The Middle Child In The Family, Part 1/2
WHO is the Middle Child Really?
The Middle Child is the SECOND Most Maligned Birth Order
The MINUSES of Being the Middle Child
The PLUSES of Being the Middle Child
Celebrated Middle Children
Why the Middle Child is the Second Most Maligned of Birth Orders- The Plus and Minus of Being a Middle Child in the Family
Oh, the dilemma of the middle child. The middle child is seldom known and/or appreciated for his/her uniqueness and individuality. The middle child is either known as A's older brother/sister and/or P's younger brother/sister. The quintessential middle child is the character Jan Brody in THE BRADY BUNCH. Jan is always being compared to Marsha, her oldest sister.
The status of the middle child vary from family to family. In smaller families, the middle child may be sandwiched in the middle but oftentimes he/she is not overlooked. However, in middle large to very large families, the middle child often gets lost in the shuffle and/or overlooked. Because parents and siblings do not pay enough individualized attention to the middle child, he/she decides either to fade into the background or develop a highly vocal and/or aggressive personality in order to get noticed in the family. Many middle children react to be somewhat ignored in their families by becoming highly independent and unconventional, going their own ways and developing their unique personas.
The middle child of the family often learn to see all sides of an argument. This makes them great negotiators in the family, academic, and later in professional spheres. Middle children are often sympathetic to the underdog and believe that someone should have a voice. Many middle children in their families became great compromisers and everyperson in order to gain the admiration of their parents, siblings, and peers.
The middle child is often the second maligned of all the birth orders(only children are the most maligned of birth orders but that is changing). People just cannot fathom the middle child as he is neither the oldest nor the youngest in his/her family. He/she just cannot be placed in a clearly defined category. The middle child can be mixture of both the oldest and youngest child. He/she can be authoritative with his/her younger sibling or siblings and simultaneously be bossed around by his/her older sibling or siblings.
There are other middle children in their families who develop very compliant personalities. They believe that there is no use competing with an older and/or younger siblings in a family. Many of these children are bullied in school because they do not have an assertive personality.
These children feel as if they are nobodies in their families. Middle children often have the least self-confidence of all the birth orders because they receive the brunt of the teasing from their older and/or younger siblings. Parents of middle children oftentimes ignore middle children and confuse either their oldest and/or younger children. Dr. Wayne Dyer, in one of his PBS presentation, joked that parents of middle children usually called their middle child either the names of their oldest and/or youngest child.
The late Princess Grace Grimaldi of Monaco noted in her biographies that she was often ruthlessly teased by her older and younger siblings. She further noted that she was always compliant and nice to them. She indicated that she had to learn the art of compromise and getting along with her older and younger siblings. The late Princess Grace was the middle of four children.
She further noted that her son, Prince Albert,who was also the middle child in the family as she was, always bending over backwards to be cordial to his sisters. Prince Albert was sandwiched between his two formidable sisters, the oldest, Princess Caroline and the youngest, Princess Stephanie. The late Princess Grace clearly understood her son, Prince Albert as they were both the middle children in their families.
In school, middle children are neither the overachievers nor the leaders in their class. Leave that to the oldest and only children of the world! Most middle children are middle of the road and nondescript in school. However, middle children because they are the family's jack of all trades and everyperson, they are often popular with their peers in school. In my elementary school, some of the most popular students were middle children although they were not academic achievers.
Middle children are also the most adaptive in their families. They must be in order to interface properly with their oldest and younger siblings. There is some type of schizophrenia occurring with the middle child as he/she has to be "on" at all times. The middle child in the family assumes various roles that the oldest child and the youngest child do not have to assume.
Plenty of times, the middle child acts as a bridge in their families, oftentimes being the peacemaker and the diplomat in their families. A fine example of this is the character Maxine Joseph in the movie SOUL FOOD, she acted as a peacemaker when the Joseph Clan became disunited after the death of the matriarch. The oldest sister, Teri, wanted to sell the family home and place the uncle in a nursing home while the youngest sister, Bird, become confused and did not know what to do.
Maxine realized that her later mother would not want this and she decided that the family is to remain united. She pulled the family together, had the uncle move in with her, and decided to keep the family home in their mother's memory. Maxine also maintained the family tradition of cooking Sunday dinners.
Many middle children became skilled diplomats, negotiators, and union delegates because they have learned to negotiate within their immediate families. Furthermore, many attorneys and lawyers are middle children. At work, middle children are usually not prima donnas and are able to do teamwork. Middle children love the concept of teamwork because they can work with others to achieve a common goal.
In summation, the middle child is the one of the least understood and the second most maligned of all the birth orders. The middle child cannot be categorized between he/she possessed the characteristics of being the oldest and the youngest, depending of what circumstances avail themselves.
Family size has a bearing on the status of the middle child. In smaller families, the middle child is sandwiched in the middle but he/she is not overlooked. However, in medium large to very large families, middle children are often overlooked and there is a benign neglect present.
Middle children react to their birth order in many ways. They develop into a jack of all trades and everyperson in order to gain love and admiration from their parents and siblings. Then there are other middle children who decide to become nebulous and fade into the background. Many became compliant, people pleasers and others develop a very loud, brash, aggressive, and vocal personality in order to be noticed by their parents and siblings.
It is a little known fact that middle children often develop into a bridge for their families. Many middle children are great diplomats and negotiators and solve their families problems especially as they become adults. Many middle children are for the underdog and they often become great negotiators, union delegates, and lawyers. Middle children often do not have the ego problems that oldest children and youngest children have. Famous middle children include Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Donald Trump, Suzanne Sommers, Tim Allen, the late Princess Grace, Prince Albert, and the late Charles Bronson.
Books on the Subject
The Middle Child Experience
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© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams
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