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16 Reasons Why The Middle Child Is Awesome

16 Reasons Why The Middle Child Is Awesome

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

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

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

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

The Importance of Living in the Moment

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

Calm Your Mind

When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Live in the present with mindful eating.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    More About Living in the Present

    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

    Reference

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