Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life 5 Signs You’re Ready for a Career Change Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Trending in Communication

1 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 2 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 3 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 4 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 5 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next