Birth Order: What Middle Children Need Most from Their Parents
I seem to have a pretty good sample for a study on birth order…
Josiah, 15 (below, left), Jonah (on the right, below,) 13, and Luke (center, below) almost 11.
Levi, who arrived six and half years later, throws me for a bit of a loop. I always say he must fall somewhere between a first born, and a baby. (And a Tasmanian devil, but that’s another story.)
But really, I have always been intrigued by the topic of birth order. Not only do I have a great sample to study in my home, but I was also raised in a three-kid family: Two older brothers, and then me...the “baby.”
(I’m sure you’re surprised.)
I know I’m not alone in finding this topic interesting, as well as a bit intimidating. Ever since I wrote my post What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from His Mom, I’ve received numerous requests for a specific post about those mysterious middle children, and what they might need the most.
We’ve all heard the term (or is a diagnosis?) “Middle-child syndrome,” and it seems that people often pity the middle child. But really, the more I study and observe, the more I think middle children have a lot of good going for them. Sure, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of, but the way I see it, middles might just do the best in the long run.
I’ve found Kevin Leman’s book, The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are to be quite helpful in this area. If you find this topic interesting, I highly recommend you read it.
Most experts seem to agree with a few things about middle children.
Most middles are: Flexible, good negotiators, and very social. They are more laid back than their often high-strung older siblings. They are also more drawn to relationships outside the family than their siblings, and more likely to move further away from home when they are grown. (boo.)
Middle children can present a paradox of personalities, because of the fact that they are very much influenced by the first born of the family. They might strive to be a lot like the older sibling, but more typically they go the opposite direction (often as far as possible!) Middle children are said to be careful who they open up to, often keeping their feelings to themselves. Middles might struggle with their sense of identity and belonging, which often leads them to run with the pack.
Middles have been known to experiment with riskier behaviors than other birth orders, possibly as part of their search for an identity. However, middles are known to grow up well–being creative problem solvers, and great negotiators. (Think Donald Trump.) Middles are also said to be the most loyal marriage partners of any birth position.
A short list of famous “middle children”: Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Jennifer Lopez, George Bush, and Donald Trump. If you have a middle, you can let them know: over half of the American Presidents have been middle children.
For those of us raising middle children, we should rest assured that they are very likely to grow up to be well adjusted adults, with a happy life. Heck, maybe they’ll be President one day. But we still worry, don’t we? If you have a middle child, then you might wonder if you are giving him or her enough attention. You might wonder what they’re thinking, because they aren’t so quick to share. You might see them getting squeezed between their siblings, and just hope that they are really doing ok.
So after a lot of study, experience, and observation, I have created a list of…
1. Unconditional Love and Attention
Middles often feel compared to their (typically over-achieving) older, and (often attention-seeking) younger siblings. Giving them your time and focused attention without any expectations is really important. They need to know that they are loved simply because they are.
2. A Listening Ear
Middle children are known to feel overlooked and ignored. Over time they often learn to just step back and let the older and younger sibling get all of the attention. Setting aside time to just listen to your middle child will meet them in a very special way.
If you have a more typical first-born, chances are that they have proven very capable. It is easy to let them own this role, while the middle and younger kids ride on the benefits. Don’t do it! Make sure that you are teaching that middle child to do just as much work and contribute to the home as much as the first born has done. (It may be different tasks or roles, but make sure they do something!) This will communicate to your middle that he or she is not only a part of the family, but that the family actually depends on them. It will also help your middle child to grow up managing responsibilities well, which is a character trait sometimes lacking in the more free-spirited middle child.
4. Some decent clothes
Middle children are typically the hand-me-down kids of the family. It goes like this; First borns take good care of things, so we think it only logical that the next in line gets them: But, by the time the second born has worn them, they’re too worn out for the
spoiled fortunate baby of the family, who then gets to start afresh with brand new clothes. There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs–I’m a big fan. However, taking that middle child shopping for some of his or her very own (new!) clothes now and then is a really good idea.
If you do take that middle shopping, let them choose their own clothes. In fact, let them choose as many things as possible! Let them choose what movie the family will watch, what restaurant to go to, or any little thing possible. Middles need to know they have a voice.
6. Help Finding Good Friends/Direction in Life
If middles are going to find friends and work away from the family, then we are wise to offer plenty of counsel while they’re around. Talk to them often about friends, school, and job choices. Give loving counsel about their future careers. They will appreciate your interest in their life, and who knows–maybe they’ll feel so loved they’ll stick around after all! 🙂
Even in the healthiest family setting, a middle child will at some point wrestle with the role of being sandwiched in the middle. Talk about it! Personally, I talk openly to my middle son about his position, both light-heartedly, and more seriously. I tell him that I understand it is a tough position sometimes, but I also remind him of the benefits. Talking openly may allow the middles to understand their own feelings better, and to respond to those feelings wisely.
We should keep in mind that there are many factors that affect birth order: From the sex of each child, to how many years there are in-between, and other family dynamics. There are no hard-fast rules, but I do think that the information we have can help us apply it as we see fit in our parenting!
SO now I’d love to hear from you! Tell us about your experience if you have a middle child…Or are married to one? Or work with one? Or maybe you’re the middle child!? If so, what was it like growing up? I’m sure a few of you have some helpful experiences to share!
And if you think your friends would enjoy or benefit from this post, I hope you’ll Pin and share it using the buttons below!
For other posts in the series, check out: What a first-born needs most, and What a youngest child needs most…
PS I am an amazon affiliate so if you click over and order The Birth Order Book, I’ll get a few cents which will help support my blogging efforts! Thank you! 🙂
I am a middle child, and surprisingly, nothing in this article proves to be true for me. I have always lived in the shadow of both of my siblings as they were always good at EVERYTHING, and here I was just sitting in a corner going, “I can crochet, bake yummy cookies, and color!” Teachers’ expectations were high for me because of their “gifts” (my brother graduated from the Naval Academy in the top 10% of his class and received a full ride sports scholarship there, and my sister was equally successful in sports, academics, college, marriage, and her career). Everyone loved my siblings, they had lots of friends and strong social connections. Me . . . not so much. I was an average child with average grades, and could never measure up to anything my siblings did. I did not look like them – I’m blonde/blue-eyed and fat, but pretty, they are both brown haired, attractive, and skinny. I grew up thinking I had been adopted, but baby pictures indicate otherwise.
Both my parents came from dysfunctional families themselves, so they worked with what they had, but I have vivid memories of my father being extremely strict, sometimes physically abusive and my mother, not being able to stop it, allowed it to happen. As an adult, I still cannot please my parents and as they are aging, I am now seeing my siblings push me out in the name of trying to secure the entire inheritance for themselves, having already claimed and gotten some of it because my parents continue to favor them and honor them with their love and gifts. I don’t think my parents realize how badly they favor them nor how much it has affected me over my lifetime.
I have fared well in life on my own, but have constantly been judged and blamed, emotionally and physically abused, and ignored and cast aside quite a bit. This has bled over into a lot of my relationships throughout life (domestic violence, suicidal ideation, cutting, bitter divorce, and such), but in my later years, I have found a wonderful husband of 20+ years and have two beautiful daughters with families of their own and 10 lovely grandchildren. I have taught middle school for over 20 years and worked for 10 years in a prison educating, and what I like to think of, having an impact for the better on inmates and their life skills. My successes are not as celebrated by my family and sometimes even criticized, or I am made to feel guilty for taking care of myself when I occasionally buy myself something special that I have earned. My parents continue to favor my siblings, and I try to find the positives where/when I can, but when I spend hours crying before and after when I know I have to be around them, I am learning to set some boundaries (although I feel guilt and shame for this) and have resolved to just refuse to spend as much time with them (parents and siblings). I don’t see this as avoidance, as I have tried to broach this subject a couple of times with them to no avail. I see this more as a survival tactic, as family gatherings seem to be more of a boasting about what my siblings have done or are doing and smashing me in the face with their successes while bragging about themselves to mom and dad – (“Oh, we went to India last month and guess what we did?” or “I’m opening my third location for my business next month,” or “I just can’t stand people who are needy and “beneath” me – I just have to get away from them sometimes and go to the spa.” It is so ugly.)
Religion is a big issue in my family, and, while I do think they have an authentic relationship with God, I feel like it too is oftentimes used as a way to make themselves feel better about themselves and as a way to “buy” people/friends/acceptance. Ultimately, I will never be what my siblings are. BUT! I am beautiful in so many ways that they will never have the gifts of, and while my parents can’t appreciate this, it is still difficult. Even so, at the ripe old age of 55, I am still working on celebrating my happiness, successes, learned failures, and relationships, and have vowed that this curse will not be handed down with my own children and grandchildren. Even so, I suffer deeply with depression and anxiety, I am often insecure, and struggle immensely with being assertive. I will probably continue to deal with these issues for the rest of my life as the scars are deep. Sadly, I think once my parents pass on, I will have nothing more to do with my siblings and until that happens, life will continue to have turmoil in this regards. I can do all things through God, and thankfully I have a father in heaven who does love me, celebrates and appreciates me, and cares for me in ways that this earthly world will never be able to provide. This is where I have been able to find my strength and will continue to do so. I only hope that the multitude of people who have responded to this thread are able to find this resource as well.
This obviously is an important topic, and I think we all have a story to tell in regards to our upbringing as it compares to our siblings and parents. I would not be who I am today were it not for all of my experiences, and I choose to see my life as beautiful, as compared to my siblings’. I hope each of your readers are able to find peace as well, as this can be a very traumatic lifelong issue to deal with.
Do you have any actual data/reputable studies that show a statistically significant difference between middle children and their siblings? I cannot find any online, but you seem to have been looking into this for longer. I would be very grateful for you to share your findings as I seem to be bad at this…
HI there! Thank you for reading my article! 🙂 No, I really can’t say I have more actual data — I was really pulling from the book I linked to in the post. Sorry I’m not more help! Blessings and Aloha
I’m a middle child of five and I love what you put up here. I wish I had all this growing up!
hello! i’m a middle child of 3 and I face a lot of difficulties. my parents are more likely to appreciate my 25 years old elder sister, and give even more attention to my 8 years old brother. but I do not feel really bad when they gave so much attention to my little brother, because he’s a baby and 9 years younger than me. though me and my sister are 8 years apart, we used to live together until she’s 23 and I can feel the comparation and the contrast between the affection they give to my sister and me. at first, I understand that it’s normal, because my sister is a first-born child, so my parents put a lot of hope and wishes for her since she’ll replace their role for taking care of me and my brother when my parents can’t do it any longer. but the longer I feel, the more I realize that the affection they give for my sister and I are 2 quite different things. they appreciate on every little things she does, and boast it to everyone they meet. and my sister just got the scholarship to attend her master degree abroad, so it makes them even crazier to tell eveyone about it. and whenever she’s home for smester break in college, she’s most appreciated. mama always cook her favorite meals, and hear every line of her story then give everlonging smile for it. she also drive her to her favorite place in town and buy her everything she wants. my sister is a very sensitive person, so whenever she got mad, my parents always ask for apologize to her first, though it might be her fault. but a quite different things happen to my life. I achieved more at school both in elementary and junior high and attend a better high school than my sister did. but my parents admiration is not as much as I expected. they rarely cook my favorite food whenever I came home for semester break (my high school is boarding school), and they are more likely not so happy for me staying at home. and my most insecuriting-and mind-pressuring problem is, they don’t listen much when I talk. they dont even throw a smile at me when I say something funny. they dont hear my story out loud, and eventough they do, they are not as excited as when my sister told one. and I rarely got my wishes come true, like going out to drive down the town, or simply going to my favorite restaurant after a long busy time I spent at dorm. they dont always buy anything I want (but I’m fine because I rarely ask for anything, I even got the first smartphone in my life at the age of 17). my parents appreciate my sister because she’s the first, and they love my brother because he is the last. I wonder if they know how small I feel living in the same house as my other sibling does. whenever I tried to tell them what I feel, they end up point out their voice at me and got even more mad. eversince, I’m not trying so hard to tell them how they have treated me so unfair. I hide it in my chest, and sometimes cried it out when it becomes unbearable. I just can’t tell them because they wont believe me, and because they are both religious, they always believe that I’m wrong because I’m still so young to talk about parenthood. I just hope, no matter what ways god might open their hearts, I want them to understand how I feel, and love me as much as they do to my other sibling, and how I really want my story to be heard, and my sister wish is worth-fulfilling, as my other sibling’s.. thank you for reading (if you do)! I just need someone to listen…
I have 2 sisters and 1 brother older and 2 sisters and 1 brother younger and it was always challenging for me to get any kind of acknowledgement from my parents or my sisters and brothers. The 3 oldest were close to each other and the 3 younger ones were close to each other. so, oftentimes I felt alone. Needless to say, I often felt like the child no one paid much attention to. As we got older when they had issues with each other they would come to me to help resolve their issues and when I remained nutural or offered different perspectives that made sense, they would turn on me for making sense. I grew up in a loving Christian home yet felt alone. I was quite and I learn to keep to myself and to this day I can keep the biggest secret. Ironically enough once we all became adults adults I became closer to all of my siblings than they to each. In the end I guess turned out the way it was suppose to.
I too am a middle… I feel your pain and ahare in your sasness and hope to oneday not be misunderstood and loved as much as my siblings 😓🙏🏻💕
I am the middle kid in my family. The thing is I am the only girl which means I have an older and younger brother. They always team up on me and I share some classes with my older brother who just makes fun of me and the teachers never notice. Which has made me self concious. I try not to tell my parents but sometimes I will yell at the boys what they said to me and my mom will hear and will defend them most times. When they are not picking on me my younger brother is the one I can be buddies with but my older still hates me. Any advice?
Hey Lou, thank you for the comment. I understand it can be so hard…I guess I’d just have to tell you what I tell my own boys when they are similarly frustrated — You just keep doing what is right and whether or not anyone knows it at the moment, God knows it. It will pay off. Your mom will see things for how they are. God is pleased with you and that is the most important thing. Don’t let your brother make you self-conscious. Be proud of who you are! And one day you’ll likely be super close to your brothers! Things just work out. Meanwhile hopefully you have some good friends to spend time with, and you can just not let your brothers get to you too much.
I’m the oldest of three girls, and I happen to be in a bit of a prickly situation with one of my younger siblings-the middle child.
I’m graduating high school this year, and the last thing I want to do is leave home on a bad note with my sisters. They mean the world to me, and I do my best to tell them and show them that. I try not to be the older sister that wants nothing to do with her siblings, but often it’s the other way around-my sisters want nothing to do with me and my friends, likely because we have a sort of childish fun. My best friend and I spend time making art, watching Studio Ghibli movies, and chatting-a couple weeks ago we spent an hour in the snow with my dog making a snowman, something the middle child haughtily told me “goes to show how old you are mentally” after she finishing laughing. This has been mostly normal for most of my life, but the past year or so it’s come to the point where it’s starting to get at me, especially in light of how much she loves our youngest sister with all her heart but goes out of her way to avoid spending time with me.
After reading this post and some of the comments, I realized that my sister hasn’t dealt with many of the things the middle child often struggles with for a long time. There was a point in time-about three years ago-that I was really struggling with some major issues and I was granted extra attention-I’m glad for it because I really did need it. By now, it’s far in the past with all the leaps and bounds I’ve grown and the extra attention has fallen back to my sisters, something I’m quietly grateful for. With this, my sisters now have new wardrobes, a new school they attend (they hated the program I was in), new interests, and lots of attention. My parents do a lot to spread the love equally among us, and are big believers in “if one of you gets something you want, the others get something they want”, which is amazing.
With all this in mind, it’s hard to understand why the middle child wants nothing to do with me, but treats the youngest as if she’s one of her friends, even though we’re all two years apart. Do you have any insight or advice as how to approach a situation like this?
Thank you, and keep up the wonderful work!
Hey Emma, sorry for the delayed reply but thank you so much for sharing your situation and your life with me! Sounds to me like you are a wise young woman with a solid head on your shoulders! It also sounds like there might be some jealousy issues going on that are probably not your fault at all. I would encourage you to keep being kind and loving, but do not set yourself up to be mistreated. Unfortunately we often need to have boundaries up even with our own siblings. :/ Time will likely work it all out and I think if you keep your character consistent and give your sisters no reason to have anything against you, your conscience can be clear. 🙂 Many good things are ahead for you! Keep up the good work. Blessings!
Hi! I’m the oldest of 7 and I felt neglected bc once I was independent I was left to do it on my own. Being the oldest is a lot of pressure especially of 7 and everytime my siblings exhibited a bad behavior I was to blame as a bad role model.
Fast forward to now I’m the mother of three young kids a 4 yr boy, 2.5 year old boy and a prescious 7 month old girl that I prayed for and wanted so badly.
My first son was a little strong willed but he has come around and is the most loving of the three however very hyperactive , my middle child had a rough start to life 10 days in NICU and he is terrible he has tantrums for simple things like asking him to go potty before leaving, or asking him to clean up he is very strong willed, not really lovey dovey, hates being told no or even to wait especially for food, but very chill if you leave him alone( the oldest constantly purposefully aggravates the middle child) the baby can do no harm bc she’s my girl I know it sounds wrong I plan to hold her to same standards as other two but I can’t imagine her getting on my nerves as much as the boys. I love birth order studies and hope I can make sure all my kids get equal love and attention!
Great post! I have three sons and I am very sensitive to my middle son and his needs. I totally agree with everything you included on your list. One of the things I do with my middle son is take him out on sushi dates (we both love sushi) so we can talk and spend some quality time together. I really enjoy following your blog and I think you’re a great mom!
So good and So true. I have 3 boys, 16,14,10. All 3 as you described. My middle is totally different than my first. But, he’s also compassionate and a good leader. He does push us more, but has a good head on his shoulders. All 3 are so different, we have to train the same values and rules, but remain flexible to cater to each personality. It’s fun! I’m from a girl
Family and have 3 boys. Life has been interesting and I’ve learned a lot. Definitely wouldn’t trade these 3 boys for 3 girls. Lol. They are amazing young men who will be incredible godly husbands and fathers one day. Thanks for all your post. This set is my Favorite.
I am parent of 3 girls, the problem my middle one has and has had since childhood is she demands the attention of her older and younger sisters friends. To the point of when oldest graduated she crashed the senior party. She always managed to take their friends from them.. She is in her50’s now and still has to be center of attention in one way or another.
Thank you for this – i am fascinated by birth order – I’m the eldest of 3, my husband is the youngest of 3 and we’ve got 3 (boy,boy, girl) … our middle is the kindest of the 3 by a country mile but has an anger and rudeness that neither the other two possess.. we worry about him the most…. your words are very useful and your advice is sound … we will continue our quest to manage his anger and feed his kind heart
It’s the favoritism that has always bothered me the most between me and my siblings, now it’s been carried down to grandchildren and great grand children. Speaking up gets you no where but being blamed and the oldest and youngest gang up against you.
oh I’m sorry Kim. That sounds hard. Usually there are more factors than just birth order involved, so I hope you can pursue conversations and a better relationship in time. Hopefully it helps to have some insight and know you are not alone. Blessings as you stay strong and find your peace even when things are perfect in your family… Aloha-
Hi, i’m a 27 year old middle girl of three girls. i feel silly writing this because of my age, but i am still dealing with middle child issues even now. i am getting married in three months and moving out of my parents house for the first time… over the years there have been a lot of issues, way too many to list but with me it really tended to boil down to money [or at least thats how it felt].
My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer when i was 15 and my dad lost his job a month later, so i decided to go out and find a part time job to ‘help my family’. Since then i have always worked, my siblings had part time jobs here and there but i am the only one who never went even a week without a job. when i started law school i was studying through the week and working the weekends so that my parents wouldn’t have to pay for my tuition or living expenses. i took out huge student loans and literally didn’t even ask for a penny for my family… the study load was tough and despite being a bright kid in high school i was predicted a failing grade, i broke down one day and sat with my mom to finally admit i was struggling and to my shock she listened to me and then suggested i take a weeks vacation from work and then get back on it because it just won’t do if i quit my job. i was hospitalised twice during my studies with stress related illnesses, but to be honest i figured my parents just didn’t have enough money to help..or else they would right?
i somehow got through university with a mediocre grade and started work immediately after uni. during this time my younger sister was admitted to medical school, i figured she would work just like i did so i proposed putting in a good word with some of my earlier employers.. to which my mum turned around and said ‘she’s not working – she needs to concentrate on her studies’. they paid for 5 years of medical school and i inwardly grew resentful, first as she had everything paid for, then as she was bought a car and then when my mum would continuously pay for her groceries (after she became a doctor) despite her earning a higher wage than me!
With my older sister its more of an emotional favour than monetary, my mum will pre-empt her feelings and protect them – usually at the expense of my own. when the family gets together i am usually either the butt of the joke or just not invited at all. when my older sister got married i was hopeful that he would be the voice of balance as my father is fairly dis-engaged from any family issues and never has an opinion either way. but to my misery he decided to join in with the obvious favouritism. sometimes even the little things – like them being excited to have my little sister over and almost playing a formality when they have me – truly hurts me to the point that i will cry in the bathroom.
over the years i’ve become quite argumentative when i feel they are ganging up on me and have had more and more outbursts, during which my mum will actually bitch about me to my siblings whilst i am sitting right there. i once tried to confront her about this and began to cry, i told her that i felt bullied by them and as though she didn’t love me, but she just listened and then said i’m being silly.. later that night i overheard her talking to my older sister about it on the telephone and complaining about how dramatic i was being- i never brought up my feelings to her again but became very distant from my mom. to the point that we no longer hug and kiss or show any affection.
in a few months i will be moving out and i’m concerned that i’ll be even more alienated from this family than i already am. i genuinly feel as though i could completely dissapear and they wouldn’t have a clue. i’m hurt over my mothers clear disregard for my feelings, i feel as though she does this and gets away with it because my father never corrects her. i feel like once i’m married i’ll truly become the black sheep and lose everyone. I know it sounds silly but i really want them to love me, and i still have this feeling inside that the reason i’m left out is because i am this dramatic, difficult and drag of a person that they describe me as, but the only time i have an argument is after months and months of keeping smaller issues bottled up inside. i don’t know what to do.
Oh hon, my heart hurts for you as I read this. I’m guessing your wedding has transpired, and I really hope it was wonderful. I wonder if your husband has any insight? I know mine has been great as both a listening ear and a source of insight and wisdom. I also wonder if you could meet with a counselor and maybe down the road meet with a counselor with your family. They are great at listening and asking questions and getting to the heart of things.
I don’t even know your name, but I am praying tonight that you find peace and healing. In the midst of it all, just know that Jesus loves you so very much. You matter to Him, and He sees your grief and He cares so much. Big hugs to you and best wishes for your married life.
Hello, I am 23 years old and I am the #3 child of 4 children. I am the only girl among us and that always makes people see me as the “most loved” one. But I always feel that my parents tend to give more affection to my elder or younger brother, give them what they want, and support them unconditionally. Instead, they use me as someone to be mad at, finish the housework, clean up things, etc. I need to work hard to get their attention, but the other doesn’t need to. If any of my parents/brothers are arguing each other, I will be the “owl”: passing messages from one person to another, try to adjust things so we all can get over it.
I always try to not thinking about this but sometimes I can still cry for it. Sometimes this position feels like a huge burden for me… cleaning up everyone’s mess. Everyone has their rules, but I can only be the followers. I have to fulfill everyone’s expectation, having no time to think about my self.
Maybe I wasn’t made to stand out, make achievements, or do something big outside this house. Maybe I was born to stay here, cleaning the laundry, and forget about all my dreams..
Well, I don’t know. Who knows.
I just think that writing this will make me feel better.
Hi, I’m 15 about to be sixteen and all my life I felt miserable with being a middle child. I’m the only introvert of the family and I feel disconnected to the point I’m up at night crying because no one pays attention to me. They don’t like what I like. I like reading, drawing, science and everything cliche for an introvert (I guess) yet everyone else are extroverts who only care about sports,high grades, and having conversations I barely have a voice in. Whenever I talk to anyone in my family they seem not to hear me. My siblings Ghost me in school. I’m always replaced by my sister’s friends as I try to get attention from her by trying to strike up a conversation. My sister is my twin yet she always makes me move seats for her friends when I arrive early at lunch just to save her a spot so I can be by her. It hurts when the only thing I feel special about is my health condition I have yet even then they don’t pay attention to me much. I’m always alone. I have a hard time making friends and I just feel like I don’t matter, at all. I have talked to my family many times and it never helps. All I do is shut myself away in my room these days because what’s the point being around people who don’t seem to care? I confide more in people I meet over the Internet more than family,unfortunantly. They say I have an old soul and I’m mature yet I’d do anything to be rebellious yet feel like I matter. It’s a viscous cycle in my opinion. My siblings get away with everything. If I get the slightest ounce of snappy attitude everyone hates on me but with my other siblings they get off easy. It doesn’t seem right. I’m not the favorite and I know my sister is. They spend thousands of dollars a year on my sister’s soft ball yet when I want to go to the zoo they say no? I mean it’s not “ a later” thing it’s a flat out no. When my sister wants to go to six flags? I think you get the picture. The same goes for my brother. I probably sound like a brat but I’m just voicing myself…I just feel sad all the time. It’s as if they don’t want me. My mother said to me one time when we found out about my Illness that “ I remember the real you. You were so much better and compassionant.We will make you that way again.” And that hurt. I can’t remeber who I was when I was 8! Me being the introvert this is all I know. It’s as if she hates who I am and is wishing for me to go back to the way I was just for our family’s sake but what if I’m happy like this? I’m happy with my personality just not the illness. It feels like torment that I may never escape. I went to coinciding and theorpy with my aunt one time and it didn’t do any good. I just feel unappreciated. I’m too afraid to stand out because usually when I do I make myself look worst. I even tried to play softball just for approval in my step father’s eyes and yet it wasn’t enough. I quit because it was only a temporary thing he seemed to enjoy with me. His approval didn’t last long. Anyways sorry for the long post. I even started to cry writing this haha.
Hi Ashley, Thank you for sharing your story here. I hear your heart and I am so so sorry for how you feel in your family. I highly encourage you to find a safe person to talk to in person about this. Is there a counselor at your school, or an adult you trust to bring this to? If so, I would recommend you print out your comment from this post and share it with them. You present your feelings very well in writing and I would love to see your family hear from you (with a third party) so that you might share in a way that they understand. Of course, there is always another side to things (and I do not know your medical issues, but however that may play a role) and you also need to be open if there are changes you COULD make (we all can improve in some area) and you could all work together to build better relationships. I wish you all the best. Please don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Find someone to talk to! Much aloha-
Hi there! I’m 23 years old. I’m the middle of 5 children and I feel really neglected. I have an older brother and sister that get all the love of my parents. I also have a younger brother and sister Ho are spoiled. I feel like my 2 brothers and my 2 sisters are always together and I’m feeling left out. Because of that I’ve become really introverted and I have major social anxiety. I don’t have many friends and I don’t go out much. But the real issue is that I have is that I don’t get any attention of my parents. When I’m talking to them, they don’t even listen. I’m doing really well in school and always have good grades, but my parents don’t even seem to care. They never told me how proud they are of me. Over the years my relationship with my mother has really gotten worse. I always argue with my mother and we always fight. When I’m alone with her I always get nervous and uncomfortable. We don’t really talk that much and we don’t have anything in common. I feel like she hates me and doesn’t want me around. She doesn’t even know when my birthday is! That’s why I’ve become really rebellious. I’m constantly calling out names at my parents and argue. I try to avoid talking to my parents as much as possible. But I really want to improve my relationship with them, cause life is to short. Does anyone have tips for my situation? How can I improve my relationship with my parents? Does therapy help?
Thank you so much!
Hi Kigu, your story caught my heart. Actually I’m here reading up on what my middle needs from me. He’s definitely quieter than any of the other 4 kiddos. And can see how he’s in the shadows a good bit as well. Anyway, my wife is #3 in a family of 4. She’s the middle daughter and has an older brother as well. She’s had a tough time as grew older as well relating with her mom. Some general observations:
1. You probably have a parent wound. That’s where you feel like you’ve been wounded by your parents so much that it impacts who you were created to be. If that’s the case, you can’t carry that burden around your whole life. It will consume you and embitter you. You can only carry the things that you are responsible for. Plus, Jesus came to bring you life more abundantly. You weren’t meant for these chains. Everything else builds on that cornerstone truth.
2. Where was your mother in her birth order? My mother-in-law was an only child. I believe that has an impact on how she views life and how she relates with others.
3. Regardless of how you feel about her (or anyone), you should always show respect. Especially to our parents. If nothing else, you’ll continue to regret it if you don’t.
4. Look for and comment on the “good” behavior. “Thanks Mom, for…” “You really helped me out when…” It does two things: I makes you look for the good things and it reinforces the good behaviors. In work, I call it “managing up.” If she’s providing for you in some way, they you have to manage up.
5. Ask her how she does something and actively listen (by engaging your mind and asking questions along the way). It doesn’t matter what. It doesn’t even matter if you really want to know or not. This makes her feel like she has something to valuable to share. And when someone feels valued in a relationship, they relate better. And it sounds like you understand what it’s like when someone doesn’t feel valued.
6. What do you do with your time? Do you read? Work? Be creative? I would highly encourage some type of use of your time beyond entertainment. When I have down time, my mind spirals out of control (I struggle with a father wound myself).
Therapy? Maybe. Maybe not. Is there a family friend you can talk to? An aunt? Older lady at church? Someone who has known your family for a long time? If you trust them to hold a confidence, then they may have more insight into the family dynamics.
solid advice, Brian. Thanks for taking the time to jump in! 😉
I am the third out of four in my family. As an adult, I am glad to be a middle. When I was growing up I was very unhappy with family life. My little brother, the youngest, was the only sibling I got along with. My mother, who was the youngest of two, would only really give attention to her kids if they demanded it by making trouble. My father, a middle child, always loved and appreciated me. He and I were kindred spirits, both being very philosophical in nature. After my parents split up my mother kicked me out at age 17. We’d been arguing and I guess that was her solution. I moved in with my boyfriend who had an apartment. My young adult years were chaotic. I became more philosophical and began meditating, met my husband. My perfect mate, an only child. Had two girls and I dare say my life feels perfect now. Not that no problems arise but now, in my adulthood, I feel I have the skills to deal. Middle children, cultivate your spiritual sides. Believe your life can be pure magic and it will be! Love to all of you! 💘
Hi, like many others I am 15 as well, my situation may be slightly different as I am the middle of five kids. I have more recently been interested in the psychological effect of my position. I am very clearly the least favorite in my family, everyone knows it but my parents won’t admit it. I am often mean to the favorite of the family, and my parents always scream at me and tell me I will have no friends if I am that mean. My parents rarely hug me or kiss me, mainly because I don’t want them to. I feel very unloved, which probably leads to the fear of intimacy. My parents can also be super critical, my siblings as well, so I have become super critical of myself. This leads to me having anxiety about quite a few things. I feel anxiety about anything that involves public situations, especially in school (speaking, asking a question, raising my hand). I also have a strong anxiety over sports in public, especially around new people. I feel this to the point where I will try and avoid any activities of the like. I have one older sister, one older brother, and two younger siblings. I am very smart and pretty good at sports, my parents will sometimes tell me that I may be the smartest of the five but I still feel unloved and unappreciated. I am very introverted, although I am good at quickly making friends with almost anyone. I have a lot of trouble being open with anyone, my parents or friends. I can be very high strung and pretty responsible. I don’t know if this makes any sense or if anyone would know how to fix this but it was worth a try.
Alright I’m the most hated child in the family I’m soft and “A cry baby” as most people say my sister 13 years old and my younger sister/devil which is 3 years old and I do house work and cleaning and taking out the trash clean the rooms I feel like a maid nobody acknowledges me what so ever I would sit right infront my mom ask her a question she would never answer me it’s so rude and aggravating. ~Tara Lackert~11
I’m 12 years old and I’m the middle child.This is my first time really making a comment on websites like this,I am only able to do this because I have a Chromebook Laptop that I got for Christmas and I got my own Google account.Anyways back to the subject I have a brother his name is Logan and he’s 14 years old.He’s also the middle child,So we get along great.We grew up together as buddies.But when our birthdays come around me and Logan only get like 2 gifts…While the rest of the family gets like 4 or 5 gifts.We don’t mind sometimes because we respect that our parents have a tight budget,but sometimes I don’t see that…So I’ve stopped being spoiled and selfish.Anyways,Sorry i’m really bad at these sort of things,but just earlier like maybe 10 minutes ago I politely asked my younger siblings [The 3 of them] to brush their teeth because dad said to.And they responded with “No,I don’t want to.” And I said “Please I need you guys to brush your teeth dad asked you to.” And they kept saying “No” so then I told my dad and he just barely acknowledged that I was there so I went to my room and he yelled to the boys from the room he was in:”Brush your teeth!” And they all rushed to the bathroom and started brushing their teeth and then my little brother -_- the one that irritates me on purpose with no reason at all just to do it says:”We don’t like it when you say it,Sophie.” And that irritated me so much so I told my dad about what he said and he said:”…” Yea nothing didn’t even notice I was there and so I walked out mumbling “Yea,thanks for the attention.” So pretty much I have much more I could type,but I’m almost at the bottom of the page.I love my family it’s just….sometimes I don’t really get noticed enough and I don’t get my own clothes…I wish my parents would read this website on what Middle Children Need.Good to get that off my chest.Thanks.
~Sophie Tucker [Female,Age 12,Middle Child,Athlete]
If you ask me to I will continue to add the rest of my life story it’s going to be a long one to type though.
Hi, I’m 15 years old and the middle child. I’m the only male of all my sisters and cousins. I recently left school (in February) due to mental deterioration and anxiety. Due to this, I am around the house almost everyday trying to complete my own projects but my mother is always making me do housework. Currently I am on my summer break, or so I thought. I was playing my PS4, having a good time with my only friends due to leaving school and she comes in and yells at me because apparently I don’t get holidays anymore. I’m off school so I don’t get school holidays. I can’t spend time with my friends. She’s constantly reminding me that I’m not going to be able to get a job when I turn 16. We never get along. She is always saying something negative. I havent gotten a compliment from her in months without me asking her to give me emotional support.
The interesting thing about our relationship is that she will always give me hugs and sometimes we can have a laugh. I describe this relationship as a bipolar one.
Anytime I talk to her about how I’m feeling about our relationship or about how she is treating me she tends to pull the you are the child and I am the adult, however I am constantly getting told to grow up. I don’t know what to do. She doesn’t trust me. Once she gets an idea in her head, like I’ve been drinking at night time when I hang out in the town park where I live, she doesn’t let go. If I provide evidence for not having drank anything, she forgets it or dismisses it. I love my mum but I do not like her. Most of the time.
Dearest Middle Child,
So sorry for all that you’re feeling in your relationship with your mom. Since you left school due to mental deterioration, I am wondering if that means you are seeing a counselor or therapist of some sort? I would hope you are, and that you could talk to this outside person about your relationship with mom as well. I am sure your mom is under stress as well, and though you feel she is being hard on you, she is likely doing her best in her circumstances. I would love to see the two of you sit down at the right time (with a counselor would be ideal) and just calmly talk through your feelings. Perhaps if there were written guidelines that you agreed on, you might find a peaceful compromise. For example if you had specific “holidays” where you can spend time with friends (guilt-free.) When and how much school/homework to do each day, etc. I think if you are reasonable and objective, you and mom should be abel to work out a plan. I will pray for you. Hang in there– you are at a challenging age no matter what your circumstances and I believe things will get better over the next few years. Don’t give up and don’t start rebelling–it will only hurt you in the end. 🙂 Much aloha, and keep me posted, ok?
I think I’m the one. I’m 15 and a half and I can’t even get a real smart phone. Mom say she’ll give me an IPhone 4 when I’m mature enough. But when my brother was 13 he got an iPhone . And when he turned 14 he had a iPhone 5s. Whereas I had nothing. I’m only allowed to play electronics for 1h a day, but my brother can play whenever he likes. Btw my studies are WAY better than my brothers . My little sister can get any toys she want, won’t get punished if she did something wrong, and mom even bought her a electric piano just because mom thinks ‘she likes music’. And in the end, it turns out my sister doesn’t even like music. So it seems. Unbelievable. And when I request a SIM just to at least have a number, not a phone, mom said no. When my friends ask for contact number.. I’m forced to say I don’t have one.
This article is not meant for me as a parent (because I am not one) but, as a middle child all I can say is that it is really terrible. My father and older sister have a great bond sometimes, I wish I could talk to my father as easily as she does but, when I do I either feel very intimidated since, I do not get to see him very often since, he works out of state and I never really communicated that well with him. In the past, we usually got into arguements and have said really hurtful things to one another. My mother and younger sister are close and I wish that could be me sometimes. I really am close to my mom in my eyes because we are very alike and I can tell her many things but, sometimes she cannot tolerate me and blocks me out. She also, does not give same punishments she gives to me as she does to my other sisters. Or even says things to them that she’s said to me. Sometimes, my life just feels lonely and since, it’s hard for me to talk to friends or meet new people I tend to feel isolated and more independent. My sisters seem to not hate me at times as well as my parents. I just want a change in my life and I don’t know how to start. =/
**I meant to say my mother things and scolds me a lot more differently than she does to my sisters. Also, in school I have been a bit more successful than my sisters but, my parents seem to just praise me for a little while and then leave to go tell my other sisters how we’ll they’re doing but, with even more smiles on their faces. And I also, meant to say that sometimes it feels like they all hate me and it really sucks.
It’s horrible, I don’t get a say in anything, no I am not an adult yet, but I do hope things will get better for me. I can hardly go outside because my mom doesn’t want me hanging out with my friends who made me happy. And my sister which is the oldest gets to basically do everything and anything she wants. My younger brother is of course the spoiled one and he gets all the attention. But I always feel left out. I’m not loved, I do not get attention what so ever unless I actually do something stupid or get into an argument, in fact I rather not get into arguments then be in one. I always lie low and try to not talk to my mom about anything and she doesn’t even mind she’s always on her phone and by the time I try and talk to her she’s too moody or tired from a “long day” of handling my sister and brother, she doesn’t understand what it’s like to be the middle child because she was the oldest when she was my age. And I’m not really sure what to do in life because of all this negativity in my life currently.
Oh I am so sorry for how you feel, Emily. I don’t know how old you are, but it sounds like you and your mom need a sit down chat to clear the air. She may not even realize how you are feeling, and if you catch her at the right time, maybe you could even read her the comment you left here…? I’m sure she doesn’t mean to make you feel that way, and I am willing to bet she loves you very much. But she is human and probably overlooking your feelings. Please try talking to your mom about things! 🙂 And also I encourage you to find some positive places that your mom would be ok with you spending time–is there a youth group in your area? You might find some happiness getting connected with positive people who you could grow in friendship with. God sees you. He knows your heart. He has a plan for your life. Do not get discouraged. Keep me posted, k? With Aloha, Monica
My middle child just doesn’t understand how much I love him. He always says that I have more time for the little one, in any way I do spend more time with the younger one but I share my love and attention to all three. He gets so moody, angry, he even gets so tearful recently. It really breaks my heart but I’ve read and absorbed everything you have said. I will spend more time with him, sit him down and chat.
My middle child is a girl. She is the only sister and cousin on my side of the family. She is very strong willed and independent. It does not bother her if she gets spankins and is always wanting to do things her way.
I am the 3rd born of 4 children. But am typically the middle girl. My brother was the oldest, and then us three girls. My older sister got new clothes, I got the hand me downs and my younger sister got the new clothes. My older sister got a new bike, which was then handed to me, and by the time my younger sister got a bike, hers was new. I never really held any animosity about those things, as birthday and Christmas, I got some new clothes. I was unique to my sisters in fashion sense, and I am a very social adult. I had 4 children of my own and have made sure they have all had their own “new” items like bikes and clothes etc. It also helped that I had girl boy girl boy, with significant age gaps between the first three. I think if you make it a big deal, it becomes a big deal.
I am a middle child. I have two older sisters and two younger sisters and an older brother who was a family unto himself as the only boy. My dad often told me growing up that my two older sisters were to good to do something wrong and my two younger sisters were to young to do something wrong, so I must have done it. Made for a messed up thinking on my part growing up until I realized as an adult that I am enough. I am not close to any if my sisters or my brother, but they are all close with each other. That is a downfall in our relationships. My father is gone and when I do talk to my mother about things, she is always feeling apologetic and often feels the need to defend me to her other children. I have no idea why she is defending me, I don’t see my siblings very often so, they really know nothing about me. But, I grew up first the baby of the family as there are six years between myself and the next younger and eight years between myself and the youngest. I became the middle child much later than most. But none the less, a middler. The dynamics of large families changes the thinking if a middle child. There are different degrees of middleness. Often when dynamics change the concept of a “middle” child, such as five girls and one boy, that middle child often becomes the go to child for something that happened, even if it wasnt them, they have no defense when parental thinking is such as I grew up with. I agree wholeheartedly with your article and wish it had been around when I was growing up. However, I have grown into a productive well rounded person because of what I experienced. I do have trust issues, slow to trust and slow to re-give trust when it is broken. But God is working on me and I will be ok.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. That is seriously a complex situation. Well done growing up well rounded and aware but not consumed. Bless you, it must not have been easy. All the best to you- With aloha!
I see these traits in my middle child for sure and also in my husband who is a middle child. My situation was very interesting growing up. I was the oldest of three but the middle child was the only boy in our entire family (cousins included). So while he did have a few middle tendencies he got a lot of attention b/c of his gender. So I interestingly enough, I always had a mix of oldest and middle tendencies. I’m actually quite glad for this now as it helped me to be more laid back and if circumstances were different I know I would have been the uptight oldest! 🙂 I love adventure, and I’m not scared at all of change. Things I definitely attribute to that “middle” complex. The best thing about it all is I’m super aware of the issues of an oldest and middle so I recognize these things in my children and try very hard to work with them. Thanks for the article.
Thank you for sharing Nichole! I love that you have used your experience to tune into your own family and be a better parent for them…that’s really the best we can do, right? This stuff is complex but you’ve grown through it all so well. Appreciate you sharing! much aloha!
I am 52 now, but am a middle child-three girls, I’m the second! Unfortunately, we had a very emotionally unavailable father and a very immature mother. I was the “watcher”, my father preferred my oldest sister and mom horribly resented that. I spent many a summer watching them battle, to the point of my mom chasing her around the house. That said, I felt really sorry for my older sister because of this. She was extremely shy until she got out of high school. I tried to include her with my friends at times because I always seemed to have a lot of them-where as she would have one friend she was super close with, almost inseparable. But boy did she have mommy issues! She’s gotten a lot of counseling, but from where I stand no amount of counseling will fix her catering to a fault. She moved our mother in with her a year ago. (We now know that our mom has narcissistic tendencies which explained her immature behavior while we were growing up.)
I see this as a huge mistake-but nope, my oldest sister bought a brand new house that could accommodate both of them. She complains at nausium when she has a listening ear-but I have had to keep a healthy distance from this very destructive relationship.
To your point about the middle child-yes, I am the watcher, I am the only sister that is still married and I got many many years of counseling to try to undo our dysfunctional childhood.
Not to say I don’t have my problems but being a middle child allowed me to be flexible and accepting. Your right to pay attention to your own middle children and make sure they are getting their needs met.
I also live the life of the middle child syndrom…..l often think back to my day of reckoning…..l was about nine years old.every summer my grandmother would take all of the grandkids from het three children, l guess giving them all a break and making sure that the relationship between the grandkids remained close…Anyway one summer
Afternoon my grandmother ask me to help her set up a kiddy luncheon for the younger grandkids, apond completion l too say down to enjoy the spead.Oh no my grandmother said,this is for the youngins,to sure that they tire out for early bedding……so l left the backybackyard and went on the house looking for the older kids,l found them all across the street…so l attempted to cross the,when they told Mr to go back to the house with the rest of the kids…….it was then that l knew l was different…….my grandmother came out on the porch because she heard me crying,and she said child what’s wrong with you, Why are you crying? I said because I’m nobody…. I’m nothing…too old to be in the backyard with the younger grandkids,and the older ones told me that l was too young to be with them.
My grandmother smiled and told me to come in the house with her…..you’re be my little helper today(my grandmother was one of the head chef’s at her job.)I’ll always remember that summer as the worst summer,and the best summer….for my grandmother took me under her wing’s and showed me how to cook from scratch…..thats also the day that she wiped the years from my eyes and told me the MIDDLE GRANDCHILD that l was SPECIAL……my grandmother had passed on,but because of that summer l became bigmomma and for those who don’t who that is…..it’s the monarchy of the family……the one who keeps it all together…….me the MIDDLE GRANDCHILD !
I was a middle boy that was so left out of things at home that when I was 11 and wanted to try out for the 4th grade baseball team at school,I had No mitt,so borrowed the 70 year old neighbors’ 4 finger 1940’s mitt.I was cut immediately from the team,and the coaches only wanted to see the unusual mitt.I was cut again the next year.Oh well.
Oh Jeff that is a sad story! I don’t know how old you are now, but hopefully you have some perspective on things and know that your parents are human and imperfect, but I’m sure they love you very much too. You have great value because God loves you and has a plan for your life! Hold on to that most of all. 🙂 Blessings to you and remember that one day you can be an encouragement to others! aloha-
Sounds bout right..my middle just became the 2nd of 4…. She is very unique… A real hell raiser bluntly
She is beyond a handful.. However she does her own thing she is smart but doesn’t listen to me at all..dad has to deal with that diva… She spoiled beyond the point of no return and she’s only 3!!!!!
My baby is chill but has an attitude that will rock hells gates and send the devil back in the arms of God…
So…. What should we do for our diva??
I have 3 children (girl, boy &boy). The oldest will be 5 in November. The middle child is 33 months and the baby is 18 months. The oldest is very contoling and I repent. The middle is very dependent, lack social skills and seeks for attention. The baby is very independent and has great social skills. I am very aware of the “Middle Child Syndrome”. I make sure I give him the most attention, yet it is still not enough. He clinges to me while the other two will run off and play freely. I try to reevaluate my parent style, but I just don’t know where I went wrong. Does anyone have any advise or strategies that can help my middle one to be more independent & less clingy.
Lesliann– My first thought may not be what you want to hear, but honestly: Your kids are still so young. You’re just in a really rough season! I don’t know if your middle child is suffering so much a middle child syndrome as he is just still so little. Yes, I would continue to help him gain independence, but he also just might have a more attached personality. Perhaps he needs a bit more love and connection. He’ll likely grow out of that very naturally. Social skills come with time–at 33 months I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of social skills. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of those years it is hard to see clearly, but I really encourage you to just hang on and enjoy the ride. Things will all sort themselves out over time. Don’t be too hard on yourself!! Much aloha-
I am a mother of 3 girls.I have a hard time to handle my middle child..and thanks to this article because now I know what my middle daughters feelings right now..I dont have a clue how to manage her self loathing attitude.Maybe I really dont understand the feeling coz Im the youngest in our family.
I have two brothers one is 21 and one is 2 ,all my life before my two year bro was born ,I felt ingored and hurt by people and my parents and my older brother
” What is that called ?”
This is sooooo true! If my parents actually have time to spend with me, they would see everything that have to deal with every day. I am 13 years old and I am in the middle. I really wish people would
understand what I have to deal with .😥😢
I’m a middle child and have experienced every emotion stated. I’ve struggled with my identity my whole life. I’m fun, funny, energetic, out for a good time, not dramatic, not confrontational, LOVE, NO HATE, look for the best in everyone! It can be a bit exhausting at times, and other times I don’t mind the job. I love my siblings more than they could ever comprehend! I’d lay down my life for them at any moment. I’m loved by my 3 sisters, my 3 brother in laws , my 3 kids, but yet struggle with me, myself, and what I have to offer this world.
I’m the middle of three boys and feel what you have said so true and until reading your post I didn’t know I was such an outcome of my birth position. I’m nearly fifty, successful, happily married, independent, never ask for help, took risks and now live the furthest from my parents.
However, I felt so strongly about being the middle child that I had made up my mind that I would not have three children. I am luckily to have two lovely girls.
Wow, Fascinating Gerald! Thank you for commenting and sharing a bit of your story. SO happy that my post helped shed some light on your own birth position and feelings related to it (whether you realized it or not. 😉 ) Also thrilled that you have two lovely girls…Enjoy them!! Aloha-
I am a middle child. You are very spot on with a lot of what you have said. I have an older sister and younger brother, and often felt like the odd one out, and no one listened, I always got hand me downs. I am still the odd one out now, I moved the furthest away, I have two kids, both sister and brother have three each. My chosen career is helping others in the community services sector. I have been with my husband 23 years (we were 15/16), I craved affection and felt like I had no voice. I tried to be as different as I could from my older sister
I too have read Dr. Kevin Leman’s books on birth order. They seem to be pretty spot on. Gave me alot of insight into my husband, my son, and myself. All of us are firstborns. Talk about fireworks. Whew, they were all the time. My poor daughter was the mediator and still is to this day.
wow, what an interesting mix you guys must be!! 🙂 So fascinating. Thanks for commenting–Aloha!
I’m 16 and am the middle child. My sister is the oldest by 2 years and my brother is 6 years my junior. I actually found this blog post after googling “encouragement for middle children” directly after having a big fight with my mom. I have to say, peering out of the fogs that are the teenage years, all of these are accurate. I think this generation may be a bit more equipped to express how the birth order affects them, if only for the reason that the media tells us it’s all about us and we realize more quickly how things make us feel. See, good sides and bad sides to these kinds of things. But it doesn’t always change things…. especially with bull-headed 16 year old girls whose personalities clash drastically with their moms’. For free-spirited kids, expectations and strict “goals” aren’t always good things at all. Expectations make me feel like I’m still in my sister’s shadow, even though she’s in Europe on a college trip. When your middle child reaches teenagerdom, don’t forget that the normal coming-of-age struggles may be intensified by trying to deal with the birth order and trying to blaze our own paths. It’s difficult. And tell him that he’s allowed to cry. No one in my household ever openly expressed feelings or cried, so that has led me to have real difficulties when I need to cry but my mind just keeps whispering ‘why are you so weak?’ So yeah. Thanks for suffering through that whole spiel.
Caleigh—Thank you so much for the thoughtful and insightful comment! I love hearing from you. I hear your heart. I’m sure many other readers (parents!) will read what you wrote as well. Much Aloha and hang in there. It sounds like you are very in-tune with what’s going on and I’m sure that will help you come out strong! XO
I am the middle child of 9. K, P, B, C were all 11-12 month apart. Three years later I was born and three years after that S, M, H & J were born, again very close in age. I AM middle. But my question is someone had told me once that I am also the Oldest of the second family because of the number of children and the age separation. Do you think there is any truth to that?
Hi Jane! Wow, big family…You seem to fall right no the borderline of what most birth order experts would consider starting a new family. Interestingly, with three years on either side of you, I don’t think you fit perfectly with any of the typical patterns. 🙂 However, with that many kids on either side of you, I’m gonna say you probably fit best as a middle. It just makes sense (that is my opinion!) Three years is the typical spacing that might change things up, but with that many kids, I still think you’re right in the middle, and I bet it has been an interesting family life! 🙂 Thanks for commenting. Aloha
Soo I’m 19 and but I definitely have middle child syndrome. When my spoiled demanding older brother and needy baby sister use up all of my family’s attention I often find myself quieted and forced to “go with the flow”. I don’t know what to do about this… Any ideas?
My twin sisters are the oldest in my family. I was born two years after that, and then my brother was born five years later. Therefore, I relate to many of the things you wrote since I am one of the middle children in my family. I especially think that middle children need special time with their parents alone. Every child probably needs that. Thanks again for writing this article. I enjoyed it and even laughed at how much I could relate to some of it!
Thank you for commenting Allie! glad you got some laughs in the midst of the middle talk. So glad you found my post and hope you’ll come back again! 🙂 Aloha-
I wonder about split families. I’m the middle of my mom’s children and the oldest of my dad’s.
I am a youngest child married to a middle child. It is quite insightful to see how birth order is different in each of our families. We both come from families of 3 children. My husband family is boy, boy, girl and mine is girl, boy, girl. His family is fairly, what I would call, textbook with eldest “golden-perfectionist” child, middle “black sheep-independent” child, and youngest “attention loving-babied” child. My family does not fit very well. We each seem to mesh two birth order traits lists together. My three kids are still quite young, but so far seem to be fairly “textbook”. And they are girl, girl, boy. Anyway, I found the posts interesting, enlightening, and fun. It is definitely something I feel the need to think through and chew on as a parent.
awesome AJ! Thank you for commenting. I love to ponder all of the different varieties, and it is true — the whole thing gets even more interesting when you consider the birth order of the parents. And then (to complicate it even more) how each of the parents and their birth order affects how they relate to each of the kids in their unique birth order. (My brain can’t even get that far without exploding. :)) Anyways, glad you stopped in and thank you! Aloha-
I am a middle child of 3 girls. we are all very close in age. my eldest sister is 17 months older and i have a twin 10 mins younger and …….YES…… even though i have a twin the dynamics are still the same. the eldest is the achiever and youngest the attention seeker! Sooooo I’ve always struggled with my identity and being heard…………resulting in me not communicating with the rest of the family. I’m now 55 and have been struggling for a long time to find my identity and what my path in life is ……… as a result i’m the spiritual one in the family also “the black sheep” who always seems to get into trouble. There are often times that i think i just don’t fit in anywhere. it can be a very lonely life.
I have three boys (14, 12 & 9) and a girl (6). The boys fit all the birth order rules exactly. The oldest is academic and sporty and very competitive, the middle one was the first to try anything (wanting to go on the water slides at 4y.o.), he is the dare devil. The youngest is the actor, knowing all the moves and words to every wiggles song when he was three! We try to keep them individual and listen to them when possible. I don’t really know where my daughter fits in, she is doted on by everyone a little and since she also has type 1 diabetes she probably gets away with way too much. It’s all an adventure and in between the fighting and the trying to hit each other with cricket bats there are glimpses that they all really care for each other……deep down.
I love it all Belinda! Well done, momma! 🙂 (and lucky you got a girl after all those boys! Wow! :)) Keep up the good work, and keep looking for the “deep downs!” XO Aloha-
I loved this.. I am a middle child and it’s true..
Thank you for commenting LaShannon! 🙂 Glad you stopped by. Aloha–
My middle is different than your description in some ways. I have three and although my son is the middle child, he is the oldest boy. He is very quiet and reserved. Not many friends, very smart and loves to learn. Also very responsible. The oldest is a girl and the youngest is a boy…both are so similar. They are very outgoing and have a posse that they hang out with. Both are very creative, but silly. I always try to remember to be attentive to each and everyone, but it is hard.
I’m a middle child now and my mom recently told me she was pregnant. I DO NOT want another kid in the family because I already feel forgotten about the way is ut and another baby is gonna make it worse. The baby is just going to replace me I can tell I hardly get attention the way it is yet alone another baby. And my mom and are always touchy touchy and he’s always feeling her boobs and stuff disturbs me. I told my mom it grossed me out and all she said was who cares what you think it’s not your decision. I have to say in anything around the house. And I forgot to mention I have 6 siblings 7 total including me. None of them are full they are all half. My mom recently told me I was an accident baby to which makes things worse. I’ve thought about suicide because it seems like no one cares about me anymore. My dad which isn’t biological treats me different I’m always the one to get into trouble for something I didn’t do. Plz help me and tell me what to do! 😢😰😥😓
I’m so sorry, I hear your heart. First of all, I am wondering how old you are? I think you should ask your mom to read this blog post and also your comment. I encourage you to go to someone in your life who you trust with your feelings, because they are important, and you do need to find support. I hope you can find a Christian Pastor or counselor or a trusted adult to talk to. Your life is absolutely valuable, and there is a lot ahead for you, so do not let your emotions make you think differently. This may be a challenging season, but it will get better. God has a plan for you!
Thank you for reaching out and I wish I could help you more, but I think you need to talk to someone in person.
Bless you in the New Year.
I’m a mom of 3 boys and read the Birth Order Book when I found out the third was a boy. What an insightful book! My husband is the middle of 3 boys and I see all the positive qualities in him that you mentioned. He is so very loyal, a great problem solver, friend-maker, and still very committed to his parents and brothers. I think the middle kids get the best benefits in the long run, as hard as it seems in the younger years!
My middle kid has humbled me every day for the past six years of his life. If you like Myers Brigg, I’m positive he is an F and P (not so sure about the other letters quite yet). His feelings rule his whole world and he is very indecisive. We’ve always said that he is either filled with joy or filled with rage. Even as a baby he was like that! I picked up Kevin Leman’s birth order book BECAUSE of this child of mine. It helped me so very much.
My middle kid still challenges everything that is within me and has me callin’ on Jesus regularly. But I’m learning to celebrate all the things that make him totally wonderful and delightful as well. I soothe myself as he fights with both of his siblings by reminding my heart that he is supposedly going to be the most well adjusted of the three….Lord Jesus I pray so!
Oh Tiffany…so fun! Love it. Way to keep your head on and call on Jesus! 🙂 I’m sure you’ll have stories for your middle (and his kids!) one day…Hang in there!
I am the middle child of 4. Something I always done was trying to please everyone. I never took the classes in high school that I wanted. I did whatever my parents seemed to be fond of. If anything seemed to much of a hassle, I would tell them I wasn’t interested anymore. So I stopped doing sports when it seemed difficult for them to get me places. I hated people going out of their way for me, it made me feel bad, that they spent time to do something for me when they could be doing something else. If I spent the night with a friend, I always left their house spotless before I left… I’m always ‘that friend’ that seems to just there. I have plenty of friends… That do range a wide variety of types of people… But I really don’t have a BEST friend. I don’t like choosing sides in an argumentative conversation. I usually point out the good part on everyone’s points. I hardly ever got in trouble. I just did exactly what I was told.
Hi, thanks for sharing. I’ m a middle child of 3 siblings. When we were kids, I know that my mom’s favorite children were my eldest sis and the youngest brother, maybe until now that we are all grown-ups and have family. My sis, who now lives in another country is the achiever in the family ( outstanding student with many awards here and abroad during her schooling days, has a perfect life , perfect career, etc.) while my bro, who also works abroad is the spoiled brat. They both got lots of attention from my mom and I didn’t mind because I’m use to it, but I thanked my dad because I know that I am his favorite daugther. My sis was always the best and my bro…well, he’s always the baby. There was an instance, that mom forgot my birthday. Before, I didn’t mind being the middle child but I got curious about the “middle child syndrome” so I searched articles in the internet, and all are true. I like to be alone and do art cratfts. If I had a problem, I just keep it to myself and try to solve it because it is hard to talk and share it with your family. Now that I’m 44 , there’s a pain in my heart that really hurts especially if I’m thinking about the past and maybe that is why, there are struggles in my life but I’m praying and coping to be strong and have faith. I know that my mom love us all and not aware about me being the middle child has also needs. I love my parents and siblings very much and I thanked God for them. More power!
I have 3 boys, and my middle child keeps me on my toes. In school and at home. Constantly seeking attention in whatever way he can get it. We give him a lot of positive attention at home, but for some reason I guess it’s still not enough for him. I love your blog and articles, they make me feel sane. Keep them coming!
This applies directly to my life as a middle child! Thanks for sharing!!
I have the hardest time with my middle daughter. She seems to hate me and never wants to be with me. I have tried everything I can think of. Yes even some of what you’ve mentioned here but she hates me. I just want her happy but she seems miserable here. She’d rather be by her dad who can’t have her during the week. I don’t know what to do.
I’m 13 and we have this religion at home and the females at home have to do most of the work. So I end up always getting picked on. It seems that the focus is on my little brother 24/7. My parents are always getting angry at me as well! How would I be able to get away with things and put a smile?
I am also the middle child. Except, I’m the only girl as well. My elder brother is cunning, and the favorite child, whilst my younger brother is so spoilt and is ANNOYING!!!
Help! How will I ever overcome my life?
Haha, you poor thing! 🙂 How old are you, by the way? And I do believe it will get better. You’ll grow up very strong and you’ll be able to deal with all kinds of people in life. Aloha-
I am the middle child of the family I have two brothers. This post really set things in order for me I do feel left out and like they don’t hear or pay much attention to me at all. I say how I feel and I get told its self pitty and then it explodes into a fight. I feel like I am most ignored by my mother . I sometimes feel as if the boys are more important especially my oldest brother how can I make her see that being the middle child does have a downside and help her fix things
Hey Tiffany. Maybe you should be honest with your mom, and even ask her to read this post? It can’t hurt, right? 🙂 I’m so sorry for how you feel, and I do hope it helps you to know your feelings are normal and likely not at all a true reflection of anyone’s feelings about you. It’s a tough position to be in, for sure. Yes–I do hope you’ll talk to your mom and ask her to read this post. Maybe she’d be open to at least undertanding your feelings. 🙂 Aloha and hang in there. You are special and your voice does matter!
I have 5 children (so 3 middle
Children?!) and an atypical first born. I have read Dr. Leman’s book and I love his stuff but I really wish someone could help me out with my most difficult and irresponsible first born! I think because his brother is only 16 months younger, he seems to feel threatened by him and yet, he is just as capable (school, sports).
Oh interesting Angela! You might have seen my post on firstborns this summer…And sorry if it doesn’t help much since you’ve got an atypical first born!
Of course no two kids will ever be the same, and there are a lot of variables to consider..But with a lot of love and as consistent as possible discipline, I’m sure you’ll get through it well! By the way–how old is your first born now? Curious if he’s always been difficult or if it’s a stage…?
My wife and I have three boys. Our oldest is 7 and completely fits your description of first borns. Our middle son is super athelitic and at 3 1/2 farther along in that regard than his older brother. However, he absolutely hates school ( he loves going to a daycare/ preschool for the social interaction) and we can’t get him to focus on schoolwork. We hate to constantly compare him to his over achieving older brother, but we also want to push him into liking academics. I am afraid as he gets older, he will realize he may never be as good as his older brother in academics and not want to try and just focus on athletics, or something else that will set him apart, which is fine, but there has to be something we can do to at least get him to like academics. At this age, his older brother was already reading and our middle one won’t even try to identify letters.
I hear you Juan– This is more common than you’d think. Seriously though, there is a wide range of “normal” when it comes to things like reading, so I do encourage you to keep it light and fun, and give your middle some time to mature in that area. Even if sports is his main thing, in time you can make the connection that “you can only do this sport if you’ve finished reading that…” etc. He can begin to connect academics with sports in time, and I am sure he will. Enjoy where he is now, and keep introducing new things to him and it will all work out! 🙂
I have 3 girls, they are 11, 9, and 8. My middle daughter had Asperger’s Syndrome, so she doesn’t fit the profile of the typical middle child. She is not a social girl, but she is definitely the most laid back of my three girls. She does her own thing, regardless of what anyone thinks about it and she is so creative and intelligent. She isn’t drawn to relationships outside of our family and I actually think that, of the three, she’s the least likely to move far away from us when she’s grown.
i have a middle boy (3 yrs old) sandwiched between 2 girls (6 yrs and 8mths).
He doesn’t ask for help; hence the melt downs, likes to be babied, needs lots of 1-1 time and affection. At this age where he is searching for his identity and when he can assert his authority, it is such a challenge. I am at my wits ends with handling his temper and how he is constantly testing his boundaries.
Any advise for a stressed out mum?
Lynne–I absolutely relate. 3 can be a really hard age. I encourage you to keep asking your son to “Use words.” Being consistent in your demands (the right way to ask for things, how to behave) will pay off so much later. Though it may feel like you do it a million times now, that is sometimes what it takes. keep on keeping on! 🙂
I can’t believe how true all of this is. My first born is everything on the list except for clean. My second is free spirited and easy going. Then I have a one year old who is 6 years younger than my second who is a Tasmanian devil but not sure of her personality yet. I think because my 2nd was the baby for so long she has some baby characteristics for sure but has mentioned being the middle child a few times. They are all girls too so that is fun. I am one of 3 girls and I’m the middle but act more like a first born and my older sister is the more free spirited one who had tons of friends and moved away. It makes me clash with my oldest because we are so alike but I still relate to my middle daughter since I am a middle too. I think being a middle kept be from reaching my full type A potential which is a good thing. I just worry for my first born who could end up super type A. Thank you so much for your tips because they seem perfect for my oldest daughter and for my middle one too. Do you have a baby article? Thanks!
Thank you Sheri! It is so interesting for me to hear about other families–thank you for sharing! Funny, I haven’t covered babies yet…but have definitely pondered that one. Stick around–maybe that will come up here eventually! 🙂 Aloha
I have 3 boys, as well… Nope, no fourth for me, but my middle one is Jonah as well! Bet we have some similar Jonah stories;)
Interesting perspective. I have 2 middles ( we are a family with four kids), also my oldest and youngest are special needs kids. This has made it so my middle kids often have to take on the role of first born emotionally. I am also married to someone who had the role of youngest until he was 10, then his folks had 2 more children. So he is technically the middle kid too. Considering the uniqueness of our family dynamics with special needs siblings not all the typical traits apply, but as our children have grown they’ve cropped up occasionally. I believe from personal experience that all the “need to know” tips are necessary for all roles in the family just how the child is approach is different.
My middle is my stubborn, strong willed, high maintenance child. BUT, he is also my sweet, can’t let me leave the babysitter without giving me a hug and kiss child. He is charming and has a lot of friends, and everyone loves him. He is sandwiched in-between two sisters, and he is my attention seeker and dare devil. If I’m photographing one of his sisters or video taping, he’s got to be in the background making noise or goofing off. Although he has been my challenging one, I love him dearly!
My middle is my stubborn, strong willed, high maintenance child. BUT, he is also my sweet, can’t let me leave the babysitter without giving me a hug and kiss child. He is charming and has a lot of friends, and everyone loves him. He is sandwiched in-between two sisters, and he is my attention seeker and dare devil. If I’m photographing one of his sisters or video taping, he’s got to be in the background making noise or goofing off. Although he has been my challenging one, I love him dearly!
i am the middle of three girls spaced three years apart. I had no identity growing up. I chose to become the over achiever by going to medical school. Even this did not get any recognition in the family structure. I left home to marry at age 20.I had trouble with trying to please everyone and lack of assertiveness. I got help with this and turned out ok. I tried to not make my middle son a nonentity. I don’t know how successful I was but he is am Air Force pilot today.
Thank you! So insightful. Myself being a middle child was so painful for me, I am terrified at the thought I might have one someday and do it all wrong! This article helps a ton to help me believe it can be done and even be done well! Thank you again!
I’m a grandmother. I have three grandSONS ( 6,3,1 and half)living with me and their mothers. Also I am a mother role to the 6year old and have been for the past year . My biggest problems are with the three year old. He is the oldest and has his younger brother who is the 1and1/2 year old. .. the 3 year old is high strung and always picking on, oh playing with, one or the other or both at the same time. Since I am the live in babysitter, I have problems ALL day long with the 3 year old.. his mother treats him as the baby, I mean, the oldest (which he is) lol. Let’s just say I need help helping them. And of course to stop the fighting from the 3year old,
Wow Andrea–sounds like you have a lot going on there. And you are a gem to be there to help with it all. Boys can be so high-strung and sometimes they just grow out of it but of course sometimes there are other issues. Best to be on the same page with your daughter as parenting consistently will really help him know his boundaries…Keep up the great work and bless you!
im curious as to what Kevin leman,s book has to say about adopted children. My husband was the first child born to his biological parents, but raised as a middle child of 5
Krista–I know that Leman does touch on adoption, and I was thinking he really addresses it for the most part the same as biological…But I’m sure there are many factors–such as age at adoption, etc. You might enjoy the book and find some helpful info there! Aloha!
Just wanted to ask for some clarification. You say in this post and the first born post that more than half of the American presidents are first born and more than half are middle born so just wondering which is actually accurate.
Thank you MB! I just added a post-publish “PS” at the end of my post in response to your question. (hint: both may be accurate. :)) Plz. have a look and I do hope that helps a bit! ALoha-
I am a middle child. My sister was 5 years older and my brother 7 years younger. As long as what I did, did not involve the police or blood or broken bones, I did my own thing. And I married a middle child.
My 14 y.o. son is the middle kid. He is a more laid back, great negotiator and non- confrontational, Straight A student, plays travel hockey, concertmaster in youth orchestra, and sings and acts. His sister has a huge influence on him. He also does not share anything. Now waiting to see if he becomes the president one day. Not looking forward if he decides to move far away from home. Thank u for your article.
I love your article… one thing I think needs to be put into consideration is doing the above, but not taking it to the extreme. My sister-in-law is a middle child (I’m married to the baby) and my in-laws took it way too far when they were growing up. Looking from the outside in you would think their middle child is an only child… the world revolves around her in their eyes. It could have to do with her being the only daughter but who knows?!
I definitely agree with your tactics (which I will hopefully use on my middle child someday), but a balance is always needed in the family dynamics.
I have 3 kids, girl, 11, girl 8 and boy 5. Eldest, very bright, muscial, sporty and capable but bossy and horrible to her sister. Boy a fusspot, (Virgo), noisy, easily affronted, not v sporty but seems quite bright though still early days. Middle child, sweet natured, sensitive, straight forward, more of a caring home bird, helpful, gentle, middle of the road academically, reasonably sporty. She is very tolerant of the sibling abuse dished out from both sides. When she was little she just struck me as the perfect middle child before we had number 3 as she was so calm and kind. Not at all tricky. It is definitely nature over nurture, despite what people say.
PS, my husband and I are both the eldest of 4 kids. I feel sorry for each of my kids for their position in the family order. I know life at the top is tough having done it myself. You always feel you have to be several steps ahead of your younger siblings. I feel sorry for the middle one who is resented by both other siblings and yet remains sweet natured and kind to both siblings. I feel sorry for the youngest, though less so as he generally has an easy time, who has to be loud to be heard and doesn’t get the same parental input as the other 2 have had. He just plods along at the end.
From my observations in all the families I know (friends, family, extended family, neighbours etc), the middle child ‘syndrome’ is only present depending on the birth order of the dominant parent. For example: If the mother is the dominant parent and was a first or last born, they don’t buy into the middle child syndrome much because they weren’t one and what ends up happening is they GET a child who does end up with Middle Child Syndrome (MCS). If on the other hand a mother is a middle child and experiences ‘MCS’ they usually make such an effort to support the middle child they end up with a spoilt middle child who has two rather resentful siblings. If you get parents who are a mix of middle and eldest/youngest, I’ve found all the kids are treated the same and there is a great balance. Just what I’ve noticed – to the point I can tell what the birth order is of the parents by observing the relationship they have with each of the children. I’m not saying it’s true in every case of course.
I’m the middle child of three, and still definitely have middle child syndrome, at age 43! I have 4 children; a 13 year old daughter, a 12 year old daughter and 7 year old twin boys. My middle child is in a unique position, 17 months younger than her sister and followed by twin brothers! She definitely is independent and mature, sometimes more so than me! Ive always been interested in the theory of birth order. Thanks for your blog. I’ve just recently discovered it, and an really enjoying it!
Great article! I am the middle child of 3 girls. Such an accurate description too. To this day, some people still think my mother has only 2 children. We just kinda fade into the backdrop. I refuse to have a 3rd child to avoid having a middle child.
Marcia–Really!? I think you can raise three and do well. Or maybe just have four and then the two middles have to work things out, haha. Sorry for your experience, but I’m sure you can do better if you desire to have more kids…:) Aloha
Thanks! My husband says the same thing 🙂 I’ll just stick with 2 to be safe. Love your article and considering ordering the book. Will use your link if I do. Thanks again!!
I and my husband are middle children. We are both from families with four children and we have four children ourselves. So our middle child also has ‘third child syndrome’ which she says both my husband and myself should understand being third children (and middle) ourselves. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on that one. I didnt know there was a ‘syndrome’.
haha…I think your third child is smart (like my third of four!) I love that she actually calls it a syndrome! (Not sure I’ve ever heard of that specifically, but…) I’ll definitely be writing more on this birth order topic, so please do stay-tuned. And give that poor third child a big hug, haha. 🙂
I’ve always been interested in birth order. Mostly cause I have never seen anything about where I fit in. I am my dad’s 3rd of 4 kids, but my mom’s first born. So am I an eldest or a middle?
You are a complex being…haha! 🙂 I think it would go by who you were raised with. If you were raised with four kids, and you were #3, you are a middle. Of course if there are big gaps between kids (more than three years) that also changes things. It isn’t always so straight forward, but you can certainly glean some insight from the whole thing! 🙂 XO
Hi my name is Tessa and I am a middle child of three girls, that ended up being 4 girls once my father got remarried. Too keep my story straight here are me and my siblings listed from oldest to youngest: Alana, Tessa, Sara, Catey. But still the middle child. Where should I begin, my oldest sister Alana and I are nothing alike actually total opposites with personality and choices in life. She is very crazy, the wild child of our family, loving, but not affectionate, and never lets anyone get close to her heart other than her two kiddos. She talks to others but not unless she has to for work related reasons etc. As for me I’m a lover not a fighter, I’ve been told I’m the rock in my family. I have a good head on m y shoulders and a huge heart. My sisters always tell me I’m the social butterfly I can make a friend anywhere I go. . I am a nurse and love to help and care for others. I get my feelings hurt easier, but at the same time I am bluntly honest with everyone whether they want to hear it or not . I am the sister that’s always calling or texting the others, and going to see my sisters kiddos never do they make a point to come and see mine unless they need me to watch for their kids. I feel like my parents play favoritism to my other siblings, as if they expect more from me or that they think I am capable to do it all on my own. Either way I just wanna be loved and treated the same. Ok now for Sara she’s always right never wrong, things will go her way or she won’t be involved, her kids are perfect and everyone else’s are the problem, she’s been thru more than any one person. Should with burying her 2nd child soo u see where the anger comes from. She is a nurse as well, has a huge heart, loving and caring. She is not a social butterfly only has a few friends and rarely ventures outside her click. But she’s content with a few good friends. She’s self sufficient, most times. She gets whatever she needs from my parents, but wasn’t always that way until 9 yrs ago when her son died. Now my baby baby sister has a huge heart, and her feelings are hurt easily. She’s shy if she doesn’t know you. She’s funny, goofy and fun to be around. She is one of my best of friends. She’s like me in thay she likes to keep in touch with all of us sisters anyways. She has her head on her shoulders since day one she’s like the perfect child. She is the only child for her Mom soo she is a bit spoiled but thays ok she’s the baby rite. Sooo thays my Middle sister story, soo yes would say I definately have what is called middle child syndrome. LOL
My middle “Cyrus” age 7, marches to his owen drum. I just try to figure out the beat,,,
Hey i’m Megan,
I read this article about what middle children need from their parents and its so right its unbelievable!
I’m the middle child of five kids and most of my life I’ve felt as if I’ve been stuck between my two older siblings and my two younger siblings, like im too old to be ‘babied’ but im too young to have proper responsibilities.
I’m now nineteen years of age and i’m even in my first year of university but my mum still just doesn’t know how to confidently give me the things i need from her, like her complete attention at times and her unconditional love. It can be quite frustrating on both our parts.
I’m going to buy the above mentioned book and see if it will help alleviate some of the frustration and tension from the relationship that me and my mum share and I’m glad if I could help you with understanding how a middle child feels from a middle child’s perspective. 🙂
Hi Megan! So glad you commented…I hear you my friend! 🙂 Glad you’re able to even see things objectively, and hopefully the book will shed further light…Sending aloha and best wishes!
My husband and I are both middle children. A lot of the characteristics are spot on. We are both the negotiators of our families. We both were the only ones to move away from our families We have been married, 1st marriage for both, the longest of all the siblings combined. We also find it difficult to ask for help. It’s almost as if we see it as a sign of weakness to ask for help. We both feel like we always have to be the strong, calm, and level headed ones in both of our families and in our jobs as well. We have 4 children and I see these tendencies in my 2 middles as well. These traits seem to put a heavy burden on middle children and I hope that we can raise them to understand that they don’t have to carry all of the load on their own.
loved this. While I read Lemann’s Th Birth Order book when all three of mine were very young, this was a great and applicable refresher course. Thanks! The one that hit hard was helping my middle guy make some good friends. Somehow he has the fewest good buddies and its up to me right now to learn to make Good ones. The others can take a backseat to a few middle brother play dates! Thanks.
I’m a middle of 3 daughters. Yes, I can definitely relate to some points in your post. My mum admitted to me, when I was about 20, that she never actually worried about me re things like exams or important life choices. She admitted that, yes, the middle child gets “overlooked” in a way. I never felt unloved, but I lacked that worry and fuss about me from my parents.
Ive got three boys, 16, 13 & 3. My man cub(13) struggled with having his role of youngest taken from him when his younger brother arrived unexpectedly! We worked hard to provide him with stability in his new role & emphasised that he now two very important roles,that of younger brother & older brother. My man child(16) is focused, has to be early for everything, has to have everything just so & knows where he’s going in life. My man cub is fearless, argues his point, more sociable, friend orientated, daredevil. He decided to go to a different secondary school as he didn’t want to live in any bodies shadow. There may be a lot of differences in sibling orders but as last week proved to me ( as my man cub got hit by a car, but he’s fine, not a scratch on him) as long as siblings are there for each other & support each other they have a friend for life.
a great read and so many points I can relate to, me being a middle child too! Definitely agree with getting all the hand me downs and the baby of the family getting new stuff. It didnt bother me too much but that’s a great tip to let the middle child make their own choices. Also being stuck in the middle, still happens now even though we have all grown up!
I enjoyed reading your article. I also find this topic very interesting, along with the ‘summer babies always underachieve’ one. I am both a high achieving middle child and summer baby. 🙂
My husband is another middle child, so I like the thought that our marriage will survive all the bumps in the road possibly down to our ‘middle child’ bloodyminded determination to succeed.
Here’s the curve ball for our family though. We have three children but our middle child is an identical twin girl. Twins is another dynamic in itself, but I do think our middle child displays many of the ‘qualities’ I did growing up.
I also think that the dynamics are changed based on whether you have three boys, three girls or a mix and probably the order of that mix.
You’re right though. It’s a fascinating subject.
interesting! I am a middle child (my sister is a year older and my brother is 8 years younger though). I definitely moved away the furthest, I am in Texas and my family is in New Zealand
My middle child is my only girl, sandwiched between 2 boys. So I think that changes the dynamic considerably! She gets plenty of attention doing mommy-daughter things and truly is the princess of the family. Both her brothers adore her.
I have four children, 3 girls and a boy (girl, boy, girl, girl), so I have two middles and I am also a middle with an older brother and a younger brother. It’s very interesting how these traits apply to me. For my two middles, some of them apply more to one than the other. It’s interesting because it is kind of a mix between the two. I think my younger middle is the one that I can best use the advice that you gave, especially considering the fact that my youngest was born with Down Syndrome when my younger middle was only 2 and a half years old. Due to many medical issues and the obvious my youngest has demanded quite a bit of my attention. I am grateful though, now that my two oldest are in college, my relationship with my younger middle has grown a lot. We’ve become a lot closer and she opens up to me more than she ever has. She has always been very social and most definitely more drawn to relationships outside of our family. She is also much more laid back and I have had to make a conscious effort to encourage her to take responsibility with chores around the house, which my two older were better at doing. That is an enlightening post about birth order. Thanks so much for the advice because I have worried, at times, that my younger middle has felt that she has been left to fend for herself. And again, I am so grateful for the opportunity to make up for this lack of attention now that my two oldest are away at college and the oldest about to be married when she graduates this May. She is very mature for her age and has the sweetest kindest spirit. I’m so proud of her and I want to make sure she knows this.
You’ve had a lot to balance, Tina. Sounds like you are very aware and have done a great job! Bless you and keep up the great work…Aloha
Middles. I’m a middle & have a middle. Some good points raised but also some vague descriptions of what it is like to be a middle. Being raised in a dysfunctional as I was, was not even addressed. I can relate to hand me downs but mine not only came from my older sister but from another family & a girl who was in the same class as me but was much taller. My parents were working poor, so choice didn’t come into play with most things.
I didn’t want my kids to be attached to material things as an expression of my live for them. Time spent doing things with them or taking trips just with them. I’m and empty nester now. None of my children live in the same province. The closest is a 4 hour drive away. The middle son is the bridge between the oldest & youngest. In looking back many comparisons were made to him about his older brother. We do what we do until we learn how to do. Where was this information when my kids were younger? Or was I too frazzled in the throws of parenthood to breathe let along read up on birth order.
They turned out good, productive adults & like my husband ️Bill likes to say as a way of measuring where they are in life, “none of them are in jail”!
i have 4 children, but my second daughter insists she is a middle child because her younger sisters are twins. What do you think about her claim?
I’m a middle child and I kindle got an experience of all the types of birth order. Perhaps my biggest challenge was finding friends that last. Even though I’m introverted, I can still relate to others on the same level, but it just takes the right person to really be their friend. Most of the ones I’ve grown up with have moved on and it’s difficult to do the same. I can be outgoing, see new places, but it’s much harder doing that alone. Familiar things can be both suffocating and comforting. Good friends act as a mentorship to me and help me stay together.
On a more practical side, I’ve been raised homeschooled and I’m in my senior year of undergraduate college. What I really need is someone who is like an extra push or balance to things in me. I’ve never truly found a place I fit in, but I can at least act like it sometimes and hope to meet someone just as sincere as I am.
This is 100% true. I am totally a middle child! Sharing this on my facebook page. Stopping by from SITS. Have a great week.
Thanks so much Aimee! That’s super nice of you. I’ll go check your site as well. Do you write for SITS or did they share this post? (I like to track down large sites who share so I can say thank you> :)) Much Aloha-
I’m a middler.
I still get hand-me-downs and hand-me-ups…
I’m fascinated by this subject as well. But none of my kids fit the descriptions! My oldest was more like a youngest, while the youngest is definitely an oldest. Confusing to say the least!
Haha, you’re not the first, but that is funny, isn’t it? Is there many years between them? I think if it is more than three years, that changes things. Regardless, thanks for commenting! 🙂
I have 5 kids ages 11 (boy), 11 (girl), 10 (boy), 8 (girl), and 3 (girl) and we really have two middles. Our true middle is smack dab in the middle and our number 4 is the middle of the girls. It’s funny that each of them fit some of the descriptions but not all. I’ve honestly been wondering how to help our 10 yo as he has become th “squeaky wheel” even if it’s negative attention. He wants to hang out with the older twins but they pair up against him and he doesn’t usually want to do anything with the two little girls.
These are some really interesting suggestions that I will have to try out.
Great post that fits my middle sister and son’s personality exactly. I was the youngest of three girls and my middle sister always struggled to be noticed. She and my oldest sister are 11 months apart and complete opposites. My son is the middle child. I think that made things easier for our family. He has two sisters and being the only boy made him special with different friends and activities. He didn’t have to act up to get the attention like my sister did.
There is much written about being a middle but what if the middle is the eldest of the sex. For example, what if there are three children beginning with a boy, then two girls. The girl is the middle but also the eldest daughter. She is treated as a middle and much that is written about a middle follows but then again, she is the eldest daughter so what is written about the eldest may also be applied.
On the other hand what if the middle is a son who is the eldest so ? Again, the roles or descriptions are mixed.
When is much going to be written on how to “handle” that position within the family? From my experience as the middle child, eldest daughter, it is such a tricky position to be in and much is expected from the family.
I totally agree Sherry. It does get a little confusing there, but yes, from what I’ve read in a situation like yours the middle has some characteristics of the oldest, and some of the middle. I was the third in my own family, but the only girl, so I see a blend in me of being a first born, and the baby. haha, It’s all kind of fun to think about, but hard to nail down too perfectly. (We’re all a blend anyways, with so many factors!) aloha–thanks for the comment!
I’m a single mom of 3 girls ages 7,5,4 and I’ve really get we’re your coming from and the insights you shared but I often wondered I my experience when I give a little control to my middle daughter such as a choice of movie or activity she takes it sometimes way more extreme becomes bossy and demanding of her sibling ? And I’ve tried to help her Learn a kinder more inclusive dialog to use with her sisters. But one thing I’ve done as a single parent is try to give each of the 1-1 every day for 10-15 min. So because it’s in our routine my middle seems able to feel ok sharing me and expressing her need ! But I do want to hear how you would handle her want and need to always do what her older sibling does ?
Oh Meghan–Sounds like you are working hard and doing an amazing job. 🙂 I see the bossy thing in my home too, must go with the territory of the middle thing. 🙂 Don’t stress too much, she is probably just working things out in her own way–but yes, keep on her, talking about the better way to communicate. One on one time is huge–SO good. Just keep up the good work, and hopefully future posts will touch on the areas you have most need in. Thanks for commenting! aloha
I have two children and both’s character straits are spot on. I was a middle child with a bigger than life older brother and a fiercely independent younger sister. I was absolutely “lost” in the middle. My parents would often refer to me as a “wall flower”. I was a peace maker, and would say whatever I felt others wanted to hear, not really forming my own personality until my mid-twenties. Until that point in my adult life, I was self destructive and immature. I’m not sure that being the middle child in the isolated factor of these behaviors, but I certainly didn’t feel “special” or confident in any way, ever. I’m now in my mid-forties and feel fairly comfortable with who I am but it has been a long, complicated journey. Thank you for being so aware of your children’s needs!
I am a middle and I am raising a middle and what you’ve written is all true! Thanks for putting it in writing!
I am a middle child (sort of), married to a middle (sort of). We are both part of a set of opposite sex twins born in the between an older and younger sibling. Most of the descriptions of middle children apply to both of us to a T. The only 2 that I think are not true of either of us: neither of us ever really experimented with risky behavior and we both have chosen close family relationships over outside friends. I couldn’t agree more that middle children are well adjusted but I still feel a bit perplexed about my place in my family, especially with my mom. I have an older sister and a younger sister (and my twin bother) and we all have young children and live near our parents. I often step back and try to stay out of the way in times of controversy or stressful overwhelming times.
Thank you for this, I am the middle of 3 girls and really related to this. I also have 3 boys which, surprisingly, do adhere to the birth order stereotypes even though they are triplets and all born within 5 minutes of each other!! I will be very interested in anything else you post regarding birth order.
Wow…fascinating Nicola! That is so wild that your triplets even fit the model. 😉 I am pondering some more on the birth order topic! 🙂 Much aloha!
I’m ‘sort of’ a middle, but not a typical one. I’m second oldest of 5…a brother 2 years older, me, a brother 7 years younger, a sister 9 years younger, then the baby, a sister 11 years younger. I have a lot of middle traits, but some oldest traits. I was the responsible one, the smart one, the overachiever, and as the younger kids came along, the caretaker. But I was also the overlooked one. No one came to my plays, my dance classes, my tennis matches or swim meets. I was quiet and shy in new places or situations, but funny and talkative once I was comfortable. Our mother died when the youngest was only 7, so the I became in a sense the oldest…my brother was irresponsible and I was given custody of my younger siblings-at 18. The oldest of my two younger sisters is my best friend, and I think being middle children and both female is part of that. You are right when you say middles display a paradox of personalities! My sister and I always say we are human chameleons…we flex and bend to suit the need at the time. Thank you for the article! Very insightful!!
I am a middle child and can relate to a few of the things. I moved to a different state, 5 hours away. I’m in the middle of two boys, so I was always the one trying to break the two of them apart.
I am the middle child of nine children. 4 older sisters. 2 younger brothers, and 2 younger sisters and the last one (baby sister) was born on my birthday. It was and still is hard being the middle child the peacemaker. My mother sewed our dresses and with the same pattern only different colored fabric. So to say the least I had 5 dresses in every color for several years to wear. My father was a school teacher and my mom was a stay at home mother. I remember always just sitting and watching all that took place around me. At age 11 my birthday became my little sister’s birthday. I am the only one in the family that knew my 4 older sisters very well, did a lot with them, and my younger 4 siblings, from running with them, to babysitting them. My memories are 2 fold comparatively. Was I forgotten, sometimes, was I left out, sometimes, was I unloved, never. My parents were amazing. I was a sponge, learning how to cook and clean and sew from my mom, and learning life, and self worth from my father. And as I think of it, I learned probably more from them, than my siblings because I was the middle child and I was all absorbing, in memories and in watching and learning. To this day, I know how to watch and learn and “copy” so to speak in doing, crafts, piano whatever. My sisters were always jealous of my talents and creativity. Yes, there are disadvantages of being a middle child, but there are so much more to the advantage end…..watch and learn!!!
Yay! What a great story, Sara. I love it all. So much in there, I will revisit your comment many times. “Watch and learn.” 🙂 Aloha!
My girls are 15 and 12 and my son is 3, so for 9 years my now middle was a baby…makes for an interesting dynamic! The 15 year old matches perfectly with the traits of a first born. My 12 year old is really “stuck” in the middle and I think she misses being the baby. I do my very best and this article really gave me some good things to work on. No for my baby, he is a combination baby/first born…and I can relate to the “tazmanian devil”! Its all fun tho, I wouldnt want it any other way!
I am a middle child of 4…. no real middle child there but the other “middle”child is the only boy so he got his own status. I definitely understand the hand me down thing and the not opening up part. I always felt it was my job to keep the peace cause the older felt she had all the rules and the babies had none so I was left picking up the slack. Of the kids I am the most understanding .
I find it an honor to be the middle child and love how I turned out . It hasn’t always been that way though only as I have gotten older have I realized that.
Great article! Thank you
Thank YOU–great to hear this from you! 🙂 aloha
I wish someone would write about how to help a middle child who suddenly at a young age (11) finds himself the “oldest” because his older brother died at 13 years of age. Middle child is 20 now and still seems so lost. 🙁
Oh Sher…That is heart-breaking. I’m so sorry. There just are no words for something unexpected like that, but I do believe that God can heal hearts no matter the situation. I still think that communicating, even when it is hard, is the way to keep that bridge open. Otherwise, counseling, and a ton of support. (for all of you.) bless you as you press on.
We have two middle children, and they fit many of these descriptors (and I do too as #2). However, I’ve been worried sick about my 2nd oldest. She is too laid back, struggles socially, keeps failing classes and has zero drive to no motivation. She’s the youngest daughter and does not have a strong bond with her Dad. I believe this has affected her most of all. While she gets along great and is best friends with her sister, she’d rather stay at home all day to read or paint (she’s quite the amazing artist at 16). She has little interest in getting her license & the permit just expired. I don’t know what to do besides pray, communicate and encourage her. Right now, I’m mainly concerned with her weight gain and self-esteem. She constantly compares herself to her sister and seems to almost hate skinny people. I feel like she’s in a kind of temporary depression. We live in a tiny town and don’t have therapists either. I worry that she will be stuck like this for a long time and that this will follow her into adulthood. I’ve tried to back off with the weight issue, but it makes me sad to see her unhappy. There has to be a better way than this…
It’s a good thing you can find help online, you can read about such issues & what to do with them. Whatever happens to her at this age, will shape her future self a great deal. Don’t make her weight gain an issue. It is good she is great at something, encourage her a lot. Her staying in a lot might be a result of something that happened to her & doesn’t want to talk about. Her art might be talkative, be patient, caring, and supportive, that will help a lot.
This was very informative to the truth for a middle child. I can relate. I am a middle child. I have three teenage children. I will have to say that I can relate to all of them in a special way because of my birth order. I feel that they have benefited from me as their mother. They each feel that they can come to me without judgment and they know that I will always be there, especially to help them with their decision making. They know that regardless of any circumstance that we have, we are all in this together. We are here for each other and we live and love through our actions, not only our words. Whether you are the middle, oldest, baby, or only child, we are here for a purpose. Our purpose IS for one another.
It helps in my situation that our middle is our only boy. That takes care of the hand-me-down situation, especially. 🙂 But he’s also able to take on the “man of the family” role (with his father) and set himself apart that way.
Having said that, I’ll make sure to spend some extra time with him (just him) and make sure he’s doing okay. Thank you so much for such an interesting article. (I’m an only child, so birth order/sibling relationships are beyond me sometimes.)
I tend to disagree with letting them choose everything possible, well at least for my family. My middle sister tended to decide everything to the point that to this day she still does and if we don’t do what she wants she pouts and doesn’t participate. All the kids should take turns deciding.
My son Jayden (12) is stuck begin the middle child and only boy. Living with a single mother also. So no male influence in home. He has grown to feel the only attention he can get is negative. I’ve tried to give each child there own special time and attention but with the oldest (16) there always a first something .and the youngest (5) with such a gap in age it’s starting everything all over.
Well, i am mid child myself. Having to give up most of the times is what annoys me the most. The elder ones would automatically get what he wants and the younger ones, being the pampered child as well would get whatever he wants. So me being the middle child, i have to learn to give in and understand the whole situation. I am not complaining but definitely made me developed a good habit within me. (:
I want to hug my middle boy right now! He’s miles away at uni but I think I’ll text him now and try to set up face time tonight! (thank heaven for technology and social media I say)
When they are little it’s so hard to give each child individual attention often but always so lovely when you do. At the end of the day we are all just jogging along doing our best though. – hoping it’s enough.
Go easy on him. My mom started paying more attention to me when I got sick in my 30s, and it still feels a little too much sometimes. Just not used to that. But let him know he can count on you anytime, he’ll appreciate that.
Do you think that varying circumstances affect the birth order traits? I’m one of three. Oldest brother has cerebral palsy, next brother is 2 yrs younger and then I’m the “baby” 15 months younger. Growing up it always seemed like we each had our place. The handicapped one, the sports one (middle brother) and the girl. As the youngest I never felt like my middle brother didn’t have a spot but now older he seems to have drifted from us and I think it may have something to do with this middle child sitch but I’m confused about it bc he really had his own significant identity in our fam. Any thoughts on that would be appreciated!
Hmmmm, thanks for commenting, E, and for sharing your family’s situation. The answer is yes–I absolutely think circumstances affect everything. In fact, family’s like mine are somewhat rare where it is so textbook. The middle one in your family sounds like he does display some middle child characteristics, but not entirely either. I suppose we have to accept some things as just being a combination of factors. You might enjoy reading more about it from a real expert. 🙂 Aloha!
How helpful. I identified with needing these 7 things. Thank you so much for sharing!
I started out as the surprise in with a much older sister. In my early teens I ended up as the middle of a huge family who were my foster parents then guardians. I definitely am more comfortable with being a middle than oldest. I “wasn’t much trouble” am a pleaser and end up playing Switzerland in family conflict. I am outspoken and do not trust easily, but also am told that I have a Pollyanna attitude toward life. Love the pointers that resonate with me and my memories. I should add that I am so grateful for the opportunity to grow up with siblings. The only ones that remember the truth are those who live it with you. I miss being around my family and love to be with them. Contrarily, I am always glad to go home to my little family.
I am a middle child of 5. Two older and two younger. I’ve had some people say “that doesn’t count”. But to me it certainly does. I actually find this article to be very true. My oldest sibling and only boy is the trophy child. I look up to him very much. With the youngest “the baby” being the most sensitive. I’m the “troubled” child. Although no longer a child I can admit that I did participate in the most risk taking behavior and seem to be the only child that wants to live further away from everyone. I never though there was any other reason other than being in love with a certain place I’ve gone for years. After reading this however that’s a very interesting fact. My parents were stricter with my older siblings. They were pretty strict with me but when it came to hard times in my personal life I was looked over. And then with the younger two they weren’t strict at all. More like catered to them. I love my parents very much and don’t blame them anymore but growing up I always wondered why it felt like no one cared. By reading this it really changes things though.
Oh bless you Amber…I can’t believe anyone would tell you that doesn’t count! Crazy talk. You are SO middle!! 🙂 I love the insight from your life. Truly fascinating. I think it’s awesome that you can love and appreciate your parents even though you felt overlooked at times. Sounds like you’ve handled everything quite well! Much Aloha!
Thank you. I’ve definitely been through a lot but I’m getting to a good place now!
Those are things all relationships need. I’m thankful I’m the middle child #3 of 5 girls as I’m certain the experience helped mold me into the person I am. All kids need to know is when they are adults they should be decent citizens in society.
I have a middle child. I find that she is very high strung… she is very opinionated , helpful, and rambunctious. She is such a good person and such a good sister. I often wondered if I was giving her enough attention… But since she has been diagnosed with asthma, I my older daughter has been saying why cant i give her more attention… its really hard to balance
Amen…There seems to never be enough of us, right!? I’m sure you’re doing great though, and good to hear that your middle is a well balanced girl. 🙂
I am married too and have dated several middle children and your description of the middle fits my husband spot on. He is the negotiator of his family. Always between his parents and siblings. In my experience the middle child often fits into ‘the middle child syndrome’ because the parents have made it that way. My in-laws treat my husband significantly different than they treat his brothers and it bothers me ALOT. The things that you have laid out in what middle children need is spot on. Great article.
Thank you Mary!! Glad that my article fits, but also sorry for what you see in your own husband’s family…that’s yucky. I think it can happen so easily without a family even realizing it, so my hope is to spread awareness so others of us can try to avoid doing the same thing. 🙂 Aloha!
I was the middle of 5 in a very unstable home. My sister was oldest and always off in trouble, not engadged in family. My older brother was like a twin when we were small and was super shy but did sneaky mean things behind peoples backs. I was the mini mom who was left in charge babysitting, cleaning and who had all the expectations that neither older or younger had to live up to. I don’t know why. My younger brothers were like twins and I took care of them, bathed, dressed, taught them ABC’s &123’s and played with them. I was the example, social, active, I struggled as an early teen due to family issues but by high school was really solid. I was 1st to leave home and 1st to go to college. I helped my younger siblings transition into college. My older siblings who never quite pulled things together And who struggle in their relationships and who have troubled teens tend to make fun of me about being a goody 2 shoe suposably, my parents mouth off and disrespect me since I am the only one who has boundaries thus I don’t have as much drama as the rest of the family. My kids and I are very close unlike anyone else in my family and my kids aren’t as emotionally reactive as the rest of their cousins. My older siblings kids have been in trouble with the law and have had very unsteady homes. My younger siblings seem to have followed my example but while my parents insult me and are not supportive of the positive things I do they turn around and make a big fuss over my younger siblings doing as if no one has done it or helped them do it. And generally I am fine with that I just am relieved that they aren’t repeating my older siblings patterns and choices. Birth order is interesting.
Wow Karlene…what a story! And even though I am so sorry for the unstable situation you were raised in, I do think your position in the family and how you have turned out supports the birth order theory..>You being a middle certainly worked in your favor, even if it’s had its rough spots. Thanks so much for sharing. Aloha to you–and keep up the great work with your own family! 🙂
I liked that you mentioned that middles need options. (I’m a middle). Middles tend to be flexible like you said, out of necessity. Others needs always come first, with the middle’s being overlooked. I tended to not have much of a voice in the family, but I am glad you wrote this article to educate some parents and help out us middles.
We have three children, 10, 5, and 2 (girl, boy, girl). I’m not sure how much my middle fits in with these descriptions, as he is the only boy in the family (including cousins). He probably gets extra attention because of that. He also has behavior problems in school (but I honestly don’t think that’s because he feels like he doesn’t get attention and is acting out) so, you know, he gets attention from that as well. He doesn’t wear many hand-me-downs because he is book-ended by girls, so he gets all new stuff. He does have chores that are, hopefully, age appropriate, and sometimes he gets to be the “kid in charge” of his younger sister.
Even though not all of these fit my middle kid, I think it’s a great list to take into account! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Becky! Sounds like there are a lot of factors that affect your son…And I hope he knows how good he has it, haha!:) He probably would have half the characteristics of a first born, and half of the baby…I may be doing some follow up posts on other birth order positions, so I hope you’ll come back to visit. 🙂 Aloha!
I have boy, girl, boy, and none of this applies at all with my middle child! She is the most outgoing, sassy, opinionated, annoying (lol), and has the biggest heart of all three!!
Yes…because of the difference in sex, your daughter probably has a totally different personality than a three boy or girl family. But I definitely like her! haha. 🙂
Thanks for commenting, it is interesting to take into account all of the different combinations! aloha!
I am a middle child and you hit it right on the head. I still feel the comparison years later as an adult. My relationships outside the family are much stronger than any family relationship I have. My family knows little about me due to this fact. The make their own assumptions about me and I let them. It doesn’t matter if they know facts, they make their own judgment
wow Laurie…Thank you so much for your honest comment. That kind of makes me sad, but I suppose there are positives to your outside relationships, etc…I still hope to raise my middle child to feel like we have open communication etc. Sorry for any hurt you’ve experienced. Much aloha!
I am a middle child. I was the only girl. I have a brother 3 yrs older and one 8 years younger. All three were parented differently. I was a daddy’s girl. My older the extremely independant favored one of my mom and the younger blessed with financial benefits not available to us older two. It is fascinating to see the different factors that contribute to who we are
You are right Angela. It is so fascinating. Thanks for sharing your story–yet another interesting look at how birth order (and life situations) affect us. Aloha!
We have 3 boys 15,13,and almost 10. Our middle one fits this to the t. Great points in the article.
Wow! Our boys are the same ages exactly! Crazy. 🙂 Thank you for commenting. Aloha!
I grew up being the middle of 5 and I believe you nailed it in the article. I have felt all of these things throughout my life. I also agree with your thoughts on how “we” turn out as adults.
Thanks Ken! I absolutely love it when you men comment! Middle of five!? You must have had an interesting childhood. 🙂 Hope all is good now and come back to comment anytime! aloha
Hi – I am also the mother of 3 boys 14,13 and 9 and this so so right on. My middle son Michael has always been the most challenging but he is also the most loving, always by my side and always there to help anyone out in the family. I always think he is a contradiction of himself wants only to please everyone but is also the one that can create the disharmony.
I enjoyed your article about teenage boys as well, your just are so easy to read and get right to the heart of things. Thank you!!
Wow Lori…Thank you so much! What an encouragement! 🙂 You actually phrased it so well there–“he is a contradiction of himself wants only to please everyone but is also the one that can create the disharmony.” Amen!! Bless you and keep up the great work.
I loved this article so much! Thanks for this wonderful and very insightful info!
Well thank YOU so much Sarah! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
I found this article super interesting, especially given my unique situation. I am actually a twin, in a family of 3. I was born the youngest, but raised as a middle. My sister was held back in kindergarten so I was always a year ahead of her in school. Growing up I never realized it, and more recently it’s come to light that I am the way I am because I have “Middle Child Syndrome”. And of course both of my siblings would agree!
Thanks for sharing!
fascinating! Yes, when you throw twins in there, or a number of other unique situations, there are some differences, but it is so interesting to see how it all plays out. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
We have 3 girls. 8, 4 (turns 5 in april) and 3. Our middle fits this description perfectly. And I had to laugh about the new clothes because it’s so true! And I often feel bad because I buy the “baby” new clothes more than her.
As a psychotherapist, I always soaked up the info on birth order. In my kids, there was an anomaly. My first has many more middle child traits than my middle and my middle has many of the first born. My third is spot on. Trying to figure out how to balance this traits switch has been a challenge. Still is and they are in their 30s!
Thanks so much for commenting! I have a couple friends whose first and second have reverse roles from the typical…So interesting. I’m sure you’ve done an amazing job. 🙂 Much Aloha!
This was so relevant. I am also the youngest of three like you – a girl with 2 older brothers. And, I have 3 sons of my own. I’ve always felt that my middle son will be the most successful because while they are all smart – he does not have the stress of being first and isn’t held back being a baby like the third. Great article – I would say that the headlines of the things a middle child needs are really what all children need.
Our middle child has Down syndrome, so I feel like our youngest (of 3) has had to take the middle child role, as she seems much older & mature. She has been the nurturing “older” sibling to the child with special needs who gets babied & needs more attention. This article fits her very well. Thank you!
Fascinating, Shauna. Thank you for commenting. There are factors that can switch things up and you’re wise to study them to understand it well. Bless your family and keep up the great work! Aloha
Well im a middle child, i have a brother 4 yrs older than me and sister 5yrs younger. My brother was very intelligent so i really have to prove myself as well but unfortunately still an average my brother didnt taught me any. But when he was on his teenaged years he became the black sheep of the family so i have to be different, i studied and finished and be obedient child and really was the fave child but after school that was the time i went on my own even if my parents didnt approve any of it. Eversince if my siblings needs any from my parents they will say it to me first and be the one to say it to my parents. I was the closest to my parents and also the one who always opens anything on whats on my mind. And because both siblings got married at an early age i got married at the age of 29. My husband was an only son and a year older than me but when it comes to decision making i was always in charge he’s always asking my opinion on everything that he does.
I have 3 boys. My middle (16) is very typical of the information above. My oldest (18) and baby (11) affectionately call him the golden child because he is more laid back, thinks before he acts, saves for things he wants, and he finds his own path. All the boys are great kids and I am always complimented on all 3 behavior and how respectful they are. However, the older and baby even see the difference in him. Raising boys has been such a wonderful experience. I hope they stay as close as they are today.
I have 3 boys, 20, 18 & 14. My middle is the most complex to me. I have been amazed as I have observed him grow up. He looks at life & lived “outside the box” consistently. My husband & I are both firstborns from 4 firstborn parents! My middle has taught me so much about how to not always take things at face value & how interesting people & things can be from a more abstract view.
Am a middle girl of 3 and agree. Always compared and found lacking. Negative attention was better than zero attention. Funny that now that I am a grandmother I can see my son raising “me” and I try to help my granddaughter by giving her the extra attention she is lacking. Even at 8 yrs old, she can articulate how she feels as a middle kid so much better than I ever could. And I hope it helps that she knows that she has a kindred spirit to talk to and share with and get special attention from. ( they are living in another state and are not always easy to visit)
What a beautiful way to turn your birth position into a blessing for your granddaughter. I am certain that you being there for her will make a difference. I think that is awesome!
This is so timely, Monica! My husband and I have been trying to figure out about our middle son. He’s so sweet and kind, but you can tell he is stuck in the middle. Thank you for all your tips and advice, it’s so appreciated! I’m a middle child and my husband is also.
I’m a middle child and can relate to everything you’ve written! Growing up, I definitely had plenty of moments where I felt completely ignored and while I worked that to my favor sometimes, there were other times I wished someone would just listen. I’m curious…do your other boys follow the other birth order traits as well?
Oh wow, interesting!!
Yes, they all do. I wasn’t planning to write more posts about birth order, but now I’m kind of into it, so I might do that! 🙂 my boys fit perfectly. Much love to you!
All excellent points! Middles just want to feel important enough to warrant their parents’ time, guidance and attention. Your ideas give such specific ways to make this happen for the important middles! Thanks, Monica.
Thank you for the post! I am a middle child. I am sandwiched by two brothers. My brothers had learning needs and because I didn’t have those needs, my parents tended to ignore my education as they thought I was doing fine. We, middles, don’t ask for help. We don’t even really think to ask for help. My advice is to offer your middle help and ask what they need. I love that you mentioned some special time with them. They don’t even really know that they need and are used to being overlooked. We do always seem to land on feet! Thanks again for the post!
I could really resonate with your post, Constance. I’m a middle, as well, and have felt all you mentioned – don’t ask for help, don’t know what they need, used to being overlooked. I’m thirty-six now, and I’m still struggling with being assertive and asking for help when I need it.
I too, am a middle. Very much used to doing things on my own and figuring things out. Or at least, finding a way to make it work… I never think about asking for help unless absolutely necessary. And because of this, I am very aware of my middle guy (I have three boys) and how copes with life… He does not like asking for help either. Whether needed or not. And we very much enjoy, need even, our alone time!
I’m a middle of 6. I never felt like I received much attention from my parents, who were always focused on my younger and older siblings. My mother stopped helping me with school work when I reached 4th grade. As a result, I think I have grown more independent than my other siblings and identify with all your comments; I seldom ask for help as it is just the way I grew up. Although I still wish my parents gave me more attention. I was always the smartest amongst my siblings, most athletic and sociable, yet I was never the focus at home. My birthday is in two weeks. My parents are now shopping for a present for me… and my two other sisters. To all the parents out there, as a middle child, I ask you to ask your kid how they’re doing, tell them they’re special and celebrate their successes.
I am also a middle of 6 children, and am used to being ignored and pushed under the rug. I am also quiet and more laid back than the other children because having a more flamboyant personality will still give me the ignored effect I loathe so dearly.
Two of my boys are named Luke and Jonah too. Jonah is also my middle boy. Totally endearing to all adults and wedged between his conscientious older brother and sensible little sister.
You’re such a great momma – your boys are lucky! I especially love the points of hand me downs and options – he’ll so appreciate those!
We have a mysterious middler too. He fits your description perfectly between his precise, ambitious older sister, and his daredevil, athletic younger brother.