Middle child syndrome is basically a feeling of exclusion by the middle child of the family. They often feel empty, unworthy, lonely, jealous and develop low self-esteem. This happens mainly because the first child (the oldest one) gets all the responsibility and privileges. The youngest child is more likely to be pampered. Hence the middle child is left is no actual status or clear role in family. The middle child is neither the baby of the house like the youngest one nor the responsible one like the eldest one; hence they remain stuck between the two.This develops a feeling of being left out in them. The negligence makes them feel that they don’t belong to the family. Stanford university studies show that the middle children are mostly least bold and least talkative among all the siblings.
Middle child syndrome is a topic of debate because studies have shown that not all middle children develop this syndrome. It mainly depends on parenting techniques. They feel that the elder sibling gets more privileges whereas youngest gets more attention this makes them feel unwanted. The middle child sees that the oldest gets more privileges and celebration for even little achievements. The youngest gets more attention and least is expected from them. This leaves the middle child to think what they can do to be special.
Since they are neglected they grow up to become more independent and feel less pressure to conform. They are more motivated by social cause. Middle children more oriented to principles and concepts like justice. Over earning power or prestige becomes sole motive like suffragette Susan B. Anthony and Polish freedom fighter Lech Walesa. They tend to become great innovators and team leaders if they enter in traditional business like renowned Bill Gates.
They are excellent negotiating skills, as they always have to come out with a logical solution to slove an argument. They cannot assert the fact that they are the older neither they can get younger child privilege. They are empathetic and have good judgment of reactions so they are great manipulators. Some have been found to be very patient as well. Middles have curiosity to try new things and take risks that leads them to openness to experience.
Middle children always work harder in order to get appreciation. They seem to have lower self-esteem because they don’t get much attention from parents or any other known person. Middles mostly avoid creating or getting involved into conflicts, which may cause difficulties in their life, as they generally will not share their problems with partners or at work. They are cooperative and trusting so they find it hard to say no. This might lead to people taking advantage of them. It is also believed that empathy causes them stress; they will not be good prosecutors but they can become excellent defense lawyers. The child might get socially withdrawn from outsiders and peers because they feel that peers will neglect them in the same way like they are at home. Mixed feeling of unworthiness and loneliness makes them frustrated. The feeling of being left out may make them either socially withdrawn or they might try to lean on someone too much.
When you notice someone taking your advantage you should simply walk away from that person because you cannot always avoid conflicts.
Parents should understand that since middle child does not get much affection at home they become more dedicated to their “chosen family” i.e. friends. This should not be considered as a negative reaction towards the family life.
Middle child should understand that it is not always that their parental attention will define how well they turn out in future; they can create their future on their own.
Need for attention, middle child are mostly neglected hence they always seem to try new ways to get everyone’s attention. If parents give their undivided attention to all the children equally the child may not face psychological problems.
The best way to prevent this syndrome is its awareness. More the parents know about this more they will try to avoid the chances of their child getting it. If they see ant symptoms or traits of this syndrome in their child they should try to acknowledge and work on it.
Give them more attention. Middle child craves for attention, as they always feel unwanted. Parents should give them more time if they observe traits of this syndrome in them.