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Advice on How To Raise Your Middle Child

Updated on August 26, 2011

Middle children are in a tough position.  The oldest child gets all the “first” attention and can do things much sooner.  The youngest child is the baby and doesn’t have much expected of them and is doted on.  The middle child just gets lost.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  You can avoid having a child suffer from middle child syndrome with a little care.

RECOGNIZE YOUR CHILD IS UNIQUE

Your children have different personalities and strengths.  Allow them to realize what they do is wonderful.  Who they are is perfect.  Avoid comparisons to the middle child’s siblings.   Children may think it is because they aren’t living up to the other sibling.  To say Johnny is so good at sports, but it’s Billy who is the scholar may make one think they aren’t living up to your expectations in the other department.  Do genuinely compliment your child when they do something well; preferably not on something their sibling does well.  Don’t expect them to have interests in something because your older child did, and so did his friends.  You older child chose his friends because of similar interests. 

DON’T ALLOW YOUR MIDDLE CHILD TO BE INVISIBLE

When a first child is born, parents are excited.  Not only is baby’s accomplishments his firsts, but it’s the parents first.  By the time the second comes along, parents don’t have as much time for standing around taking pictures since two children now need them and they realize that drool really isn’t that big of a deal.  But, to the second born, fewer pictures equal less status.  Be sure to take at least some of those “I found my hand pictures”.  Find the time to fill in the baby book; designate one day a month to write in the baby book or a child to your letter summing up all the things you want to remember or say to them.

GIVE YOUR MIDDLE CHILD YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION

The oldest has you all to herself because there are no other children.  The youngest gets you all to herself because the other two are off at school.  The middle never gets that alone time.  Make time to date your children.  Once a month take a child out for an activity without any siblings.  You could go to the movies, out to eat, to the park, on a long walk, or to the library.  The activity doesn’t matter as long as it is something the child enjoys and it is sibling free.

DON’T FORCE A SIBLING FRIENDSHIP

It may seem simpler to send the middle child off to play with the oldest and his friends or the youngest and her friends, especially if close in age, but do not do it.  Let each child have their own friends.  What is one extra child when you already have four or five in the house?  Sign your children up for different activities, unless both stress a strong (independent) interest in the same activity.  Don’t put your children in the same sports so they can be on the same team just because it is easier for you or because your children just want to compete.  Sibling bonds will come; don’t force them.

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    • dawney profile image

      dawney 

      7 years ago from California

      I have a middle child as well, and she is the only girl. Im pretty sure she has learned how to work the system to her benefit. Her brothers often feel she gets more attention and is spoiled. She has a strong personality and lot of activites and friends.

      When shes not bossing them around she has a charming way of getting whatever she wants out of them so I'm certain shes got the jump on them! She's really figured out this whole middle child thing. All I can do is sit back and grin. Good hub.

    • dawnella66 profile image

      Dawn Gagnon 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      As a middle child I can certainly relate to this article. I was also the only girl and that didnt really make a difference either. Great article!

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