, as it turns out, that’s just a stereotype.

Sure, maybe your parents were more chill with you because they knew what to expect, but in my case, my parents were sometimes more strict with me because my wild-child sisters tested their patience as teenagers, and I was constantly punished for their bad behavior, even though I was totally obedient. Oh, well. I think I managed to get my mom to buy me the most clothes, if nothing else.

2. Your mother will always refer to you as “the baby”

You will never, ever stop being “the baby” when your mother introduces you to new people. You’ll be petted and coddled like a puppy, because no one can believe you’re as big as you are. (At 23, I get the “you grew up so fast!” at least once a month.) Yes, I grew up. Even babies do that.

The “baby” label will follow you around your whole life, and you’ll sort of be your parents’ favorite because of it. That part doesn’t suck so much.

3. Your siblings will move out earlier, leaving you behind

Whether it’s college, marriage, or what-have-you, your siblings have all left home before you. You’re going to be the last one in the nest, counting down the days until you can fly away. Sometimes this is pretty cool, since you’re no longer fighting over food and the remote, but at other times, you’ll definitely miss those days when you had built-in buddies living with you, and who were able to come run errands with you when you wanted company.

4. You’re used to following other people’s examples

Being the youngest means growing up with a couple of older role models who did everything before you had to. Things like going to high school parties, applying to college, renting apartments, getting married, and even having kids. In a way, it’s cool: you know how to do complicated stuff like being in escrow, and you have a little bit of prior knowledge for when you go through it yourself.

But it also means sometimes having poor examples and not knowing if all your siblings’ bad decisions are unavoidable for you, too. It also means you won’t ever get to learn things on your own: your siblings will always be able to say they did it first.

5. Hanging out with your siblings means doing stuff on their timetable

They’re older, so they probably have a more demanding job, a significant other, maybe even kids. If they go to bed at 10:30, guess what? You’re not going out to a club with them on a Friday for your birthday.

When they were in college, you never saw them. So making time to see your siblings is always going to require some planning, simply because you’re probably never on the same wavelength — at least not for a couple more years.

6. Your accomplishments have probably all been done before

Sure, your parents are proud of you, but they were probably much more proud when their firstborn did it — seven years ago. College graduation is SOP now, and if you opted not to get your masters like your siblings did, you’re the slacker.

7. You’ve cultivated a need to stand out

Because you were constantly being compared to your siblings, whether negatively or positively, you’ve probably created this desire to be different. In high school, this probably manifested itself via pink hair and/or a mohawk. In college, you were the one with the useless major. And in your adult life, you’ve taken more risks and chances, just to say you’ve stood out from your siblings’ shadows.

Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.

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