Middle Child Syndrome has been consistently brushed off as a myth, but it is very, very real.

What Is Middle Child Syndrome?

Middle Child Syndrome is not a clinical syndrome. However, it is a known psychological phenomenon with numerous effects on children due to their birth order.

Middle Child Syndrome is the feeling of being left out by middle children, those with both older and younger siblings. The older child receives their parent’s undivided attention until the second child is born, then is more likely to receive more responsibility and freedoms due to the fact they are older and are allowed to do such things first.

The youngest child, on the other hand, gets the parent’s undivided attention even after the older children have grown and is, therefore, more likely to be a little spoiled and fussed over because they are seen as the baby of the family. This leaves the middle child feeling jealous and left out, leading to self-esteem issues and introversion.

Are you suffering from Middle Child Syndrome?

Middle Child Syndrome can manifest itself in a number of ways. Not all middle children will end up stereotypically bitter and resentful. In fact, there are many good qualities that middle children can have.

There are good traits and bad traits that come with Middle Child Syndrome. You may be suffering from it without even realizing, and without actually even suffering at all!

The Good:

You’re a natural negotiator

Middle children often have to negotiate for what they want. The older children can be more assertive due to the simple fact they are the oldest. The younger children can use cuteness tactics to influence their parents.

Middle children more often develop better negotiation skills to strike a deal with their parents and get what they want. Middle children oftentimes will have to also negotiate with their siblings, whether it be to solve an argument or find a solution that suits everyone.

This skill benefits them later in life, enhancing both working relationships with employers and peers and interpersonal relationships through mediation and cooperation.

You’re a pioneer 

Middle children are much more likely to create change than their siblings due to their open-mindedness and willingness to take risks. 

Some studies have shown that middle children were much more likely to be open to new ideas than their older and younger siblings. This makes middle children excellent entrepreneurs, inventors and creators.

You seek justice

Due to a perceived lack of fairness growing up as children, middle children naturally aim to seek justice as adults. They focus on fairness and are much more attuned and sympathetic to the underdog in a situation.

This makes them successful in fields such as Law and Politics, because they are more attuned to the needs of others, as well as ensuring fairness in every decision.

The Neutral:

Do you lean on your friends more than your family?

Middle children have been found to lean on their friends and peer group more so than their older and younger siblings, who tend to lean on their parents during hardships.

Middle children will tend to be quite attached to their friendships groups, and this can either be a good or a bad thing depending on the friends the child surrounds themselves with.

A positively influential peer group will have a better outcome for the middle born, but if the child falls into a bad group of friends, this can have terrible consequences.

There have also been studies to show a higher level of recklessness among middle children. This may be due to vying for attention or trying to gain the acceptance of their peers.

The Bad:

You may be a little resentful

It is true that middle children receive a little less attention than their siblings. This is the classic symptom and stereotype of Middle Child Syndrome.

It can be difficult to watch your older siblings get all the freedom and your younger siblings get all the attention. It can leave middles feeling they don’t get as much of their parent’s time and causes tensions in both sibling and parent relationships.

As younger children, this may manifest as tantrums and huffs. As middle children age, it may become a lack of closeness in their relationships with the rest of the family. If you are not as close to your family but aren’t entirely sure why, Middle Child Syndrome may be the cause.

Middle Child Syndrome may not be a medical syndrome, but the effects of it are clear in middle children. Growing up can be hard for any birth order. However, middle children seem to have it just that little bit harder.

That’s not to say that they fit into the stereotype of the bitter and twisted adult. Middles simply that they work a little bit harder to reap the most rewards. Not all symptoms of Middle Child Syndrome are as negative as the stereotype would have us believe. Suffering may not be the right word at all!

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/

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