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Publisher's Summary

"What do Angela Merkel, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, JK Rowling and Beyoncé have in common?" was the headline in the English newspaper The Observer in 2014. "Other than riding high in Forbes list of the world’s most powerful women," journalist Tracy McVeigh wrote in answer to her own question, "they are also all firstborn children in their families. Firstborn children really do excel."

So what does it mean to be an eldest daughter?

Firstborns Lisette Schuitemaker and Wies Enthoven set out to discover the big five qualities that characterize all eldest daughters to some degree. Eldest daughters are responsible, dutiful, thoughtful, expeditious, and caring. Firstborns are more intelligent than their siblings, more proficient verbally and more motivated to perform. Yet at the same time they seriously doubt that they are good enough. Being an eldest daughter can have certain advantages, but the overbearing sense of responsibility often gets in the way. Parents may worry about their "difficult" eldest girl who wants to be perfect in everything she does whilst her siblings may not always understand her. The Eldest Daughter Effect shows how firstborn girls become who they are and offers insights that can give them more freedom to move. And parents will gain a better understanding of their firstborn children and can support them more fully on their way.

©2016 Lisette Schuitemaker. All Rights Reserved. (P)2019 Inner Traditions Audio. All Rights Reserved.

Critic Reviews

"I am an author, writing coach and publisher, and an eldest daughter; my business partner is the youngest brother of three sisters. After reading The Eldest Daughter Effect I understood exactly how our relationship worked, its positives and negatives. I was amazed to find what a typical eldest daughter I am, and that so much of my attitudes and behaviour are coloured by this factor. The book has led me to have endless, fascinating conversations with others I can now easily identify as eldest daughters - and I will be recommending it to all of them. If you are an eldest daughter, you MUST read this book!" (Lucy McCarraher, author and managing editor, Rethink Press)

"Like looking at a reflection in the mirror--shrewdly discerning and comically accurate. This book uncovers the mysteries of why we eldest daughters are who we are. Valuable for those seeking insight into the eldest daughters in their lives. Even better for eldest daughters trying to understand their own profound sense of responsibility, expeditiousness, and perfectionism." (Holly Ruhl, PhD Early Childhood Psychologist)

"The Eldest Daughter Effect is a page turner. I couldn' t put it down and raced through it in one go!! Now I want to share the book with all my good friends - who of course are eldest daughters themselves - my walking buddy, my step daughter and many professional colleagues. The five qualities of Eldest Daughters (responsible, dedicated, expeditious, thoughtful, caring) even emerged as key descriptors of me in the systemic constellation inquiries I have done with my community of practice - so I affirm these research discoveries. I am indebted to Lisette and Wies for their insights, so beautifully captured in lively vignettes and flowing prose that offer a truly rewarding read. Brava!!!!" (Marilyn Hamilton, eldest daughter; author of Integral City)

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Privileged Perspective

This book is very well done, if you’re a white eldest daughter from a family that has some wealth, resources, and perhaps have never been divorced. Otherwise, this book lacks depth and inclusivity. The book does highlight some dispositions of an eldest daughter, but does not consider alternative family makeups outside of the nuclear family.