Everyone has different personalities and middos, but there is a general stereotype about middle children
In 1964, Alfred Adler developed a famous theory on the effect that birth order has on our personalities. He claimed that although children are born into the same family, their birth order can greatly influence their psychological development. In this theory, he claimed that middle children are usually even-tempered but can have trouble feeling like they “fit” anywhere because they are sandwiched between their younger and older siblings. But we middle children say that everything depends on your personal situation and the way your parents run your home!
Middle children fill many roles! We’re in the middle, obviously, but we’re also oldest of the younger kids and youngest of the older kids! Some middle children feel like they lose out because they’re not grouped with the older kids when the older kids do something, but they're not grouped with the younger kids when the younger kids do things! Other middle children love that they get to do both; they’re allowed to do what the older kids do and what the younger kids do.
“Middle Child Syndrome” refers to middle children who are bitter about being middles—they feel like they are overlooked and not given attention because the oldest gets “special treatment” and the youngest is spoiled. That makes some middles feel left out. We believe that in most frum families that doesn't really happen… we love being the center—that's the center of attention!
Some families can have more than one middle child. If you have six kids in your family, the middle two will be the middle children. That can be fun because then you have an automatic friend! Or sometimes the middle child is not really the middle, but because of the way the family is grouped—like if there are two older sisters, then a boy stuck in the middle, then a few years later three or four more sisters, that boy might feel like the middle child.
Of course, everyone has different personalities and middos, but there is a general stereotype about middle children (possibly based on Adler’s theory). The stereotype is that middle children are good “peacemakers” between people who don’t get along and can have an easier time making friends. It’s also said that we can be a little melodramatic in order to get attention. Do we think that’s true? Not really… but maybe we should ask our parents what they think!
Thanks to SF for this idea, and to LG1 & LG2
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 825)
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