Remember Stephanie Tanner from the hit SitCom "Full House"? Remember her several issues with "always being in between!" Well, that is a glimpse (a very tiny glimpse) of middle child syndrome for you. Without a doubt, in reality the syndrome can get much worse. So, how does a parent know that their little angel is suffering from a syndrome simply because of the birth order? A lot of questions that need answering, let's take them one at a time.
Middle Child Syndrome Characteristics
What is middle child syndrome? Let's understand the basic concept of middle child syndrome. What does the term entail? What are the middle child syndrome symptoms?
- The first being that this child will neither be the oldest out of the siblings, nor the youngest. He will be in between.
- The child will not be a leader of sorts. He will prefer to follow the trends.
- The child will lack a specific focus, or drive.
- He will have very very few friends. Mingling with people won't come very easily to him.
- Relationships won't really be his forte. In fact he will try to shy away from it as far as possible. If he does get into one, it will not last long due to his lack of interest.
- He will be fairly shy. He will try to go unnoticed and stay out of the radar. Nonetheless, he will do enough to keep the ball rolling.
- He will be quite artistic and creative.
- If given direction, and a little egging, he can achieve well in the field of art and literature.
- He will hate doing monotonous work. Things should have a certain degree of novelty to catch his interest.
- He will not be able to perform under pressure, at all!!
Yes, not all is bad about the middle child syndrome. However, it is very important to make sure that it is avoided as far as possible. The positive characteristics of middle child syndrome can be seen in a middle child even if he is not suffering from MDS.
The Effects of Middle Child Syndrome
Now, before you go around thinking that every middle child has middle child syndrome, let me tell you that it is not true. Many children don't experience it, because as a part of their nature they are more accepting to different situations. However, in case a child is a victim of middle child syndrome, these are the effects that it would have on the general psyche of the child. Instead of going about in the normal point form, here are a few scenarios to help you understand middle child syndrome psychology better.
Middle Child Syndrome: Case 1
Jeremy was the middle child in the family. He had an older brother and a younger sister. He loved both his siblings dearly. He adored his parents as well. But, that was when everything was normal. However, he was not the school quarter back, his brother was. In fact, Jeremy was not interested in sports at all. He loved reading and had a flair for language. But, this parents were used to his older brother Dave, being out for practices and dates with the cheerleaders and expected the same from him. They often told him that he should participate in sports and didn't understand how he could not be interested in them. This made him resent sports even more. Whenever his parents went out, he was responsible to babysit his sister Kiera. He did not mind it in the start, but when it became a regular affair, he started vent his frustration on his sister. This created a further rift in the siblings and eventually, Jeremy was left with a feeling of being left out!
Middle Child Syndrome: Case 2
Rachel, Smith and Annabelle were siblings. Smith was the middle child. He loved his sisters and loved spending time with them. However, he often felt left out because they were girls and he was a boy. Due to such proximity with girls, Smith was very used to playing with dolls rather than cars. But, he could never let anyone know that for the fear of being ragged. His parents never really treated the three siblings differently. But due to the Middle Child Syndrome he found himself frustrated with the concept of always having to be dropped and picked up to and from school by his super hot older sister. He lost his confidence and found himself and his family giving more importance to Annabelle's teenage issues than his.
Middle Child Syndrome: Case 3
David, Jonathan and Andrew are brothers. They are adults now and Jonathan is the middle child. Jonathan has had middle child syndrome and is suffering from middle child syndrome in adulthood. As a normal victim of middle child syndrome in adults Jonathan has grown up a little distant from his brothers. Jonathan met his girlfriend in David's wedding. But, in his engagement party, he did not expect Andrew to also meet the love of his life. Jonathan felt that Andrew did it on purpose and lost all the interest in the day. Jonathan always felt that he had to try harder to get noticed. This affected his love life as well. He always thinks that he cannot ever be good enough for his parents, and pushes his fiancee in the same direction. To prove his worth, Jonathan hosts the family dinners on a weekly basis, and gets deeply hurt when someone does not show up.
As all the cases above have shown, middle child syndrome is just the child's mind over reacting and wrongly perceiving actions of the family. This makes them lose confidence and get more insecure. Read more on family relationships.
How to Prevent Middle Child Syndrome
Middle child syndrome can have a lot of negative impacts on the mindset and the lifestyle, as well as the relationships of the child. Treating can get a little tough once it goes to an extreme stage, as always, prevention is better than cure. Here are ways you can prevent middle child syndrome.
- The first step is to be aware of the syndrome. Denying it will only make things worse. Another thing you need to admit is that your child may have it. However, having MDC does not make the child mentally unstable, so, do not put the child down about that.
- Do not keep the behavior same for all the children. Children always need something unique from their parents. Something that they give no one else. So always have something unique in the way you let each child know you love them.
- If your child is showing an unusual need to be held and loved, give in to that need. Children don't always let the parents know of things that are bothering them. But, one loving hug and kiss on the head from you may help them out after all.
- Don't compare your children. It is important that parents realize that not all children are the same. They will have their differences, different strengths and different weaknesses. Acknowledge the differences and love the children for what they are individually. If you compare them, they may start developing an inferiority complex.
- Never take sides and don't play favorites. The one you shower with the favoritism may benefit, but the others will feel less loved by you. If the children are in a fight, step in and stop the fight, but don't take sides. Tell them both that it is wrong to fight and that no justification matters.
- Encourage the children to do what they want to do. Do not let them give in to peer pressure, or sibling pressure. It is important that you cheer them on when they feel low about being different about something and support them for all their choices.
- Use endearing words for children at all times. Even in your anger, do not vent it out on any of the children. If they are wrong, correct them with as much endearment as possible.
- Be patient. Children are still learning the ropes of life that you have mastered. They may take longer. So be patient and help them as much as possible. Nonetheless, let them also fall, bruise and learn their lessons on their own, to an extent.
This is a very sensitive topic and any mistakes on this front could probably affect your child's life in a negative way. Beat the poison of middle child syndrome with the elixir of love, affection and understanding. This is where I sign off!! All the best!!
Adapted from : http://www.buzzle.com/articles/middle-child-syndrome.html
PS : Therefore, parents should also pay more attention to middle child and not just always pay attention to the eldest child or the youngest child only.
BY : Lee Meau Hui