Did you overlook Middle Child’s Day earlier this week? Typical!
My mom tells about when I was little, and I broke her heart because I’d always go to my grandpa before her and dad, if Grandpa was around. That way my siblings and I each got an adult’s attention. Yes, I grew up the typical, complaining middle child. I was desperate for attention. I tried so hard to be special. I got grumpy when I wasn’t.
I remember racing my brother and sister in after school to tell our mom about the fire drill or assembly or whatever special thing happened that day before my sibs could. Sometimes I won, sometimes I didn’t. I probably would have fared better if I didn’t announce, “I get to tell Mom about …” as I ran to the door thus sparking competition.
It’s commonly accepted in psychology that middle children tend to be opposites of their older siblings. They believe their older sibling gets all the glory while the younger sibling escapes discipline. In general, middle children tend to be secretive, not revealing feelings. I don’t think that’s true of me at all. Everyone knows how I’m feeling, and I didn’t especially feel like my brother was more glorious or my sister less disciplined.
Middle kids tend to feel like they don’t have a special place in the family. This is definitely true for me. I think that’s why I moved across the country at age 18. I needed to find my special place.
But most true of all for me is that middle children tend to be great peacemakers. They read people well because they’ve been doing it all their lives. I think that’s a great strength of mine. For better or worse, I usually tolerate people who others don’t tolerate very long. I tend to see the best in people. I give more second chances than I probably should. I’m the one people come to for advice or to air injustices.
Growing up, I was always on the team, too. My brother and sister never teamed up against me. It was always me with one of them against the other. That’s a comfortable spot for me to be in, and I’m good at getting there. That sounds manipulative, and maybe it is.
My co-workers and I debated the pros and cons of each position in the birth order. None sounded especially cushy.