The Eldest Daughter Syndrome, Why Is It A Problem?

Last updated by Lauren Hart

I’m the third and last born of my siblings. So, no, I’m not the eldest in the family. I’m not affected by the eldest child syndrome, although I’ve heard about it, particularly in the feminist sphere. Yes, because it’s a syndrome that specifically affects women... But what is the eldest daughter syndrome? Why’s it a problem? Let me explain.

The Eldest Daughter Syndrome, Why Is It A Problem?

What’s the eldest daughter syndrome?

We already know that your place in the sibling group is important, but why should the eldest child, especially the eldest daughter, have an extra special feature 🤔? I bet the women who were born first already know what I’m getting at. Generally, the firstborn will have more responsibilities than the other children in the family. Indeed, the eldest will look after her little brothers and sisters, do the washing up, help them with their homework... In short, she’ll have a mental load from childhood.

The eldest daughter syndrome isn’t a proven and verified psychological syndrome, but it’s there to denounce a social phenomenon. That’s why so many women are taking to social media using the hashtags #eldestdaughtersyndrome and #oldestdaughtersyndrome to talk about this “parentification” of little girls 👧.

>>> Read; Can you really cut ties with your family?

Why does it only affect girls?

That’s how I came to hear about elder daughter syndrome because it’s a syndrome that specifically affects little girls. Why? For the “simple reason” that we live in a society that expects women and girls to look after others from an early age. As coach Michelle Elman explains, little girls are taught from an early age that they must take on this role that’s expected of them. In other words, being there for others, doing the chores, and serving the boys/men. 

The consequences of the eldest daughter syndrome

The main problem is that it perpetuates gender stereotypes. So I’m sure that most men don’t see any problem, quite the contrary. Indeed, because they’ve been brought up as alpha males, they think it’s the role of women. In fact, you only need to look at some of the comments below the video to read that some people think that “true values” are being lost 🙄...

Except the eldest daughter syndrome is problematic, with serious consequences for our lives as women. Psychologically, this mental workload and responsibilities drive women to exhaustion, all the more so if it’s something they’ve experienced since childhood. What’s more, there’s often a strong sense of injustice, even frustration, and a whole host of negative emotions that can arise from this social phenomenon.

Not to mention the fact that this can push some women into toxic relationships. They’ve been taught so much about being there for others that they develop a savior syndrome. They want to help men who are sometimes abusive or violent at all costs 😥...

👋 You may be interested in this article: 10 Signs of a narcissistic personality

The importance of deconstructing the role of the eldest daughter

When you see the consequences this has on the women who have been subjected to this role, it’s clear that this pattern mustn’t be repeated. To avoid it, you need to learn to deconstruct everything you’re used to. It’s important to question society, to move towards something fairer and more balanced. It’s important to ensure that your children have a gender-neutral upbringing, so that everyone’s on an equal footing ⚖️.

As such, we can avoid repeating our parents’ mistakes and ensure that our daughters don’t go through the same thing we did. On the other hand, if those around us are still leaning on us too much, it’s important to set limits before the harmful consequences really take hold ✋. It’s never too late to take action and change things, especially when it comes to your mental health!

Editor’s note: Become aware of it and deconstruct

The eldest daughter syndrome has serious repercussions on our lives as women and mothers. It’s important to be aware of it and deconstruct the false beliefs that have been planted in our heads. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that can be done at the click of a finger, it takes a great deal of self-awareness and hard work to overcome this syndrome. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a psychologist to talk about it and put in place new habits that will make you happier.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


  1. Only LoveBen Howard
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
  4. Beautiful DayU2
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde

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