Being the middle child is something that has always been associated with negativity. Being constantly referred to as the middle of the oreo and often times, getting lost in the midst of the other two siblings. For me, being the only girl in between two boys had its pros and cons. While I loved both my brothers, it was easy to notice mistakes my parents made with me and things that didn’t seem fair. Each child is different which does require parents to adjust and adapt their parenting techniques after each kid. However, there are some clear disadvantages that middle children have that their other siblings don’t experience.
When you are the first born, all the attention is on you, and as the last born, you are the baby of the family and usually are able to get away with more stuff. Each one seems to have a special place except the middle position. Sometimes middle children can feel like they are simply insignificant or overlooked. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Parents usually don’t realize how their actions are affecting middle children. But, from as a middle child myself, here are 20 things we middle children wish parents did differently.
20 Didn’t Play Favorites
When parents play favorites, the kids always notice. It’s one of the most unfair parts about having siblings because parents usually don’t keep things equal all of the time. For example, my older brother was given amazing school lunches when he was younger, but by the time it got to me, my mom had decided that juice was too sugary and fruit snacks would give me cavities. I got water and carrot sticks instead. And, as a girl in elementary school, this shift in parenting seemed very unfair to me. On the other end, my little brother was able to watch ‘bad’ shows on television way earlier than I ever was. Middle children can’t help but feel like their parents play favorites with the older and younger kids.
19 Didn't Stick Her With The Hand-Me-Downs
Even though I have two brothers, my parents still managed to stick me with hand-me-downs from both of them. I was given old shorts that my older brother grew out of and shirts that my little brother didn’t like anymore. Of course, middle children who have siblings of the same gender probably have it much worse, but middle children always seem to be just the right size for used clothes. According to HuffingtonPost.com, middle children get the worst of the hand-me-downs because their siblings keep all the good stuff. If parents can save money on clothes they will, but it’s usually at the expense of the middle child.
18 Didn't Make Her Share A Room
Some siblings might actually think it’s fun to share a room. You get your best friend staying the night and having a sleepover with you every night of the week. However, sharing a room is not always fun. Especially as you grow older and want some privacy in your own home. Constantly having siblings barge in on you when you are doing homework or listening to music can get annoying fast. Unfortunately, the middle child is the one who is always stuck sharing a room. The oldest is the first one upgraded to their own room since they are “more mature” and need it. And, when the youngest comes along it simply makes sense to stick them with the second youngest child.
17 Didn't Stick Her In The Middle Of Every Fight
It’s unclear how or why middle children became the designated problem solvers of the family, but it is a common theme. According to Faze.ca, the middle children are always stuck between a rock and a hard place. For once they are not involved in a fight but since they are the middle person they can’t sit back and enjoy it either. Usually, the middle child can team up with the older sibling or the younger sibling, which gives them the perfect middle ground power. It’s not always the most fun place to be, but the middle child usually gets stuck solving their siblings' problems.
16 Didn't Make Her Grow Up Too Fast
For the first four years of my life, I was the baby of the family. I was the cute younger sibling who needed help doing everything. However, once I became an older sibling myself, that role shifted quickly. I took on the role of a second mom and my little brother became my baby doll. I would change his diapers, feed him his bottle, and keep him occupied during the day. It was all fun for me at the time, but a couple years into it, I started regretting growing up to fast. I learned independence at a very young age which is great, but as my younger sibling got older, I started regretting the fact that I was no longer the baby.
15 Let Her Get Away With Just A Little More
The first child always has it the worst when it comes to discipline and rules. New parents are overly cautious of just about everything. However, by the time the second one rolls around, parents are much more lax about germs, television shows, or even sleepovers. They start to loosen their grip which can be nice to a point. However, according to MonicaSwanson.com, this mentality can easily lead a middle child into seeking relationships outside of the family and moving further away when they get older. Since middle children often struggle with identity and belonging, too much freedom can cause them to be easily influenced by the pack.
14 Didn't Have Such Huge Age Gaps
Usually, as a middle child, you aren’t too far apart in age with your older sibling or your younger sibling. Even a three to five year age gap in either direction isn’t too bad for siblings since they can usually still play together. However, if your parents decided to have three kids, the oldest and the youngest are going to be very far apart if there are five years between each child. The oldest would be 15 and the youngest would be five.
This creates a weird position for the middle child to be in because they can’t really play with both their siblings together. They have to pick the older one or the younger activities. So, for the sake of middle children everywhere, parents should have kids closer together so that all the siblings can play together and have similar interests at the same time.
13 Didn't Constantly Compare Her To The Older Sibling
According to Today.com, it is very normal for middle children to constantly be compared to their siblings. However, they don’t just get this comparison on one end, but both. Growing up, middle children are constantly in the shadows of their older sibling. Their parents want them to get the grades that their older sibling got, play the same sports, and be as successful. If there was something that the firstborn excelled at, it is easy for parents to expect that from the middle child as well. However, being compared to the younger child may be even worse because if you act like them parents often lecture you about being older than them and how you are not the baby of the family anymore. Being the middle child is truly a tough break.
12 Didn't Give Ger The ‘Rebel’ Label
According to EliteDaily.com, the middle child is always labeled as rebellious. This may be because parents are not used to the second born being different than the first. By the time the third child comes around, parents have learned to embrace the uniqueness and accept that doing things differently isn’t rebellion. However, the middle child doesn’t get this luxury. Parents constantly accuse middle children of acting out, even when they aren’t doing anything that warrants getting in trouble. Because of this rebellion label, the middle child usually is the one getting in the most trouble because they are expected to act as a good example for the youngest.
11 Didn't Just Assume She'd Adapt
Since middle children are right in between the oldest and the youngest, it’s usually assumed that they are capable of adapting to whichever situation is needed. Instead of simply doing what they want to do, middle children are either forced to tag along with the older crowd or play babysitter for their younger sibling. While adaptability is great, constantly being a chameleon can really hinder a child’s uniqueness. According to HavingAnotherBaby.com, many parents find out the hard way that the younger child doesn’t always adapt well to becoming the middle child. Every kid is different and it’s important to treat them so despite the order they were born in.
10 Didn't Always Make Her Share Everything!
Of course, sharing is important and a wonderful thing to teach kids. However, from the time I was little I remember being stuck sharing everything with my little brother. On vacations, we’d be stuck sharing a bed. We would constantly have to share meals since our parents didn’t think either of us could finish our own, and I had to share most of my toys. My older brother was seven when my little brother was born so he was always considered old enough to have his own things. Unfortunately, Reader’s Digest explains that middle children are born into the world of sharing. From the very beginning middle children are stuck sharing time, space, and their parents’ affection with at least one other child.
9 Made Sure She Didn't Feel Ignored Or Overlooked
According to So Feminine, middle children are always ignored. With helping your younger sibling with homework and your older sibling with their life plans, you’re usually left to figure things out on your own. Constantly feeling left, ignored, or overlooked is almost always never the intention of parents. However, three kids can be a lot to handle.
Independence is usually something that middle children inherit because they have to. As a middle child, there could have been things that I needed from my parents for weeks, but they just never thought to do them for me. However, the second my younger brother walks in the door they think of all the ways they can baby him. It seems to be part of the parental wiring to take care of the youngest longer.
8 Didn't Expect The Same Kind of Success As The First
Since my older brother was naturally pretty smart, it just seemed like getting straight A’s was something that my parents expected of me in school. Of course, they were proud of me, but it got to the point that my achievements were simply expected of me because that’s the standard my brother had set for me. While living up to someone else’s success can be hard, I must admit that being the youngest doesn’t always make this easier.
While my parents definitely went easier on my younger brother and didn’t hold him to the same strict standards when it came to sports, schoolwork, and homework, he put that pressure on himself. Living in the shadows of two older siblings might actually be harder than being a middle child this time.
7 Didn't Assume That She'd Be The Same As The Older One
This point really cannot be stressed enough. Parents need to encourage each individual child in their own unique ways. Everyone is different and we are all going to take different paths in life. Comparing your children to each other is not healthy no matter what the order of birth was. According to ChildDevelopmentinfo.com, the fact that no two children are alike is emphasized. It’s important for parents to notice how their children are different and adjust accordingly for each child. A middle child is not their older sibling and they are not their younger sibling. They are their own unique self and should be treated like so.
6 Not Missing Out On The Memories
It’s no surprise that most middle children have unfinished photo albums and baby books. When parents have their first baby, everything is so new and exciting. They want to document every little thing. They probably wrote down the time of their first laugh and still have hair clippings from their first haircut. However, when the second child rolls around, their attention is literally cut in half.
Parents that are used to dedicating all of their time and energy to one human now have to divide that in half. This means that little luxuries like printing photos and writing in the baby book get postponed because diaper changes, feedings, and bathtime become more important. But, by the time parents decide to have a third child they seem to be used to the craziness. And, since they know it’s probably their last baby they want to cherish all those same milestones just like the firstborn.
5 Buying A Bigger Car!
For the sanity of every middle child on earth, please parents, invest in a bigger car. As the middle child, I was always stuck in the middle seat for every long car ride or a family vacation we took. My older brother would always claim that he was “too big” to sit next to the car seat that my little brother was in and so I would get that dreaded middle spot. As time went on, my brothers eventually found it funny to squish me around every turn. While I understand that bigger cars are expensive, they are definitely necessary for the sanity of middle children everywhere.
4 Picking Your Battles
As a middle child, you learn very quickly how important it is to pick your battles with your parents as well as your siblings. As a child, one wrong move and your older sibling might have you in a headlock. When it comes to your younger sibling, one wrong word and they’ll be in tears telling on you. According to Reader’s Digest, middle children are great negotiators though, so when it comes to dealing with their parents, middle children are able to see the big picture. They are used to seeing arguments from both sides and become very good and making a deal with their parents and at least getting something out of the battles they pick.
3 Gave Her More Attention
While most middle children are not literally neglected, they are often more mature and independent since they grew up in the middle of the pack. Because of this, middle children learn how to be independent and go their own way. While choosing your own path in life is nice, this often leads middle children to stray away from their family’s normal standards. According to TheTalko.com, middle children take on their independent role early in life. Therefore, parents are more willing to let them navigate the world on their own since it’s worked for them all this time. However, being the black sheep of the family is not always fun. It can make a middle child feel too different or left out.
2 Made Sure She Didn't Feel Lonely
Feeling lonely is very common for middle children because they don’t necessarily have a designated place in the family or a label to claim. They are not the first born. They don’t get that time of full attention and love. They are born into sharing that with their older sibling. And, they don’t get that extra love and affection that the baby of the family gets. When you’re stuck in the middle you have to forge your own path and it can be a lot to handle for many middle children.
According to HealthGuidance.org, middle children may often feel like they’re unseen which can cause them to have low self-esteem. There’s a saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This basically implies that if you’re not causing problems as a middle child, you’re not going to get attention. However, parents of middle children can compensate by truly dedicating quality time to all of their kids.
1 Having More Realistic Expectations
While most good parents will tell their kids that they can be anything they want to be in the future, middle children still seem to get the short end of the stick. Any nice parent isn’t going to shoot down their child’s dreams. However, with the firstborn, parents usually have more time to sit down and plan out their future. They can create a plan of action that is not only tangible but also inspiring. The same goes for the youngest child.
However, with the middle child, there’s this trend of parents not shooting down their child’s high expectations but also not taking the time to make them realistic. According to LifeHack.org, since middle children are known for being independent, parents usually seem to place too much trust in their middle child’s abilities to meet their goals. This can lead to disappointment in the future when middle children are faced with life challenges that they weren’t prepared for. However, there is an easy fix for this. Parents simply need to dedicate time to each child equally.
References: Huffingtonpost.com, Faze.ca, MonicaSwanson.com, Today.com, EliteDaily.com, HavingAnotherBaby.com, ReadersDigest.com, Sofeminine.co.uk, Childdevelopmentinfo.com, Thetalko.com, Healthguidance.org, Lifehack.org