Stuck in the Middle: A Blessing or a Curse?
The eldest: notorious for being high achievers, modelling their parent’s behaviour and having oodles of confidence. The youngest: doted on for nothing more than being adorable, being carefree and seeming to get away with murder. Finally, the poor old kid stuck in the middle, the victim of Middle Child Syndrome, hoping for a smidge of attention, never seeming to get away with anything and never seeming to accomplish as much as their siblings… But is it really so bad?
Sure there are downfalls, such as trying to get attention because it seems the accomplished eldest and the charming youngest are getting it all, feeling a little bit left out and sometimes thinking you can’t do anything right. However, there are countless personality traits that can be attributed to being in the middle – being diplomatic, compromising, handling disappointment well, having realistic expectations, being the least likely to be spoiled, and tending to be the most independent. While these traits seem to come around the hard way, they are of unequitable worth.
A huge attribute of being in the middle is closer relationships with your siblings as the smaller age gap means you are less likely to be either too pesky to hang out with or too mature to play with. Piping up with your opinion without fear, because that’s what you had to do as a kid. Perhaps why middle children would hate to be described as “agreeable” comes from being a child that challenged everything around them and tousled to work out a better outcome, to the point where it’s a wonder their parents put up with them.
Is it obvious yet that I myself am a middle child?
There is science behind this madness too though, birth order expert Frank Sulloway claims the personality of a middle child emerges in response to the next-oldest sibling in the family. For example, if the older sibling is a parent-pleaser, the middle child might rebel to get attention.
Personality doesn’t hinge alone on the biological fact that a child is born first or last or in the middle, “It’s the roles siblings adopt that lead to differences in behavior.” However, when I try and determine why my sisters and I are so different, when we were raised with the same morals in the same environment I always come back to the same conclusion, being in the middle.
There are some unfortunate middle children in the world, such as Donald Trump, but there are others that give our group a much better name- such as Bill Gates, Princess Diana, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. While each of these characters are very different, they all have one common trait, they stood against the crowd, even if they were alone, for something that they believed in. This all began with standing alone against their siblings, trying to get their own way, when they were five years old.
Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Do you think it is the most difficult to be in the middle?
2. Whereabouts are you in the order of your family? What are some positives and negatives you have noticed?
3. Who are some famous middle children you can think of? What traits do they have that indicate they are a middle child?
1. Ask a parent how they parented you compared to your siblings?
2. Ask your siblings if they think they have of had it harder or easier than you?
3. Do some further research! Find some more scientific evidence to prove or disprove this theory.