The Middle Child Syndrome

three siblings

When planning your family, it is important to consider how the birth order will impact your children’s emotions and personality, as well as your family’s dynamics.

There is a phenomenon often talked about, called the “Middle Child Syndrome,” which helps explain how birth order affects every aspect of a child’s life. Wondering what your middle child may be experiencing, or how to possibly counteract any negativity caused from being a middle child? Here is some information to help!

Help your middle child feel like an important member of your family by having special date nights!

Emotional Impact
Dr. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychoanalyst, first brought the effect of birth order to light. He suggested that birth order has a strong affect on a child’s character. Dr. Adler was a middle child himself.

Middle children often feel left out and invisible, a contrast from their older and younger siblings. While older children get the benefits of all of the “firsts” a child accomplishes, younger children benefit from the emotional impact of being the baby of the family, often being spoiled and coddled. Middle children, however, often feel as though they have nothing special that is just “theirs.”

Some studies suggest that middle children are also more prone to depression and typically have stronger immune systems than their older siblings.

What do you think?

The Middle Child Syndrome

Tell us what you think!

20 comments

  1. Profile photo of ariawna ariawna says:

    I’m a 12 year old girl with a older sister who is 14 and has disabilities and a younger brother who is 4 and the baby of the family I see where this is coming from a lot of days my siblings get “special” treatment and i usually don’t and since I’m a middle child I’m usually more independent than my other sibling,

  2. I’m a 14 year old girl who has a shitty older brother and a fucking younger brother. My fucking older brother seems like he controls the fucking universe! And my younger brother is only one year difference he’s fucking 13! And he gets treated the exact same as my not one thing is different. He has the same amount of fucking pocket money, he gets the same amount of quality time with fucking mum and dad. And tons more. Whereas my shitty older brother gets longer quality time and more pocket money. Etc. I hate this shitty family and wish I could fucking live with some other shitty people! They’re all fucking morons

    • Profile photo of Marion Marion says:

      I signed up b/c of yr post, great you are speaking abt it, thanks. It’s good for you too. Even though yr ages will remain the same, positions or family dynamics can change (i.e. oldest may become the middle child, youngest may become oldest) This will happen over years. You can also create yr own family from great friends who understand! I am estranged (ignore them completely) from my sisters and now live in another state. 3 years difference for younger sister to me and 7 years difference to older.
      Parents expected younger sister to do well as far as $s go, she was given so much eventually she didn’t understand money. When it comes to “Wills” ppl change too, I didn’t believe this but it is true! Younger sister ripped off $250k without caring abt others. That was enough for me, she is a waste of space. Also she is the principal of a well known private school, if parents knew what she was like they would change schools so their kids wouldn’t be influenced by her, it’s all a charade. She has become a very angry person. Older sister also lives in a different state but thinks nothing of $s stolen. Her choice. She also favored younger sister and ignored me.
      I was extremely sick as a kid but not told what this rare condition was from dr father. I was always ignored, no affection from parents at all. Could write pages abt this and yes it hurts but I am really pleased for you that you are shitty. It gets better as you get older and make yr own choices. Choose a kind, smart partner later, if you can. They will be yr best friend:-). Now we have enough $s to “buy” my sisters! Guess what?!! Neither are in our Will and we have conditions attached so we don’t expect challenges. Younger sister & her kids have treated me badly. She will struggle on a pension. Older sister will be OK, I don’t care really. We have no kids, this was not our choice but now I am happy abt this.
      The point is you can make it by yourself if you want to. It’s to do with how you “think” and you will “let it go”. Love and kind wishes to you xxxooo

  3. Profile photo of Haydee Haydee says:

    This is so true….as a result of this I just pushed myself to do more. I didn’t want recognition I just wanted to prove to myself that I am just as special. I am successful because of it. First child to buy a home and My family life is very stable.I have three children… A girl (21) a boy (19) and my new addition (1) although there is a middle child they were not raised all together. I wasn’t planning on the third and thank God it didn’t happen earlier because I know how painful being left out can be.

  4. Profile photo of susan susan says:

    what about age difference from the middle child to the youngest? My children are 11 and 10 and I am now expecting my third. That’ll be an 11 year age difference!

  5. Profile photo of miguel miguel says:

    I like what you said I do feel left out I just think is better for me to hang out with friend who are the same feel like I can’t get my word aross.to them but the good part is I know how to make myself wealthy but feel like I do everything for my brother I’m till working on it…

  6. Profile photo of Karlee Karlee says:

    Everything they say about the ever accursed “middle child” is true. I am OCD and Dyslexic. My parents don’t realize this. They make plans, then cancel for my little brother’s haircut, or karate class. Young parents always say “That will never happen in my family,” but the fact is, you can’t stop it. It just happens. It doesn’t matter who your parents are, you always feel like you live in your older or younger sibling’s shadow. There’s nothing you can do to get out of it, because they’ll always be better than you, especially in your parents eyes. The “Middle Child Syndrome” is inevitable.

  7. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    I hope not to deal with this in my own family. If ever we do have 3 children in the future, we will strive hard not to let this happen or to intervene as early as possible

  8. Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

    Don’t underestimate the middle child. Both my husband and I are middle children. And yeah we did suffer from this syndrome, but as a result, we’ve been pretty successful. I dove into becoming an over achiever to earn attention with my family. This ended up becoming a blessing because now I lead a pretty successful life. I’ve done so much more than my siblings and have taken more risks that they just wouldn’t do. My sister was very outspoken and loud, so one down for me is that I have a hard time speaking up and feeling like my opinion matters (while my younger sister was a big cry baby) this is an issue that still affects me today, but honestly everyone has some kind of issue as an adult.

  9. Profile photo of LIZ says:

    i never wanted 3 kids, because of this, two is fine for me

  10. Profile photo of Mya Mya says:

    I am a middle child well, really i am 12. Even though i have a younger brother and older brother, i tend to always feel left out… Its too the point were i no loner speak my mind… or speak much at all… What should i do?

  11. Profile photo of Vanessa Vanessa says:

    I didn’t see myself having three I only wanted two, the date night suggestion is definitely the best solution because regardless if you have three kids or not and just have two they still want to have that individual attention

  12. I was actually the middle child. I really do not want to have an odd number of kids.

  13. Profile photo of Ben Ben says:

    Haha, I actually posted a comedy sketch about being the Middle Child. If you fancy a giggle check it out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhzHdxf9c_w

  14. Profile photo of PamelaPlus3 PamelaPlus3 says:

    Good Info! thanks!!

  15. Profile photo of tammy tammy says:

    ohhh thanks for all these info!!

  16. Profile photo of ErinF ErinF says:

    Ooh, I like the idea of having "date nights" with each child individually so they each receive personal attention as individuals. A former coworker of mine was also the middle of three siblings, and said that she’ll never have three kids because of the way she felt growing up. If I do end up having three, I’ll definitely keep the last paragraph of this article in mind.

  17. Profile photo of michelle michelle says:

    As the middle child and the only girl, I can certainly attest to most of this article. Although, I certainly don’t feel like I got any specialties for being a girl. I was rather tomboyish and played sports rather than had dance recitals.
    But due to being a middle child, I’m only having 2 children. I would never want to have one of my children feel the way I felt growing up and I feel that 4 kids is just too many for me to handle.

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