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Being a Middle Child

Updated on October 14, 2012

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.

The Interview

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?

None.

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.

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    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 4 years ago from UK

      Interesting hub - It's kinda sad that middle children feel they are overlooked and must try harder to get attention. Mind you, it doesn't seem to have done your sister too much harm - she a a wicked sense of humour.

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I am the oldest child as well, and I agree, we are definitely not spoiled. I am in the process of interviewing my brother, who is the youngest, so we will see what he has to say! Thanks for the comment!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      This was quite cute and entertaining. I'm not a middle child, thank heavens! I'm the oldest and no I am not spoiled. The baby of the family is. Seriously, this is an interesting series to do and it is interesting to hear your sister's comments on being squished between two brothers. LOL But, I don't think being the middle child is inhibiting her or stopping her from being herself or doing anything in life. Good hub!

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah I think a lot of middle kids feel squeezed!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 5 years ago from United States

      I am a middle child myself. When my third sister was born I felt I was "squeezed" between my eldest sister and then my younger one. All of a sudden I never felt as special as before as I used to feel as being once a "baby" of the family. I used to feel jealous about this, but as I grew older that jealousy faded. I began to feel independent and to assert myself, and exhibit some abilities that neither my older nor my younger sister had -- that's a big advantage for me. (I didn't remember having played as a peacemaker or negotiator between my sisters tho)

      Thanks for writing this hub, I could really relate to this. :)

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Yeah I agree thanks for the comment!

    • MariaTeresaM profile image

      Teresa Martinez 5 years ago from Philippines

      There are so many theories about human personality in relation to birth order that it is interesting to hear from real people about their own take on being a middle child as in the case of your sister.

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks for relaying your experiences. Yeah, I guess any birth order has its own advantages and disadvantages. Thanks for the comment and vote!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      First and foremost - your sister sounds like a blast! This was informative but provided a great wealth of humor as well!

      My brother was the oldest of four and my observation was that his road was the toughest.

      My sister and other brother were in the middle - my brother craves attention and will do anything to get it while my sister is considered shy in public. They are both hilarious individuals.

      I am the youngest and I did receive far more than the others. My younger brother and I benefited by having come along after my parents business was lucrative.

      However, I am also the one who handles major issues i.e., moving home and becoming my critically ill fathers caregiver and staying on after his passing to take care of Mom and the large property demands.

      I notice my oldest brother and I had the most in common.

      I can't wait to read your other interviews and articles concerning this interesting subject.

      Voting up! Tell your sister she is hilarious!

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thank you eHealer! Glad you liked it!

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Excellent hub, and thanks for sharing your personal experiences. The middle child usually will reflect many characteristics of both parents, and possibly the older siblings. Great hub!

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Yes, it was quite an entertaining interview! Thanks for the comment and the vote!

    • efeyas profile image

      efeyas 5 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Your sister is funny, lol! Quite some amusing answers. Im the baby of 3 (2 older brothers) so this was interesting to read. Voted up :)