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.
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.
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.
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.
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