You may have heard of the “Middle Child Syndrome,” a concept that suggests that children born in the middle are often (and inadvertently) overlooked by their parents and end up developing personality issues. This may be because they aren’t like the first child, on whose shoulders the expectations of overachieving and the parents’ ardent hopes rest, and they’re not as cutesy as their younger sibling(s). But the aspects of being the middle child that no one talks about very often is the fact that this also gives you some amazing perks. My fellow middle children everywhere, sit back and read on as I tell you why your life is actually pretty neat.
1. Your parents don’t experiment on you.
After reading the previous sentence, you may be sitting there going like, “What? Why would my parents experiment on me?” The truth is, new parents hardly ever know what they’re doing. Having your first child is a pretty scary experience, so they’re bound to make some mistakes. With their firstborn, they will most likely try out different parenting and disciplinary techniques to figure out which one works and which doesn’t. By the time you come along, they’ve basically figured some shit out. Your older sibling will have played their part as an unfortunate scapegoat.
2. You have your older sibling to fall back on.
It’s a blessing to have an older sibling you have a good rapport with. Not only do these introduce you to some of your most monumental firsts — your first drink, party, etc — they also represent the grounded solidity you need in your adolescence. You know that if anything goes wrong and you can’t approach your parents about it, your older sibling will always have your back. This also means that they get to boss you around, but that’s just the inescapable part of being a younger sibling.
3. You get the best (and sometimes the worst) of both worlds.
As a middle child, you get to play the authoritarian and the reckless youth. You have power over your younger siblings but have to concede to your older one. It’s a double-edged sword. Similarly, you have to take responsibility of your younger sibling while you get to play the “younger” card with your older sibling. The good thing is, being in the middle gives you experience with a little bit of both worlds, making for a somewhat cohesive dynamic.
4. You experience a good balance of fun and discipline.
We’ve already established that your older sibling was the human equivalent of a guinea pig, so their upbringing was more focused on discipline and doing everything right. By the time it was your turn, your parents had probably eased up and provided you with slightly more freedom than your older sibling. Unfortunately, many third children turn out to be more pampered than their older siblings. This may not be true for all families, but since most third children are the youngest members of the family, they tend to receive a much more pampered environment. You’re the lucky one who got the balanced life.
5. You’re more perceptive.
I’ve read studies and articles that claim that middle children tend to be more successful than the other children of the same family. I don’t know how accurate that is, as I didn’t find any quantifiable data, but I do know that being a middle child gives you a wider perspective on things. It’s no secret that middle children are seen as and often feel like outsiders. We observe many things from the periphery without having to engage in them. This gives us the opportunity to analyze the dynamics of people and relationships more than others. The aforementioned “best of both worlds” situation also gives us a taste of what it’s like to be in both – a position of authority and a position of subordination. This may not be true for every middle child, but it’s a small but significant facet of being the middle child that sets us apart.