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Navigating the Middle Child Syndrome

We know life has not been doing right by you..

middle child

Within almost every family, the middle child is usually overlooked. It’s always about the oldest and the youngest. But what of the victim in the middle? Studies found that your family’s birth order plays a role in your development. They see that being the middle child, neither the oldest nor the youngest, you often get less attention from your parents and get “caught in the middle.” Consequently, you start acting accordingly. Middle children within every family usually share common personal traits. We know how hard it is toiling for things that others are given freely. Anyways, we got you. Here’s our editors’ tips to overcome the complexities of being a middle child. 

middle child

But before we tell you how to deal with it, you have to understand “the middle child syndrome” more deeply. 

UNDERSTANDING MIDDLE CHILD SYNDROME

Middle child syndrome refers to the feeling of being neglected, overshadowed, or overlooked compared to both the oldest and youngest siblings. This phenomenon arises from various factors:

  1. Birth Order Dynamics: Middle children can feel squeezed between the responsibilities and privileges granted to the eldest and the perceived indulgence or attention given to the youngest.
  1. Attention Imbalance: Parents may unintentionally focus more on the firstborn’s milestones or the youngest’s needs, leaving the middle child feeling left out.
  1. Personality Development: Middle children often develop traits such as independence, diplomacy, and empathy as a result of their position in the family hierarchy.

CELEBRATE INDIVIDUALITY

Middle children often excel in developing their own identities separate from their siblings. Embrace this individuality by pursuing hobbies, interests, and activities that resonate with you. Whether it’s sports, arts, academics, or community involvement, find avenues where you can shine on your own merits.

COMMUNICATE OPENLY

Address any feelings of neglect or invisibility with your family members. Open and honest communication can bridge the gap between feeling overlooked and being recognized for your unique strengths. Expressing your emotions in a constructive manner can lead to a more supportive family dynamic.

FORGE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

Build meaningful connections with both your older and younger siblings. While birth order may influence sibling dynamics, nurturing these relationships can foster a sense of belonging and mutual support. Find common ground and create opportunities to bond through shared experiences.

SET GOALS AND PURSUE AMBITIONS

Middle children often develop a drive to prove themselves due to perceived lack of attention. Channel this motivation into setting personal goals and pursuing ambitions that align with your interests and values. Whether it’s academic achievements, career aspirations, or personal growth, strive to excel and showcase your capabilities.

DEVELOP DIPLOMACY AND EMPATHY

Middle children frequently develop strong interpersonal skills, including diplomacy and empathy. Use these qualities to navigate relationships, mediate conflicts, and build bridges between family members. Your ability to understand different perspectives and communicate effectively can positively influence family dynamics.

SEEK SUPPORT OUTSIDE THE FAMILY

Connect with peers or mentors who understand the dynamics of being a middle child. Sharing experiences and insights with others facing similar challenges can provide validation and perspective. Consider joining support groups or online communities where you can exchange advice and support.

EMBRACE LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Middle children often possess leadership potential stemming from their adaptability and resilience. Take on responsibilities at school, in extracurricular activities, or within your community. Leading by example and making a positive impact can enhance self-confidence and garner recognition for your abilities.

REMEMBER, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR SIBLINGS

You don’t have to punish your siblings for it. It’s not their fault. Actually, it’s no one’s fault. You have to accept that life happens. Defense mechanisms often work the wrong way. You start acting with hostility towards your siblings for no reason except that they got more attention than you did. Please don’t do that. Maintaining a good relationship with your siblings will serve you no harm in that case. On the contrary, you may prove yourself unworthy of love when you treat them harshly.

PRACTICE SELF-CARE

Prioritize self-care to maintain emotional well-being amidst familial dynamics. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as exercise, mindfulness, hobbies, or spending time with friends. Taking care of your mental and physical health enables you to approach challenges with resilience and a positive outlook.

IF YOU DON’T GET IT: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU

What we wanted to address all along is that you’re not outcasted. Your parents are not marginalizing you on purpose, you just happen to be born in that order. Naturally, parents love all of their children evenly. It just happens that they give almost all of their attention and energy to their first baby. Come the last one, they’re already consumed. So what happens? They spoil the youngest, thinking that through that way they’re compensating the kid for not getting enough attention. And what of the stuck-in-the-middle? Unfortunately, they get crushed in the storm. But it’s okay, they–and you as well– get through it eventually.

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