Stuck in the Middle

Kennedy Myers || Contributing Writer

Children born in the middle of their siblings encounter several different stereotypes. The middle child is often thought as being neglected and forgotten, caught in between their siblings.  Because of this, middle children may lack drive and ambition.

“Middle child syndrome” is characterized as, people born in the middle of their siblings feeling as if they do not belong, having a lack of a career focus, feelings of neglect, and having a negative outlook on life.  According to a Stanford University study, middle children are the least bold, most envious, and least talkative of all the other birth orders.

“I personally believe that us middle children get both overlooked and forgotten by parents and others,” said a middle child, Jack Myers.

However, this is only a stereotype; not all middle children feel neglected nor do all middle children lack drive. For example, according to the book, The Secret Power of Middle Children, by Catherine Salmon Ph.D and katrin Schumann,52 percent of U.S. Presidents have been middle children.

This statistic provides evidence that middle children can be excellent leaders with the motivation to become president. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela are another two examples of leaders who were born in the middle of their siblings.

Middle children are sometimes ‘neglected’ because their older and younger siblings may recieve more attention from their parents for different reasons. Because of this, middle children learn to be independent.

“I feel that my parents did pay more attention to my older and younger siblings when I was growing up. I don’t think they meant for me to feel this way, but it did happen,” Myers said.  

Usually, pressure is placed on the eldest child, which allows middle children a freedom their older counterparts don’t receive. Middle children are usually empathetic, and this helps them get along well with others and be a good team player.

Middle children who are faced with neglect can have negative repercussions.

These consequences include low self-esteem, avoidance of any conflict, and the lack of ability to say no. They can easily be taken advantage of because they won’t want to disappoint someone.

Even though there can be consequences to feelings of neglect middle children have just as much opportunity as anyone else. They can be independent and socially adapt. There are examples of powerful and successful leaders who were middle children, proving middle children have the opportunity to become more than just the middle kid.

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