Birth order in large families has been a topic of great discussion before- analyzing the different personalities that come along with the eldest, the middle and the youngest children are often relatable and allow people to reflect on their lives and sort of smile and how truly predictable birth order personalities can be.
As a middle child myself I am no stranger to statements that are made about people in my position. While the eldest tend to be the “Type A bossy pants” and the youngest tend to be…well just that, the babies of the family- relishing in their forever-cherished glory, it can be a struggle for the middle children to find their identity.
Here are some insights into the world of a middle child. These 5 attributes help us to form our identity and find a place between the spotlight of the firstborn, and the shine of the youngest.
1. You’ve been told you would stay put on a busy street corner.
Growing up, my mother always told me that as a child she could leave me on a busy street corner and come back a couple hours later and there I would be. Just hanging out observing the world around me, waiting patiently. I promise she never actually did this to me- that I can remember, but I think the point here is that the middle child stays cool, calm and collected in the face of chaos and waits patiently for the rest of the world to take them where they need to go.
2. You see bullying by an elder sibling as an exciting opportunity to hang out
A main goal for a middle child is to finally be allowed to be in the presence of elder siblings and their friends when they were hanging out. No easy feat, the middle child will take whatever action necessary to get those precious moments of feeling cool and accepted by and elder sibling. For me, it was massaging the thumbs of my older sister and her friends while they would play Nintendo 64. No joke, I became the master of thumb muscles as a 7 year old. Allowing her to dress me up as her baby doll and feed me warm milk (disgusting, don’t try it) was also part of the deal. But hey, it was all in good fun for her, so I was happy.
3. You’re birthday is important. Like really important.
For the middle child, their birthday is not just like any other birthday. It is THEIR day. The one day where even if just for a little bit the attention is taken off the strong and loud personalities of your siblings and it’s your day to put in a special request for dinner, or have your favorite dessert, simply because its yours.
4. You crave adventure.
For middle children, exploring the world around them is a process full of observations. Touching, seeing, hearing, tasting and immersing is a process so special to us because we spend so much time assessing situations and how to respond to them. The thrill of new people, new places and new experiences is an itch for us that we constantly want to scratch.
5. Most importantly, we keep the peace.
It’s not surprising that because of our calm and heightened attention to what’s going on around us, that we tend to also be the keepers of peace. A middle child has a true gift in the art of calming people down, being an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on. We get strength from other people using us for this quality and it makes us feel important.