Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Middle Child: You ARE Special! Today's Your Day!

According to http://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/middle-childs-day/, today is a special day, a very special day, at least for the middle child. Today's it's "Middle Child Day!" That’s me!

Some of you dear readers might relate, those of who you were second or later born depending on your family size in terms of siblings. Otherwise, you might have a sibling who is a middle child and here's your opportunity to understand them a bit better.

Dr. Kevin Leman, psychologist, in his book, The Birth Order Book: Why you Are the Way You Are writes “the second born will be most directly influenced by the first born, the third born will be most directly influenced by the second born, and so on.”

He also states, “Second borns will probably be somewhat the opposite of first borns.” And furthermore, he goes on to say, “Because the later-born children 'bounce off' the ones directly above them, there is no way to predict which way they might go or how their personalities might develop. Characteristic charts on middle-born children often sound like an exercise in paradoxical futility. For example, below are two columns with words and phrases that can all be very typical of the middle child. It's not hard to spot the direct contradictions:

loner, quiet, shy
impatient, easily frustrated
very competitive
rebel, family goat
aggressive, a scrapper

sociable, friendly, outgoing
takes life in stride, laid back
easygoing - not competitive
peacemaker, mediator
avoids conflict

When I look at these two lists, I’m not necessarily one extreme nor the other. Though I used to lean more “towards the left” (I had to move the list to the top), I have grown to be rather sociable, friendly, and outgoing as well as avoiding conflict – I have always hated conflict – in particular.

Middle children do not feel “special” or treated as if they are like the first-born or the “baby” (youngest sibling) of the family: think family photo album. They may get hand-me-downs and the like as I did with my two eldest sisters. I used to refer to myself and still do as a matter of fact as “monkey in the middle” with two older sisters and two younger brothers. (Even though my twin died, I would still be or rather still am a middle child.)

Middle children may also feel like the “lost” child as they have no definitive role and may be overlooked with older and younger siblings and thus feel misunderstood and out of place like a third party – “two’s company, three’s a crowd” kind-of-feeling – or like a fifth wheel. (Three's Company, a TV show in the 1970's-80's.)

Is that why, in part, I felt like I didn’t belong or mattered? I wanted so much to feel special, to be treated differently. Don’t we all though? Is that why I started acting differently perhaps on an unconscious/subconscious level?

The middle child may seek out friendships more than the first-born or youngest through peers their own age to hang out with. Their friends become an integral part of their lives as they help to shape the character of their personality, and in doing so may, as Dr. Leman states, become “a bit of a “free spirit.” I find that fascinating as I have used a similar term to describe myself growing up and still do even to this day: “restless spirit.” Hmm, is there a connection possibly?

One thing I do know that is a bonus for us middle children is that we make good mediators/negotiators/peacemakers. I have been told this by at least one if not two sources; however, as I detest conflict, such an occupation does little for me. This is true for me as I have come to recognize and ‘see’ both points of view when there is a difference of opinion; both people are ‘right’ in their own way. This ability to understand was something that began in my childhood, though I wasn’t aware of it then. In that sense, I sometimes become a bit of a peacekeeper. (Maybe that’s why I like the band, Fleetwood Mac’s “Peacekeeper” song!)

So, being a middle child makes me a great peacekeeper/mediator/negotiator, tough and independent, empathic (i.e., understanding of others’ situations/plights – I have this big time), and the like. Do any of you relate or know someone who is a middle child?

Are you or do you know someone who is a middle child? How did you feel growing up? How do you feel now about your position in the family? Can you find the unique strengths/gifts in being a middle child? Do you or can you like/love/celebrate it?

Posting to be continued...a 'twist' on the middle child...


  1. Wishing you lots of joy on this special day, Elly :) i'm not a middle-born but know tons. Though, being the second-born (and also the last) I do differ from my elder sister.... She's the social animal, all goody-goody stuff, i'm the loner, rebellious and free spirit :) that way, I relate to you!

    1. Thanks for sharing, and yes, as I mentioned above, the second child is usually quite opposite from the first born. Glad to hear I'm not alone! ;) <3

  2. Happy Middle Child's Day, Elly! :)
    I'm the last born, but my Mom was very particular about my brother - the middle child - saying that he was different and needed more attention. I guess she was a little ahead of the times! :P

    1. Thanks Corinne. I originally didn't think I liked being middle child until I read up on it. Now, I realize I may be the most versatile of the bunch! ;) Yes, YOUR Mom was right about me too in that regard! ;) The last borns are supposedly "outgoing charmers" and "personable manipulators" and also "affectionate, uncomplicated, and sometimes a little absentminded" so may end up being the class or family clown or entertainer. Can you relate to any of that? ;) <3

  3. I am a middle child and so i had fun reading this. I wrote one about being a middle child too. Hope you don't mind me sharing.


    1. Glad to 'meet' another middle child SuperLux and that you enjoyed reading it. I will check out yours too! ;) <3

  4. You've given me greater understanding of my younger sister. I always wondered why she formed such close ties with friends, whereas I didn't have any. I admire her wonderful sense of humor and sharp wit--so different from me. It's amazing how siblings affect each other.

    1. No friends?! Ouch! That must have hurt. What did you do to appease your loneliness then? <3