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16 Reasons Why The Middle Child Is Awesome

16 Reasons Why The Middle Child Is Awesome
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Ahhh, the middle child. Stuck between the siblings, the middle child is often stereotyped as being overlooked during childhood. However, middle children have awesome characteristics. Your life has no doubt been influenced by amazing people who are middle children. Birth order suggests that middle children have wonderful, unique traits and a very important role in the family.

Here are 16 reasons middle children should be celebrated:

1. They are friendly.

Middle children have been shown to be more friendly and are seen as highly sociable. They know how to strike up conversations with anyone. This isn’t surprising. Throughout their childhood, milddle children have learned to communicate effectively with older and younger siblings.

2. They are killer negotiators.

Middle children learn to negotiate from a young age. They had to convince older siblings to share toys with them, play games with them, and go along with their ideas. Middle children learn exactly what to say to get what they want from someone bigger and more powerful than they are. They are amazing negotiators and can smooth-talk their way out of any situation.

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3. They keep the peace.

Middle children are caught between the typically type-A eldest child and the frequently rebellious youngest child. They balance out the striking differences between their siblings. Since they’re caught in the middle, they tend to “see things both ways” and help maintain harmony in the family. And let’s be honest; what family doesn’t need someone to maintain some sense of harmony?

4. They speak highly of others.

This goes along with keeping the peace. Since middle children grow up in the role of seeing things both ways and maintaining harmony in the family, this can translate into being positive and “seeing both ways” in other areas of their lives. My mom is the middle child in her sibling group, she always speaks well of others. Not once in my life have I ever heard her speak ill of another person. She is representative of a middle child’s ability to be positive at all times.

5. They are agents of change.

According to a psychologist Catherine Salmon, studies suggest that middle children are more likely to ‘become agents of change in business, politics and science.’ Bill Gates, Julia Roberts, and John F. Kennedy are just a few of the many famous successful middle children. Don’t sell a middle child short when it comes to ideas and pushing change, even in small settings like your family unit.

6. They have an excellent work ethic.

Middle children naturally have a strong work ethic. They don’t typically get a lot of brand new items, unlike their older siblings. Parents frequently read and teach the oldest child incredible amounts of information. Once the middle child comes along, parents tend to work on academic skills less, because they are busy now taking care of more than one child. And middle children can’t get away with everything; often parents aren’t as lenient on the middle children as they are the babies. Therefore, middle children have their work cut out for them. They learned at a young age that they have to work for everything. Since middle children have to work for everything, many of them have an incredibly strong work ethic.

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7. They are trustworthy.

According to a study of birth order characteristics, middle children are more faithful in relationships. Can’t get much better than that!

8. They are independent.

The middle child didn’t receive the undivided attention that the firstborn did from parents. Also, the middle child has to learn to entertain himself while the parents tend to the baby of the family. From a young age, middle children learn to be independent.

9. They pick their battles.

Middle children don’t get worked up about little things. They’ve seen it all from a young age: school-age drama from older siblings, temper tantrums from the babies of the family, and trial and error from the rule-breakers of the family. Middle children have been onlookers into the chaos and drama of their siblings’ lives, and they’ve learned to let small things go.

10. They make well-calculated decisions.

Middle children have the benefit of watching older siblings blaze the trail. They know what could potentially rile up Mom or Dad and what actions will likely not get them into trouble. Since middle children likely know what consequences they’ll face by acting certain ways, they put thought into their actions.

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11. They are compassionate.

Since middle children are caught in the middle of the sibling group, they see all sides of every situation. They’ve learned to understand others’ opinions. Even if they don’t entirely agree with someone’s logic, they are respectful, understanding, and compassionate.

12. They know how to party.

The middle child grows up trying to keep up with the older sibling and his friends. Later in life, the middle child tries to stay young like the younger sibling and her friends.This is the middle child’s chance to be the fun older sibling!

13. They are easygoing.

Middle children have the benefit of not being the “guinea pig” of their parents. Once the middle child comes around, Mom or Dad has already practiced and learned parenting skills on the older child! Middle children are raised by parents who are not pushing them incessantly to reach every developmental milestone ahead of time. Parents don’t freak out every time the middle child potentially touches a germ. Overall, parents tend to be a little more relaxed with the middle child.

14. They are patient.

Middle children spend a lot of childhood waiting. They wait while their younger sibling is being fed. They wait while the baby’s diaper is being changed for the 8th time that day. They wait for baby to wake up from a nap, so they can play with their loud toys. Middle children also wait for the older child. Middles get dragged along to older siblings’ events all the time. They wait to get bigger; they are frequently told, “You can do that when you get bigger like your older brother.” As middle children grow up, their patience serves them well. They don’t panic if things take longer than expected.

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15. They see the “gray” in the world.

Middle children have learned to listen to a variety of viewpoints from siblings. They know that the world isn’t always black and white. Middle children understand that there is “gray” in the world and not every single concept is either right or wrong.

16. They cheer for the underdog.

The middle child knows what it’s like to live in the shadows of an older sibling. They identify with the underdog and will do everything like rooting for the team that isn’t favored to wanting to hire the less qualified but enthusiastic candidate for the job. Middle children have trouble getting past this underdog mentality.

What parents can do:

Obviously, the above list is full of stereotypes and much of this article was written for fun. Not every middle child boasts all of the above qualities, just like not every firstborn has a type-A personality, and not every baby of the family is rambunctious. As a parent, here are some ways you can help each of your children thrive in their unique personalities:

  • Get to know your child. Truly get to know them. Take note of their likes and dislikes. Help your child discover strengths and weaknesses.
  • Give your child frequent opportunities to learn new things. If they seems to show an interest in something, build on it.
  • Give each child your undivided attention. This can be difficult, especially if you are raising a house full of littles. Do the best you can to share special moments every day with each child – a conversation, a secret handshake, or a wink can go a long way. Throughout the day, sprinkle in some extra little things that make each child feel special and loved.
  • Occasionally, set aside an entire day to spend with each child alone. This can be an amazing time for both of you.
  • Ask your children if they feel you listen to them. Ask them if they feel loved and appreciated. Be prepared to change your behavior if the answer isn’t one you hoped for.
  • Tell your children how incredible they are.

Featured photo credit: CL Society 201: Woman profile/Francisco Osorio via flickr.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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