Middle Children Stereotypes Are Rampant, But Here's Why You Can Ignore Them, Princess Charlotte
Oh dear Princess Charlotte. On Monday, your entire life changed. And not just because you got a baby brother or because you waved adoringly to the press and became a full-fledged celebrity (you totally were one already) or because you made history by being the first ever British princess whose place in line for the throne can't be usurped by a younger brother. No, on Monday your life changed because you joined an elite club. A club stereotyped by people the world over who will call you Jan Brady and accuse you of having a "syndrome" and assume you're constantly bitter — Monday, you became a middle child.
Welcome. If I could pass out goody bags to all who join this special group, it would include things like a badge that says Peacemaker, a pack of tissues (because you're "the sensitive one"), a microphone so you can be heard over the bossy older sibling and the wailing baby of the family, and a big giant hug for your self confidence. Oh, and a compilation of the best Jan episodes from The Brady Bunch. (Come on. She's practically our mascot in all the worst ways.)
But don't be afraid. Being a middle child isn't a curse. There are plenty of myths and stereotypes out there when it comes to being the middle of your siblings courtesy of "experts" and "studies." (As if studies on children can solely be taken at face value like we're all little robots.) In an article in Psychology Today, Katrin Schumann, co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children, noted that a certain Stanford University study really propelled the myth of "middle child syndrome." Apparently that study found that middle children are considered the most envious, the least bold, and least talkative of all the birth orders.
We're team players, yet we're independent, and we learn to take care of things on our own.
Girl, I saw you waving at the press with all the confidence in the world — I know you're not the "least" bold in your family.
And how could you be when, as a middle child, you're destined to be a leader? In the same Psychology Today article, Schumann noted that middle children tend to be more cooperative and trusting in their friendships. We aren't resentful or bitter — we're team players, yet we're independent, and we learn to take care of things on our own. It makes sense that parents can be more concerned emotionally with their older children and their babies, but all that does is give you a leg up — you're empathetic, you think outside of the box, and you don't conform to societal standards, according to Schumann.
That's not to say your parents don't adore you — they do. Middle babies seem to have a sweetness about them. While the youngest can be more exhausting and needy and the older can require more attention as they hit milestones your parents haven't been through before, the middle child tends to be the sweet spot. Your parents know you're OK. They know what to expect (for the most part) and they get to spend most of their time just soaking you up and loving you for who you are — the perfect filling in the lineup.
There is nothing better than having someone older than you and someone younger than you to be your best friends in life.
I mean, look at you here. Your mama in sweet yellow and you, all in delicate baby white, with no idea that one day your mom is going to leave the Lindo Wing with a third baby, pushing you into a new (and the best) role as middle child.
And you know what's even sweeter? Getting to have an older and a younger sibling. I have an older sister and a younger brother, and when I tell you there is nothing better than having someone older than you and someone younger than you to be your best friends in life, I mean it.
George is going to teach you all the things he's learned. He's going to be your guide and help you get through the hard parts of growing up. He's going to give you a head's up when your parents are being crabby, and he's going to advise you on the best ways to sneak out of the palace. (Maybe don't try that last one.)
Your little brother is going to be the one that you get to impart your wisdom to. He's going to be your little partner in crime, the baby of the family, the one you'll feel fiercely protective of and do anything to help.
Together, the three of you are going to be a team. And you, as the middle, are probably going to be the peacemaker. If you're anything like me and the dozens of other middle children I know, you're going to be the people pleaser, too. You just want everyone to get along and you just want there to be harmony between the three of you. But that's where those leadership skills come in. Like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, you're going to listen to people, you're going to be empathetic, and you're going to trust in yourself.
And on the days where George and the baby gang up on you, you're going to know exactly how to deal with it — with grace, with patience, and with a good slam of the door and a "BOYS OUT" sign. (Trust me on this one. It works.)