Tag Archives: birth order

Is “Middle Child Syndrome” Really a Thing?


As we get closer and closer to meeting our new baby boy, I look at my other two sons and I wonder…

How is the introduction of a new baby brother going to change them? How will the dynamic of our family change?

Only time will tell, I know, but I can’t imagine there will be any drastic changes. When our second came along, he sort of just fit in with what we were already doing. There will be a learning curve of having a new baby in the house, sure, but I think that we’ll adapt to a routine that he sort of just…fits into.

But I wonder how his introduction to our family will change his brothers.

Our oldest will be a few weeks away from turning seven when the baby arrives. He’s gregarious, outspoken, dramatic, and has the most sensitive heart for people.

Our current youngest will be four in June. He’s all mischief. He’s our little “evil genius,” as we call him. He tends toward shyness in public, more so than his brother, but once he’s comfortable, he turns into the class clown.

And both of them are 100% boy. Daredevils who imagine themselves to be superheros or Ninja Turtles all the time.

So when their baby brother comes, how will they change?

I haven’t done a ton of study on birth order, but I do know a little bit. Enough to know that I’m most curious (and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit a little nervous) about my soon-to-be middle child. The one who’s full of mischief.

I wonder if he’ll spend the rest of his years suffering from “middle child syndrome.” According to this article from MSNBC, middle children spend their lives vying for attention and resentful of their siblings and parents.

But I wonder if that has as much to do with parenting style as it does with the actual birth order.

On the flip-side, this article from NPR talks about perks of being a middle child– that the lack of pressure on the child from the parent allows the child to discover their own talents and excel. They can become expert listeners and negotiators and develop keen skills in the business world.

Perhaps middle child syndrome isn’t a real thing at all.

Perhaps it is. Anyone watch this past week’s episode of Downton Abbey? Poor Edith and her horrible case of middle child syndrome. She does seem desperate for attention and resentful of her siblings. She’s also made some pretty poor choices in her life and hasn’t always been the most loving sister…

I’m the oldest child of three in my family. My husband is the oldest child of three in his family.

I suppose I ought to do an unofficial survey of our middle siblings and see what they think.

For now, I’ll leave it to you.

Share with me: What do you think about Middle Child Syndrome? As a parent or a middle child yourself, how does middle child syndrome affect that child, the family, and how can parents be better aware of it?

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