www.whyville.net Nov 13, 2011 Weekly Issue

Veteran Times Writer

Birth Order: Wee Little Middle

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"Oldest children get all the glory. Youngest children get all the attention. Where do I fit in?" This is something that middle children often think. While their personality might not be dominant, they still have very strong feelings and opinions. Last week we took a detailed look at oldest children and why they are the way you are, and this week it's going to be all about the middle children. Whether lost, lonely, outgoing, or bold, each middle child has their own personal story on why their personality formed the way it did.

Middle Children

Two of my brothers are middle children, and they are very different and original. While the majority of oldest children are alike, middle children are often mysterious and have very different personalities from each other. Below is a list of "clashing" traits that middle born children often develop over the years.

Middle children will usually be . . .

Introverted, timid, quiet OR loud, outgoing, exuberant

A peacemaker, rule abider OR rebel, longing to stand out

Easy going OR competitive, eager to excel

Laid back, insightful OR easily frustrated, impatient

Avoids confrontation and arguments OR aggressive, always wanting the last word

If you are a middle child, I encourage you to go through that list and pick out which ones pertain to you. More than likely, your personality will have traits on both of the spectrums. If there are two or more middle children in your family, your siblings will almost always have opposite personalities.

In my family, I am an oldest born nurturer. The second born in my family is one year younger than me, and male. Because of this, he has gained some leadership skills too. Since he is the oldest of his gender, he is more likely to want to have some power over the younger siblings like the oldest child (me) would.

If the second-born child in the family is a different gender, they will almost always have some resentment for the oldest child, because they want to have some power too. Oldest children often find themselves treating their second-born sibling the same as they do their youngest sibling- wanting to spoon-feed them everything they'll need to know in life.

The second-born child will often not approve of this, and will want to prove that he/she can have equal power. In my family's case, my barely younger brother doesn't do this much. He had several years to gain some youngest children traits such as wanting to be nurtured and wanting the help of oldest children. If let's say he didn't exist and after me there was just the third-born in my family, the third-born would more than likely want to rebel against my constant and unintentional strive for leading. Since he did not have as much time develop youngest child traits and did not have any time at all to develop oldest child ones either, he is sort of "stuck" in his middle child spot.

Third-borns that are middle children often have it toughest of all. These children have multiple siblings ahead of them, often consisting of a leader and somewhat rebellious middle-born, plus a rambunctious younger sibling. They will more than likely have the most trouble fitting in or feeling like they have a place in their family.

Third-born children will often develop traits such as being easily frustrated and an avoider of arguments because they do not wish to have their problems placed on other people. It is a proven fact that middle children are the least likely to go to a psychologist with their troubles, and this is because they are often more of a thinker than a doer. Middle children also find themselves in the center of whatever problems the oldest child and parents have, and whatever mischief the youngest is getting into. This makes them feel like their problems are less important than the other troubles in their family.

Out of curiosity, I asked my two middle-child brothers to select which traits from the previous list they had or felt pertained to them most.

Second-born brother, oldest male child

Introverted, timid, quiet

A peacemaker, rule abider

Competitive, eager to excel

Laid back, insightful

Aggressive, always wanting the last word

Third-born brother, in the middle of three male children

Loud, outgoing, exuberant

Rebel, longing to stand out

Competitive, eager to excel

Easily frustrated, impatient

Avoids confrontation and arguments

While both of their personalities have parts from either of the spectrums, they are nearly exact opposites.

I love the second-born in my family dearly, but he and I clash often. We both have some of the same traits such as always wanting the last word in arguments and this causes problems. He also tries to be a peacemaker, and makes me look like the bad guy to my parents. Naturally, I don't like this and will fire back a well thought up but insulting response. The never-ending feud is exhausting, and it has pulled us apart in a way. We're working through it all, but it really is hard for me to get along with someone whose personality is back and forth from aggressive to timid. I never know which side of him will be strongest. It is also hard for him to get along with me, somebody of a different gender with a completely different mindset.

He also seems to have the majority of my talents multiplied by two. I am a decent A's and B's student, but he is a straight A's student who had 6 out of 7 A+'s on his last report card. I am two grades older than him, and he is taking some of the classes I took last year right now and getting much higher marks than I did. It's so frustrating and makes me feel bad about myself. Without even realizing it I've grown a bit of a jealousy towards him that I deeply resent.

I am guilty of taking out some of my angry feelings towards him for things he doesn't necessarily strive to beat me in. We definitely have a good days together, but there are so many little kinks in our relationship. I could NEVER have a healthy romantic relationship with someone that has a similar personality to him, and the same thing goes for a romance he'll have. I could go on forever why he and I could never work as a couple, but romantic relationships and compatibility will come later in the series.

My other middle-child brother and I don't have problems really at all. In a way, we "get" each other better and have similar traits, but at the same time have opposite ones that are compatible. He has told me several times that he looks up to me, and that makes me feel good. My goal in life is to pave a decent road for my younger siblings to take. My eleven-year-old brother knows exactly what I want to hear, and I definitely see him and me becoming good friends even in our adult years.

Middle children have all different personalities, and they're definitely mysterious and interesting people to learn about. Never judge a middle born by their cover, because there is so much to them you won't understand or know about them at first. Middle-borns will have trouble fitting in and feeling appreciated, so don't forget to give them the respect they deserve and need.

Someday, they could rule the world.

But who are we kidding? We all know oldest children are meant for that :).

Author's Note: Sources: "The New Birth Order" book by: Dr. Kevin Leman


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