Ask any child psychologist and they will tell you that a child needs to have…
Every year on August 12, National Middle Child Day is celebrated in countries around the world. This day honours middle children, who could often feel like their position has presented some challenges. The first born in the family is often the leader with a strong personality. The youngest child is considered the “baby” for most of its life, receiving a great deal of attention. It can be hard being a middle child for a number of reasons and presents the issues associated with ‘middle child syndrome’.
It is important to remember that not all middle children will experience these issues, and nothing is concrete. However, if you are a parent it can be advisable to be aware of the concerns associated with ‘middle child syndrome’ as a means of ensuring your middle child feels the same love and attention as your other children.
The eldest child gets all the “firsts” and the resultant attention. The younger child gets the protection of the parents in their role as the “baby” of the family. The middle child accomplishments and needs are often ignored and he ends up with no clearly defined role. The middle child feels they must live up to the older sibling while being as “cute” as their younger one.
Birth order can have a major effect on a child’s experience in their family. Since the middle child has to compete for attention, they may resort to inappropriate behaviour to elicit a parental response. Additionally, insecurity and jealousy may develop. When the middle child does not get the same attention as his younger and older siblings for his accomplishments, resentment can lead to angry outbursts against family members.
Every child is different. However certain personality characteristics often surface with the middle child. What is referred to as the “Middle Child Syndrome” impacts both positive and negative personality traits.
Alternatively, since middle children often receive less attention and experience less interaction, they may end up introverted with underdeveloped social skills and low self-esteem.
Since parents often pay more attention to the oldest child who is having new experiences, and the youngest, needing more help, the middle child can end up getting less nurturing. The result is a feeling they lack competency in some areas. The middle child may feel they lack effectiveness and be hesitant in making decisions and have trouble setting and achieving goals.
The effect of being a middle child can last into adulthood. The middle child’s lack of self-confidence may lead to indecision in making life choices such as career, selection of a partner, and disciplining their own children.
Middle Child Day gives special recognition to the middle child or children in a family. Compared to the first and last born child, the middle child has challenges when it comes to getting the attention of parents. Although it’s hard being the middle child, ultimately the child assuming this position develops some unique and often positive personality traits and family relationships. Rejoice in being or having a middle child on Middle Child Day this August 11 and every day of the year.