Friday, January 14, 2011

Middle Child Syndrome

One huge factor for me when I consider a 3rd child is this issue of Middle Child Syndrome.

What is Middle Child Syndrome?

Middle child is the second born child in a family of more than two children. As much as our parents impact the shaping of our over-all personality, so do our siblings. Sometimes, the middle child suffers from a lack of belonging and constantly strives to get his/her parent’s attention. There is a feeling of insecurity in the middle child, because he/she feels ignored between the eldest and youngest sibling and this is called the Middle Child Syndrome.

Symptoms Of Middle Child Syndrome

1. Lack Of Belonging
The middle child may not feel a sense of belonging to the family in the same way as other children. He/she struggles to be close to the family because of feeling ignored and ‘unwanted’. Sometimes, the middle child also feels sandwiched between the other siblings. It is important as a parent, to not let such feelings overcome their middle child.

2. Low Self-Esteem
Since a middle child feels that he/she is basically unwanted, he/she may have a very low self-esteem. There is nothing worse than to feel not needed and it can badly affect even an adult. For a child, it has a serious bearing on his/her overall development. Such a child will continue to suffer from a lack of self-belief on growing up. A middle child’s confidence may be shaky due to the feeling of being overlooked upon, by his/her parents.

3. Reclusion
It is, usually, seen that a child suffering from middle child syndrome is not too extrovert or social. There is a tendency among such children to become loners in life. They feel like an outsider in the family and therefore, become a recluse in other areas of life as well. Such a child believes in spending time with him/her self rather than others, because he/she feels uncared for. And so, he/she tries to create a world of his/her own and lean on his/her own self for support.

4. No Sense Of Direction
The children suffering from middle child syndrome also lack a sense of direction. There is certain disillusionment among them and they struggle to find the real direction of their life. They are not comfortable confiding in their parents, not even in their brothers or sisters. This is not to say that all middle children turn out to be failures in their life. Only those suffering from this syndrome have a tendency to lack any direction in life.

5. Trust Issues
A middle child, on feeling ignored and un-loved, may have trust issues. As a child, we first lean to trust and completely rely on our parents, but a middle child fails to do that and consequentially, faces such issues. Such a child has difficulty in opening up and confiding in anyone. However, not every child suffering from middle child syndrome has a distrusting attitude. Sometimes, such a child is pining to trust and lean on someone.

I have seen many model parents around who did very well raising up their children. They gave everything they can to the kids, in terms of love, trust, care, etc. I have even seen parents buying identical toys to all their children just so that there is no favouritism and no strife among the children. But still the Middle Child Syndrome is inevitable. I think the focus here is whether can we prevent or avoid this Middle Child Syndrome, but rather how can we deal with it and help the child to progress.

Even with 2 kids now, I can sometimes see the rivalry among them. Jayne will so easily fall into the role of a follower behind Joey. Of course now that they are still young, 5 years and 2 years coming. But I feel as parents we should take note of the development of our children all the time especially when they are tender. People say kids nowadays are just like sponge, absorbing everything, good or bad.

Anyone can share with me your experience? Especially those who has more than 2 kids. Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. been meaning to comment on this. Sorry its taken me so long.

    our middle child was special in that she's sandwiched between two guys. I think God had it planned that way. She's gotten I'd say about the same attention just because she's a girl. Definitely lots more prezzies from aunts and grandparents... you know those cute things that just can't be resisted... *grin*

    having said that, with #3 coming so close after her (18mths), I did/do feel that in the early years, she didn't get enuh attention from me. Yes, its something I consider I totally failed at but am making the effort to do more things alone with her.

    we are aware of family positioning issues and are working against that type of categorisation.

    Have you read The New Birth Order book? I found that really insightful both on a personal level as well as when dealing with my kids.