If you have older AND younger siblings, you’ve undoubtedly heard time and again about the woes of being the ‘middle child.’ According to psychologists and parenting magazines, we middle kids are often lost in the mess of life between the excitement of the oldest children and the sentimentality connected with the ‘babies’ of the family.
We supposedly get less attention, feel left out, and crave validation. You hear that, moms and dads? Life is hard out there for us middle kids.
Although some of these things might be true, those parenting magazines and psychologists overlook one simple fact: being the middle child rocks. Here’s why:
There was always someone to hang out with.
You’ve always had a built-in playmate. When you were a toddler, your older sibling was always dragging you around. When your younger sibling was born, you got to drag them around too. Big bro could drive you to soccer practice, little sis watched Disney movies and built snowmen (cough, see below) with you. Bored? Yeah, nice try.
You got to use your older sibling as a test case.
Everything you came across in life, every milestone, challenge, celebration- you’ve watched it firsthand when your older sibling went through it. They did it, so you knew you could do it too. Even better, you could see if/when they tripped up, and adjusted your strategy. This also applied to getting in trouble with the parents – what would they let slide by? What was gonna get you grounded until you turned 30? Big siblings knew best.
You got to mentor your younger siblings.
As the middle kid, you got the sweet spot of not having to be the guinea pig AND getting to be a role model to your younger sibling. Sharing your wise ways with the youths and helping them avoid those sticky spots made you feel all accomplished and like you were doing your sibling duty. YES, YOU WERE THE ALL-KNOWING AWESOME BIG SIBLING. THEY SHOULD ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOU.
Flying under the radar can be kind of awesome.
I’m sure we all know that there were some situations you were glad you DIDN’T get a lot of attention for. Sometimes sneaking through isn’t such a bad thing. Did you really want your parents to hold up a magnifying glass to every single thing you did? We became pros at learning by example, being independent and getting things done on our own without being micromanaged. Go us.
You’re an awesome peacekeeper and negotiator.
Middle kids mediate their whole lives. You have the know-how to diplomatically deal with arguments and negotiate what you want. You’re savvy in the area of compromise and patient from the times you were waiting around for your siblings as a kid.
You can socialize with just about anyone.
From years of your older and younger siblings’ friends stopping by your house, hanging out and running around, you became a social butterfly. You’re comfortable with a large range of ages and are in touch with their social cues and nuances. You can smooth over those awkward situations and hiccups because years of them with those both older than you and younger than you have made you realize they’re not important.
So basically, you rock.
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking middle children get the short end of the stick- we’re doing just fine. We’re in good company (Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bill Gates did pretty well). We’re never all that lonely. And we (mostly) play well with others. What is Middle Child Syndrome, again?
(Sorry, only children. It must be rough out there for you.)
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