Joyce OreParents lighten up on children who arrive later

Any parent who has raised two or more children realizes that the more there are, the easier it is to ignore a situation than to meet the challenge one more time or to say “no” and explain “why not?

Consequently, the youngest in the family often is seen by his or her older siblings as “spoiled.” No matter how many years have passed since the youngest “never has to carry out the garbage,” or “always got to hang out at the mall on Saturday afternoons,” they “olders” consider the younger as the one who had it easy and got away with everything.

And perhaps they are right.

The oldest in a family often feels he is delegated to the three “Rs”: rules, regulations and responsibility while his younger sibling has one: relaxed.

A friend and mother of four told me her oldest daughter, at age 16 had a strict curfew: 10:30 on weeknights and midnight on weekends. “No exception.”

Her daughter, now grown with a family of her own, relates that when she went out for a social evening, she had to receive permission from both parents, provide a detailed information as to where she was going, with whom she was going, what time she would return, what route she would be traveling, what everyone was wearing and the telephone number of where she could be reached.

In case of a date, the same information was required in addition to the young man’s fingerprints, distinguishing birthmarks and a copy of the family tree.

“The porch was always lit and my parents met me at the front door,” she said.

“And what about your youngest sister?” I asked.

“All she had to do was leave a note if she was going to miss dinner and put out the cat when she returned home,” answered the older sister. “She was so spoiled.”

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