Is sibling rivalry something a family should address with the middle child? What is it like to be a middle child and how can your family help you feel better about yourself?
Dealing with sibling rivalry can be tiring for a parent. Learn how to reduce sibling rivalry and make all your kids feel better! read more
I'm a middle child, and one of my own children is a middle child - and both of us are pretty happy with how we feel about ourselves.
I think a lot of the problem with middle children isn't with the children, themselves; but with parents' imagining things about middle children that aren't necessarily even real problems.
When all the children in a family are treated as if they're valued; when parents aren't looking for "something wrong" in their middle child; and when all children are raised in a way that doesn't foster envious, needy, personalities; there doesn't have to be much of a "middle child syndrome".
I believe that children who have rivalry with siblings (regardless of their birth order) have it because parents don't/can't give enough attention to children when they need it most (when they're babies/preschoolers). Some parents, of course, foster rivalry in other ways as well.
I was perfectly happy to be close to both my older sister and my younger brother. In fact, I saw a whole lot of advantages to being a middle child. My biggest complain about being a middle child (whether when I was a kid or today) has always been that "the world" kind of assumes middle children "have issues - when, in fact, not all do.
The middle born in a family is the second most maligned of birth orders with the only child being the most maligned of birth orders. The middle child is often the most ignored, forgotten, and the most overshadowed child in the family. The middle child is not appreciated for his/her individuality, he/she is either Mary's/Bob's older sibling or Vanessa's/ Jackson's younger sibling.
As a result of this labelling, the middle child either takes two roads, fading in the background believing that it is better to be anonymous as no one notices him/her anyway or to be very vocal and pushy asserting his/her identity so he/she will not ever be overlooked again. A family can help a middle child feel better about himself/herself is by setting time aside to get to know the middle child individually aside from his/her siblings. A parent can make weekly dates with his/her middle child either to go to a movie, museum, or quiet time to be together. That would be nice.
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