Being a Middle Child
This is the first of a series of articles I am planning on birth order and how it can affect peoples’ lives, both as children and as adults. Studies have suggested that birth order can have an effect on a person's personality and attributes.
People who are born oldest, in the middle, and youngest all have certain images and stereotypes associated with them. In many cases, the conventional wisdom regarding birth order may not be accurate, but in other situations it may hit the mark.
I am the oldest of three children. For this hub, I interviewed my sister Cate, who is the middle child of the family. Here are her interesting and often humorous responses to ten questions I asked.
1.Did you suffer from “middle child syndrome” as a kid? To elaborate, did you crave attention as a child and feel relatively neglected compared to your siblings? If so, what strategies did you use to receive attention?
Well, yes, I would say that I did suffer from a bit of middle child syndrome and I still do. I craved attention and eventually found creative ways to get it. I still use creative ways to get attention. For example, today I wore an outrageous pair of frog socks, and showed them to everyone, including my doctor. I don't believe that's normal for most people, but it is normal for me.
2. How do you think your life would have been different if you had been the eldest child?
If I was the oldest child, I would get to be the boss all the time. I would get doted on and spoiled. I would be responsible and practical. I would probably have grown up to be an accountant, rather than an avid frog socks fan.
3. How do you think your life would have been different if you had been the youngest child?
If I was the youngest child, I would be a spoiled brat like my little brother. Youngest children can get away with murder. They fly under the radar. They are forever perfect and innocent in the eyes of their parents. Meanwhile, they are wreaking havoc on society.
4. What advantages does being a middle child have?
5. What disadvantages does being a middle child have?
Many. The middle child is not special. The middle child is not significant. The middle child will feel IMMENSE RAGE because of this for the rest of his or her life.
6. Did you feel that you lacked the sense of identity that your older and younger siblings had?
I've always had quite a distinct sense of identity, although I've had to work hard at finding ways to express it loud enough that everyone notices. For example, I might express it by wearing something that draws attention to me. I may say inappropriate things. I may find inappropriate things hilarious. I am louder and crazier than both of my siblings, and I am damn proud of it.
7. Middle children are sometimes stereotypically known for adopting the position of peacemaker or referee in family disputes. Have you played this role?
Peacemaker? Not with my family. I play the role of peacemaker in other situations such as at work or with friends. I am rather good at seeing both sides of the story and calming people down. But with my family? No. I disrupt the peace.
8. Other stereotypes of middle children are that they are creative, independent, have a pessimistic outlook, and tend to be loners. Do you think that you fit any of these attributes?
Creative, yes. Independent, yes. A pessimistic outlook, sometimes. And a loner? Not really. As much as I hate people, I like to be around them.
9. Madonna, Richard Nixon, and David Letterman are all middle children. Which one of them do you think you are most like (if any)? Which one of them would you like to be (if any)?
Out of those three, I would pick David Letterman. He is a comedian and so am I. The only difference is he has a TV show and I am the only one that thinks I am funny. But that's not much of a difference. Madonna...no. And Richard Nixon, hell no.
10. Overall, how do you think being a middle child has affected your life?
Overall, being a middle child has made my life an incredible mess. Not only am I sandwiched between two brothers but they both smell. I am lucky I am still standing.
In the Middle
Of course, there are many parents with more than three children, thus there is more than one middle child in those families. It would be interesting to see if this affects “middle child syndrome”.
If you are a middle child, how do you think it has affected your life? Leave a note in the comments if you wish.
- What are the effects of ‘middle child syndrome’? - Parenting & Family - TODAY.com
The birth of a third kid changes your family dynamic. Stacy DeBroff of momcentral.com offers advice on raising a brood of three.
- The 'Secret' Perks Of Being A Middle Child : NPR
Stereotypes about middle children are hardly flattering; they're seen as confused underachievers who are overshadowed and overlooked. But in The Secret Power of Middle Children, Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann argue that there are hidden benefit
- Personality Traits Linked To Birth Order - CBS News
The Early Show: Personality Traits Linked To Birth Order - Place On Family Tree To Shape Personalities