We’ve all heard about middle child syndrome which is said to affect children in a negative way. Middle children have to compete with the accomplishments of their older siblings while vying for attention from their younger rivals. Middle children can be overlooked and may become competitive, demanding and lack self-esteem. Being the middle child isn’t all bad; middle children tend to be more flexible, independent and generous. You can avoid the negative pitfalls of raising a middle child with a few simple actions.
With your oldest having benefitted from being the only child and your youngest with the most needs, it really is easy to forget about the middle child. Ensure that you take some time out each day that is devoted solely to her. Read a story together, do homework together, chat about their day or go for coffee – just a couple of minutes a day that belong only to them will help them feel important and part of the family.
While family activities take central stage, both you and your partner should make time each month to spend with each child. Anna Charles has three children and a busy professional life so she finds it difficult to always stay in touch with what’s going on from day to day. Instead, she takes one of her children out to breakfast every Sunday morning. The kids love this special tradition and will even refuse sleep overs to ensure that they don’t miss their Sunday breakfast with mom. Once every three weeks, they get to feel special and she gets to catch up with everything that’s happening in their lives. And then of course there are pancakes!
Everything is equal all the time
It’s natural that you will have more of a rapport with one or two of your children. Children have different personalities and you are abound to have more in common with one of them. Take care to always treat the children equally and fairly. Dole out attention and affection equally among the children and never compare them to each other. Remember that each child develops at their own speed, so don’t say things like; “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “Your brother could do that when he was 12.”
Thanks to their flexibility and independence, your middle child is often called upon to referee between other siblings, but this isn’t fair. You are the one who needs to bridge the (often big) gap between the youngest and oldest siblings. Teach them ways in which to resolve their own conflicts so that the middle child isn’t continuously being called in on both sides of the argument.
Your middle child can have all the advantages that come with their birth order without any of the disadvantages if you make the effort to remain fair and impartial.