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Middle Child Syndrome

Parents often struggle to appease and satisfy the "middle child". What is the middle child? A child that is often most classically known to experience middle child syndrome is the second child out of 3 children. The middle child struggles with personal identity and feelings of being unloved when the third child comes into the picture.

They are wedged between 2 children, the oldest child is always the go-to child that parents place most responsibility and attention on only because everything that the first child does is new and novel to the parents' experience as parents. The youngest baby is the one that everyone, including the oldest child, naturally place most attention on as it is the youngest. Where does that leave the middle child... pretty much middle of nowhere...

As a middle child growing up with very severe middle child syndrome, I can relate and explain through my personal experience coupled with my experience as a counsellor...

Steps you can take to help your middle child develop better and be happier

1) Constant reassurance of love and approval - "Good job, good work, we are proud of you, very good, we love you, you are so clever, you are so amazing, you are so good at this!"

2) Don't leave him/her out of activities - sibling rivalry is a key theme of a middle child's life... always be careful to not leave him/her out of praises, preferential treatment for other children is a big no-no

Often, the emotional sensitivity of the middle child will make them act out in bad behaviour and if the parents decide to scold or punish the child for this bad behaviour, it will further reinforce the belief in the mind of the middle child that they are no longer being loved by their parents and family as before the younger sibiling(s) came along.

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