The middle child
Parents might not realize how little attention they give the middle child, says someone who’s been there.
Growing up in a brood of four made me feel like I had to fight to get my parents’ attention. And being the middle child just further added to my woes. I felt like I was the least understood of my siblings. I got used to living in the eldest shadow and to the youngest getting away with murder. But I still envied them, because I could never be the favourite first born or the spoilt baby.

I found my solace at school and academically I was an over-achiever. I got the attention that my parents couldn’t give me from my teachers and I basked in being the teacher’s pet, yet that wasn’t enough, I still craved my parents’ attention. I never could grasp why I needed their attention and approval for everything, until I heard of ‘Middle-Child Syndrome’. Finally I had my AH-HA moment and could explain why I was such an attention whore.

What is Middle Child Syndrome?

Middle child syndrome occurs in children who are born into families of 3 or more. These children experience a lack of belonging and are often insecure. They feel dethroned for not being the baby of the family and feel neglected. They grow resentful for often being ignored.

However being a middle child isn’t all that bad. Middle children are known to be peacekeepers and wonderful negotiators, because they are so used to being in the middle. They are artistic, independent (from not having parents to hold their hands all the time) and extremely bright.

Parents need to be aware that middle children often receive the least amount of attention. Middle child syndrome is not only limited to childhood but can be carried over to adulthood as well. This can be prevented by making a conscious effort to spend some quality time with the middle child.

According to studies birth order contributes to personality traits, self esteem and ambition. It also affects your job, marriage and earning power.

I’ll probably always display symptoms of middle-child syndrome but I have accepted my place in the family and have made peace that I will always be stuck in the middle.

Are you a middle child, or recognize the syndrome in your own child?

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