by Michelle Muller-Marinis
This particular topic is quite near and dear to my heart, as I have three boys ranging in age from 3 to 7 years old. I think I carry a certain amount of guilt when it comes to my middle son. Why? He will never have the one-on-one time with me that his siblings have had or will have. I was lucky enough to take off a year from work when my oldest was born, and I will have two solid years alone with my youngest before he departs for college one day.
How will my middle son look back and remember his childhood? Will he focus on the hand-me-down clothes or the times I couldn’t lie with him at bedtime because I was rocking his little brother to sleep? I try to ensure balance amongst the boys, but it is forever a struggle. Recently, I’ve been trying to focus on how being a middle child is a positive thing and will actually prepare my son for the real world — more so than being the oldest or youngest. Lo and behold, there are actually quite a few amazing benefits to being the middle child when you really think about it.
1. Middle kids are easy-going.
Middle children know how to go with the flow and understand that, in life, special treatment doesn’t always come your way. Sometimes I think my middle son is indecisive, but recently I’ve come to realize that he’s really just flexible. Perfect for the real world.
2. Middle kids are creative.
My oldest son attends an all-gifted school in Manhattan and has always been the overachiever. He wins chess tournaments and builds massive Star Wars Lego ships without reading the instructions when he is bored. My middle son never seemed interested in the same things as his brother. He has always been drawn to more creative ways to stand out and, in a sense, has become the artist of the family. He loves to dance, sing and play make-believe. Dancing and singing through life? I’m OK with that.
3. They are disruptors.
While middle children are certainly flexible, they often rebel at some point as a way to stand out and get some much-needed attention. This could strike fear into some parents’ hearts, but not mine. Our world is becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and a perfect place for middle children. New, successful companies are often disrupting their industries, and who better to pioneer the disruption?
4. Middle kids pick their battles — and when they do, they are killer negotiators.
Considering their flexibility, middle children know what is worth fighting for and what to drop. They will always seek justice but let trivial matters go. When it does come to a disagreement, don’t expect a middle child to take it lightly. They are acutely aware of what they can offer another person, but also realistic enough to know the world doesn’t revolve around them. So, the next time you ask them to bring their laundry to the hamper, don’t be surprised if they point out that their hand-me-down clothes are getting a little worn. They are sharp.
5. They are independent.
Spending years focusing their energy creating an environment in which they can stand out will build major life skills like self-sufficiency and awareness, allowing them to step away from the group. Paying attention to an older sibling’s mistakes also builds a resourceful middle child who is aware of the opportunities around them.
Are you a middle child? Do you have a middle child? How do you think birth order impacts a child’s life? Share below!
Photo courtesy of Michelle Muller-Marinis
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