Do Middle Children Get A Bad Rap?

Do middle children get a bad rap? And do they really get ignored in the hustle and bustle of everyday life?

When we think of middle children, we think of children who fight for attention and are always in the background watching everyone else excel. And yet, celebrities like Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Madonna, John F. Kennedy, Susan B. Anthony, Peyton Manning, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were all middle children, and they have all excelled with their talents. One statistic shows that 52 percent of all of our presidents have all been middle children. Amazing, right? So, have middle children gotten a bad rap? Maybe.

In the 1980s, Elizabeth Walker came up with the idea to grant middle children their own day. Her intention was to give middle children a day that they could feel important — their own day. She originally set the day for the second Saturday of August, but eventually it was changed to August 12.

Researchers have said for years that the birth order of children can shape their personalities and yet, there is evidence that contradicts that claim.

Katrin Schumann, a journalist, teacher, and mother of three, born in Germany wrote a book called, The Secret Power of Middle Children Her findings in the book state that middle children are extremely social, are great team players, and have strong leadership skills.

“Although middles are neglected, both by parents and researchers, they actually benefit from this in the long run. They become more independent, think outside the box, feel less pressure to conform, and are more empathetic. This gives them great skills as employees and also makes them excellent team players and partners.”

Mike Doria, a column writer, says he was a middle child and there are some facts everyone should know about middle children: Middle children pay attention to details, they are driven to be successful, they get annoyed easily but are good at finding alternate ways to solve a problem, they’re good at reading people, they’re not great at making decisions, they hate to be told “no,” are masters at negotiating, they’re very truthful, they tend to be creative, and they’re very giving and open-minded.

Alan E. Stewart from the University of Georgia did a study on the birth order of children, and his findings were pretty typical of most studies. He found that oldest children felt like they had to take on a leadership role and help take care of the responsibilities in the family. The younger child ended up being taken care of by his/her older siblings, and they ended up expecting everyone to cater to them as an adult. The middle child ended up developing the strongest and most independent personality of the three, basically because he had too. He had to fight to be noticed, so he did.

And yet, psychologists still disagree on how birth order affects us. To me, the middle child doesn’t seem to fare too bad. Do you agree?

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