[Disclaimer: This article is based on writer experience]
As an Asian that lives in the Asian continent, there is a phenomenon called parental favoritism (“anak emas" in Bahasa), that is when your parents have a favorite child in their family. From this phenomenon, it will build the siblings' jealousy.
Siblings’ jealousy is a common thing when you have siblings in your family, whom you feel jealous of because your siblings are treated by your parents differently. This thing is common when you have a smaller age gap with your sibling.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I feel that. Sometimes, in my journey of life, there are some moments when I hope I’m the youngest child because my parents treat us differently.
I am the firstborn in my family, with a younger sister who was born 3 years later. I was taught by my parents that I must be someone who is strong in every situation and must be superior in academics (and career, when I graduate soon). I’m the “example” for my little sister, they said. If my little sister makes a mistake or failure, they blame it on me. That makes me so exhausted and stressed. When I saw my little sister, it was different. They do not give her the pressure as I got.
For me, I saw my parents treat my little sister more positively. I feel ignored when I’m gathered in the house because my little sister is always being a center of attention.
Different people have different stories. I have asked some of my friends who were born as the last child. They said they are also sometimes feeling jealous of their older siblings that have “freedom” of decision making. They are tired of being underestimated because they are the last child. Also, they feel like their family sees them as a little child (or worse, "cry baby") even though they have grown up because their parents are overprotective to them. So, this gives us some different perspectives.
We Can't Choose Our Order
Some of us are trapped with this condition, maybe you will shout to the Lord like this.
“Why am I born in this position?"
"Why am I born as the first or last child?”
The fact is we can’t choose what order we are born into this world. It is also the same as we can’t choose what kind of family we are born in, what race and ethnicity, and so on. All of that is God’s authority in our lives and we don’t have authority over that.
Because this is God's authority, it means God has plans for us. His plan is good, there are a future and a hope (Jer. 29: 11) and He has blessed us before we are born into this world (Jer. 1: 5). That means we are born with a purpose.
Besides we are born with a purpose. Born in what order is also God’s purpose. He knows well His creatures, including us, His likeness creatures (Gen 1 26).
Our Parents Are Human, They Are Imperfect
Here is the thing, we need to know that our parents are human too. They might make some mistakes toward us, their children. Also, it might be that they treat us differently. Maybe they don't know how to express their love to us so they treat us in the wrong way.
Maybe some of you got bad treatment from your parents. I know it’s so painful, but stay believing in God this thing is the way from God to deliver His Glory.
God placed us in one family with a purpose. The purpose of good and hope. In this case, we are the purpose of blessing to our family, as said in Jeremiah 29: 7 (AMP).
Seek peace and well-being for the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its peace (well-being) you will have peace.’
After many bad things that you got, always remember they are imperfect. We can’t hope and want them to be “perfect” as we want, but we can forgive what they did to us. No family is perfect in this world.
Be Grateful in Our Order
In the end, we realize wherever our order there is a positive side. For you, the first child-ers, don’t always feel like you are a failed person if you did some failures in the past.
As the first child, some of you have been privileged to be the decision-maker of your family. Also, in some Indonesian tribes, the first child has an important position and has special rights. You were born as the first because God knows you are stronger than your younger siblings in some situations. You must be grateful for that.
Also, for the last child-ers, you get more “spoiled” from material or facilities than your elder siblings. Maybe some of your needs are more being fulfilled than your elder siblings. You get more knowledge from your elder siblings' experience. Also, that things are not to be perceived by your elder siblings.
In the end, there are still many things to be grateful for. Either you are the first child or the last child, both of them have advantages and disadvantages. Our duty is just to love each other as God’s mandatory, as said in John 13: 34.
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. John 13:34 (AMP)
Luo, R., Chen, F., Yuan, C., Ma, X., & Zhang, C., "Parent-Child Discrepancies in Perceived Parental Favoritism: Associations with Children’s Internalizing and Externalizing Problems in Chinese Families." Journal of Youth and Adolescence 49 (2020): 60-73
Rolan, E., & Marceau, K., "Individual and Sibling Characteristics: Parental Differential Treatment and Adolescent Externalizing Behaviors." Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47/12 (2018): 2535–2553.