The middle child
Middle children are the most likely in their families to feel as though they’re getting shortchanged. Since the novelty of having a baby and the reality of family life has usually set in by the time the second child comes along, many middle children feel as though they spend their lives in their older siblings’ shadows. By the time they lose their first tooth or learn to ride a bike, it’s already been done by their big brother or sister and therefore loses some of its excitement (at least in the child’s eyes). As a result, “Middle children often want to do everything the exact opposite of their older sibling to form their individual identity. Since older children tend to excel academically, many middle children lean toward creative activities and excel in areas such as art and music,” says Susan Bartell, PsyD.
Middle children are commonly great negotiators and peacemakers and have more laid-back personalities than older children in part because their parents are likely more laid-back themselves the second time around, since they’re more experienced and comfortable with their roles as mom and dad. Middle children can often be very social and diplomatic as children and adults.
Being a middle child is considered by some the toughest position in the family. Bartell points out, “Middle children are literally stuck in the middle; they’re not the leader or the baby so they can really struggle to find their own identity.” As a result, some middle children can be overly attention-seeking.
Many middles grow up to become artists, musicians and actors; they might also take on positions that put their diplomatic skills to good use, but typically in areas with a more compassionate focus than those chosen by their older siblings.