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Oh Lamentations! My Life Is Indeed Tormentous. Deliver Me, Oh Deliver Me From The Travails Of Being The Middle Child!
Purgatory Is Paradise In Comparison With Being The Middle Child In The Family- Woooooe........
I. Middle Children- Misunderstood, Overlooked, and........ M-A-L-I-G-N-E-D
The middle child is often a demonized, even maligned birth order. This ordinal birth order position is an extremely complex and intricate one In families. Where there are 3 or more children in a family, there are going to be a middle child or middle children. The middle child is known as the in-between child in the family. He/she is sandwiched between the oldest and the youngest child in the family.
Oftentimes, the middle child is the overlooked one in the family. This is because parental attention is often concentrated on the oldest and/or youngest child. Many middle children often feel like outsiders in their respective families. They do not know where they should fit in their respective family construct.
The middle child is never respected for his/her unique individual persona within the family structure. He/she is always known as someone's older and/or younger sibling, never for who he/she ACTUALLY IS as a person. He/she is virtually in a no person's land regarding his/her family.
Many middle children feel underappreciated and undervalued. The quintessential middle child prototype is the character Jan Brady in the 1970s television series, THE BRADY BUNCH. You hear her constant lament, stating that it is always MARSHA, MARSHA, MARSHA! Yes, the status of the middle child in the family can be quite purgatorial, oftentimes verging on the downright infernal! Poor middle child, what is he/she to do! Alas, woe is he/she! This truly lost soul is often metaphorically between a rock and a hard place.
Many middle children believe that they are quite insignificant in comparison to their oldest/older siblings and/or youngest/younger siblings. They wish that they were the oldest in their families so they would be lionized and worshipped or the youngest so they could be completely adored and indulged. The middle child in the family is often the one least satisfied with his/her respective birth order!
II. Family Size as Related to the Status and Familial Environment of the Middle Child
The status of the middle child in a family is often dependent upon their respective famiily size. In medium to medium large families of 3-5 children, although the middle child is sometimes overlooked, nevertheless he/she receives parental attention. in smaller families, middle children are not lost in the shuffle and receive the prerequisite and individualized parental attention.
In large and very large families(6 or more children per household), the middle child is oftentimes overlooked as there are many children for parents to raise. It is not uncommon for middle children in large families to be lost in the shuffle. It is easy for middle children in large and very large families to become completely anonymous, often fading into the familial background. .
III. How Middle Children Respond to Their Familial Environment
Middle children respond to their respective familial environment differently. No middle child reacts the same to the familial environment and circumstnaces which he/she was raised in. Some middle children survive in their particular environment. There are others who thrive and become stronger even in the most adverse of environments.
There are middle children who become dejected and despondent because very little attention was paid to them by their families. There are a few who fall through the cracks and hit rock bottom, believing that all is hopeless and lost with no chance of ever getting out. There are some who are pure survivors, even rebels who refuse to let circumstances deter them from whom they intend to be. They are the authors, not the reactors, to their middle child status.
A. The Role of Middle Children as Great Negotiators
As middle children are the in-between children, they must learn how to effectively navigate famiial, especially sibling waters. MIddle children are oftentimes the in-between person or negotiator between their older and younger siblings. As a result of being the family negotiator or the in-between, middle children became quite adept at the art of negotiation.
As a result of middle children's birth order status, they learn the importance of seeing sides of the sibling and/or family view. They realize that no one side is always right and that no other side is always wrong. They see the good and the bad of all sides, arguments, and viewpoints. They also learn the importance of compromise with others and that is not all about them, others have a legitimate point also!
B. Middle Children as Advocates and Defenders of Those Who Cannot Defend Themselves
Middle children are often viewed as the other in their respective families. They are uncertain of where they fit in the family scheme of things. They feel as if they are the underdogs in their families. Many times, they feel as if they do not count at all as if they are just a body, not a person in their families.
Many middle children feel as if they are the underdog. In addition to feeling as if they are the underdog, many middle children feel totally marginalized in their families. They are not respected/idolized like their older siblings nor are they adored like their younger siblings. They are just.......well, on the periphery as far as their families are concerned. So as a result of their underdog/marginalized status, they feel sympathy to others who are deemed to be outsiders, outcasts, marginalized, and otherwise oppressed.
Such middle children are of the school that might and power do not make right. They contend that everyone, no matter what his/her status is, should/must have an equal voice and be accorded the utmost respect. Middle children are often the most democratic of all birth orders. The late Charles Bronson, a middle child, indicated in an interview in McCall's magazine that he never sits at the head of the table. He indicated that his table is round because all members of his family are equal.
C. Middle Children Feeling Inconsequential and as if They are NOBODIES
Some middle children believe that since they are nonentities within their respective families, it is best that they be as unobtrusive as possible. Such middle children develop an extremely low self-concept as a result of being totally unnoticed, even ignored by their families. Some just fade into the background, becoming totally anonymous and truly being personae non gratae.
These middle children are often in a lose-lose situation. No matter what they do good or bad, they are never noticed by their parents and other family members so they just become dejected and despondent regarding their familial situation. They are of the school as to why participate in and make their individual voices/wants known to the family when they would be unappreciated at best and ignored at worst. They contend that it is not worth the effect so they say forget it all.
There are middle children who are destroyed psychologically, even psychically as a result of this treatment. There are a few who fall through the cracks to abysmal despair, hitting rock bottom with no chance of hope or even redeeming themselves. To say that their situation is hellish would be the understatement of the year!
D. Middle Children Forging THEIR OWN Way, Being UNIQUE and DIFFERENT
There are middle children who decide to separate from their family of origin. They elect going their own way, being independent and different from the rest of their family members. Middle children because of their ordinal birth position had no prescribed nor preordained birth order script, thus they forge their script. Another factor is that middle children are deemed to be outsiders in their own families.
Middle children contend that since they are the family's outsiders, they have a wide leeway to create and establish their unique, individual life. It is said that middle children are one of the most independent of all birth orders. Reasons for this is as middle children are often overlooked and/or undervalued by their parents and siblings, resulting in the former having to make their own way and carve their unique niche in life.
Examples of this are the late Princess Grace of Monaco a/k/a Grace Kelly, a middle child. Ms. Kelly was misunderstood and undervalued by her family, particularly her father. She eventually carved a unique niche, as an actress and later a princess, which was diametrically different from that of her older and/or younger siblings. Another middle child who really created her own niche was Madonna. She rebelled against her conservative Roman Catholic family to create a niche as a singer, actress, fashion designer, and business mogul who is not afraid to test and break societal boundaries.
E. Resourcefulness of Middle Children
Another side to middle children becoming independent is resourcefulness. Middle children because they feel that they are either overlooked or ignored in their families. They realize that the only person they have on depend upon is themselves. They furthermore realize that they have to create their own happiness and other sources of contentment as there is no one to do it for them.
As a result of middle children's ordinal birth position, they can be quite adept at creating what he/she needs in his/her life. Middle children are masters of adaption, learning it early. Since middle children believe that they are perpetually left out of the family dynamic, they had better know how to effectively navigate their particular environment in order to survive and not to go under psychologically and psychically. This resourcefulness causes them to adapt creatively regarding Such resourcefulness makes middle children quite creative and extremely savvy to say the least.
IV. There Can Be a GOOD Side to the Middle Child, Believe it or NOT- The Middle Child as Lucky, Individualistic, and FREE to Be His/Her Own Person
Despite the general malaise in being a middle child, there is a good side to being a middle child. The middle child is somewhat lucky! No way, you say! Yes, he/she is usually not saddled with familial responsibilities, obligations, and expected to be a model of behavior and fortitude as the oldest child is. He/she is not overindulged and/or spoiled like the youngest child in the family. The family spotlight is not on him/her as it is the oldest and/or youngest child in the family!
The middle child is not relegated to preordained familial roles like the oldest and/or youngest child! In essence, the middle child is one of the freest birth orders. The middle child has the greatest leeway imaginable regarding how he/she can behave. He/she can adopt any persona that suits his/her fancy so to speak. Since the family spotlight is not on him/her as it is the oldest and/or youngest child, he/she is free to .......BE WHATEVER and WHOEVER he/she DESIRES!
V. The Middle Child as Everyperson and the ULTIMATE Teamplayer
The middle child learns to be the family's everperson in order to receive the required parental and/or familial attention. Another degree of being the everyperson is being cooperative. Being cooperative is a trait of many middle children. They are of the opinion that in order to get along, one must often go along.
The concept of being a team player was probably invented by a middle child. Some middle children are loathe to stand out and to make waves and bring notice to themselves. They believe that it is best to be part of a team and/or crowd. They are indeed the consummate team players, getting an A+ or A when it comes to the subject of works well and getting along with others. There are no prima donnas here!
VI. The Middle Child-Survival of the MOST Assertive
Conversely, there are middle children who could be aptly described as attention seeking. They feel that they must adopt the persona of being highly assertive, even aggressive if they wish to survive, even thrive in their respective familial environment. They contend that if they are not assertive, they will be ignored and overlooked by their family members.
They have learned that it is the most aggressive one who will get noticed by their families. They maintain that it is the survival of the loudest and the strongest. It is their intention to win the game at hand. They are not about to be ignored any longer. They are of the school that those who are quite, are walked over and forgotten! Never again they vehemently vow to themselves. In other words, they intend to get THEIRS!
VII. The Middle Child as the Backbone of and SILENT Power in the Family-The Hidden Family Treasure
What many people fail to realize is that the middle child is often the unsung hero/heroine of their families. He/she is the underappreciated bulwark who solve family disputes and have the family interface smoothly with each other. A prototype of such a person is the character Maxine Joseph in the movie SOUL FOOD.
When Mama Joseph, the family matriarch dies, it is Maxine- with the help of her son Ahmad- who is the backbone of the family. it was Maxine's intention to mend and heal the family rift and wounds in addition to facilitating a family reconciliation. As the youngest sister, Bird, told Maxine that Mama Joseph considered her to be the STRONGEST one in the family. See, middle children, your gold is often hidden but it is acknowledged and appreciated!
VIII. The Middle Child-WHO is He/She Really?
The middle child in the family is quite a complex and often paradox position in the family. He/she is neither the oldest nor the youngest but somewhere in between. He/she is often overlooked, undervalued, and underappreciated for the unique person he/she is.
The middle child learns to navigate the familial environment either for better or worse. Yes, he/she is caught in the familial Graylands. However, he/she is quite an adept negotiator. He/she sees all sides of the situation and that everyone, regardless of status, is important has has a part of play in life.
The midlle child is considered and seen to be the in-between child. He/she is neither the oldest nor the youngest child. He/she is neither here nor there. He/she is often known as someone's older and/or younger sibling. Seldom is he/she known for being who he/she actually is. He/she is d is often the ignored, overlooked, and/or forgotten one in the family.
As a result of a tenuous familial status, the middle child learns to adapt to his/her individual family situation. He/she also learns to be an effective family negotiator. He/she tends to consider and to protect the underdog among humanity. He/she is a savvy team player, realizing that all parties have something of value to bring to the table.
The middle child is known as one of the most independent birth order as he/she often have to make his/her own way and survive irrespective of the individual family situation. He/she is the unsung power behind the throne in his/her family. Yes, being a middle child is often a nebulous and precarious position; however, he/she is the others can easily go to in a pinch!
- The Middle Child in the Family, Part II
The middle child in the family often have an ignoble reputation. She/he is not considered an individual in his/her right. She/he is known as either someone's older/younger sibling. She/he is often ignored, overlooked, and unappreciated by parents and
- The Middle Child In The Family, Part I
You are in a nebulous position. You are often not considered an individual in your own right. You are often considered either someone's older and/or younger sibling. You are the in between person of the family. You are the middle child!
- The Ten BEST Things About Being the Middle Child
Ah, the middle child. People really do not quite know how to describe you. Who are you exactly? You can be quite unfathomable sometimes and at other times you can be quite easy to know. You are the everyperson of the birth order. The middle child is.
© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams