This edition, we are featuring two inspirational contributors, both of whom are the eldest of three siblings. They speak of their upbringing, highlighting the differences of the expectations, responsibilities and/or privileges that come with this role. Does the gender of your younger siblings have an affect on how you are raised by your parents? One contributor is the eldest of three girls, the other is the eldest of one sister and one brother. Read more to find out how birth order and the gender of your younger siblings may affect how you grow up.
Although I was born in the greatest city in the world, New York City, I am a true Long Island girl at heart. My parents, like those of many Indian immigrants came to America for greater opportunities, to have a better life for themselves and eventually the family that they would build together. My story is not the same as other girls, of typical Indian parents. My father came to the USA at an early age, earlier than some of his generation. He is the youngest of his siblings, the most adventurous and open-minded. He encouraged my mom to learn and adapt to this country. My mother also knew how to embrace change well. The openness of the culture here invigorated her rather than scaring her. I am the oldest of 3 daughters. My younger sisters are 3 years and 7 years younger than myself. Being the oldest, my opinions mattered. In certain ways, I did act as the parent to my younger sisters. It was slightly easier for my sisters because I was paving the way. I have male cousins in the same age range; we all grew up together. We were all treated the same; there was never a difference in what we could do as boys or girls. This I know was probably unique for a desi girl’s upbringing.
I am a first generation Indian American, the eldest of three children (one sister and one brother). My parents definitely brought me up in a traditional desi household. Hardly anything pertained to the American culture while I was in elementary school. Mom stayed at home taking care of us and doing the typical chores that were expected of an Indian housewife, while Dad went to work. The traditional “sidi-saadhi” role was expected from me and my sister at all times, doing household chores, never talking back to anyone, keeping our opinions to ourselves, never talking back to anyone. We were to listen to everything our parents told us. My parents expected the most from me since I was the oldest and because I was the oldest, there was always a clash of cultures between school and home.