If you’re a parent you’ve probably learnt to appreciate all your children equally for their strong suits. You might have noticed that your middle child is always the most sociable and friendly, and as it turns out, it’s not just you! Middle kids might get a bad rep for being the designated black sheep of the family who’s always being neglected, but they are oftentimes the life of the party and the one with the biggest social circle. Isn’t that amazing! Unfortunately, middle children are going extinct as fewer families opt to have more than 2 kids in recent years. This is a pity as middles are definitely the coolest out of the bunch.
Here are 3 reasons why the middle child exhibits the best social skills in the family:
1. Birth Order Shapes A Child’s Role In The Family
According to the psychotherapist, Alfred Adler, birth order plays an integral role in shaping the role of a child in the family (1). It is apparent that even though siblings share the same parents and live in the same environments, they can have drastically different personalities. If you grew up with any you probably did everything you could to differentiate for them. But why do kids do this? Children often do this to fight for the attention of their parents which is easier to do when they are the odd one out. So they stick to a certain role and obtain personality traits and characteristics that revolve around it (2).
So how does this affect each child? First-borns have the unique opportunity to choose their personality and role first, which they usually model after their parents as they look up to them. As a result they tend to be more diligent in nature and obtain more serious personality traits like intelligence, obedience and responsibility (3). This may also be because parents are often much stricter with their first born than with their other kids.
The lastborn, as we all know, gets the most amount of attention from their parents. Parents are also way more lenient with them and tend to give them whatever they want as they are the baby of the family. As a result the youngest is the relaxed, creative, and rather spoiled one of the family.
But where does this leave the middle child? Later born kids aren’t like the eldest. They don’t see their parents as role models. They often compare themselves to the kids that came before them. They usually look up to their older sibling while still trying to relate to the youngest. They are a bridge or the glue that keeps the family well bound.
2. Middle Kids Are Often Squeezed Between Their Siblings
No we don’t mean that you’re trying to make a sandwich out of your kids. This just means that they don’t have the precedence of the first child nor the care of the youngest so they have a tendency to feel left out or just stuck in the middle. Since parents aren’t as stressed out and hype focused on their second child as much as they were on the first, this can come off as a lack of attention which adversely affects the self-esteem of the middle child (3). However, it also makes them more independent and they venture outside their family to find a sense of importance and care. They don’t feel beholden to the rules and are open to new experiences and experimentation. Several studies show that they are more open-minded than their siblings (4).
3. Middle Kids Become The Center Of Attention And Have Elaborate Social Lives
Your middle child probably has more friend groups and social events than your youngest and oldest combined. Due to the fact that they don’t have the closest bond with their parents and siblings, middle children prefer to seek intimacy elsewhere. And since they are constantly stuck between a bossy older sibling and a naughty younger sibling, they get along easily with a wide range of people and are great at negotiating and mediating! They may also be entrusted with solving family drama often so they learn valuable interactional skills which enables them to become popular and well liked in social circles.
Middle kids are peer-orientated and therefore make lots of friends. They can attribute this to picking up traits like altruism, independence, open-mindedness and diplomacy. Not to mention the overwhelming need to be loved and paid attention to (5).
Although this theory has been widely spread and has gained popularity, it has also received a lot of criticism. There are too many factors that contribute to the personality and environment of children like, the gender or the age gap between the kids. Many researchers have been trying to prove this theory wrong but there are still strong contentions for there being some truth to the theory.
So, do you agree with the theory? If you’re a middle child and recognize these traits in yourself, let us know in the comments section!