Middle Child Syndrome

Middle child syndrome

When you are considering having children, or having more children, do you ever worry that the order you have your children will impact them for the rest of their life? The answer is more than likely no. But it has been shown that the order your children are born in can have an effect on them hence the term middle child syndrome.

Research has shown that the younger child will always be seen as the baby who will always be looked after and spoilt. The older child will always be favourited and seen as the golden child whereas the middle child has always been seen as the difficult child who finds it difficult to find their position in the family. This in turn can lead to disruptive behaviour in search for attention and love. This can result in the child becoming very isolated and sad which in turn can result in them seeking joy in more risk taking behaviours such as substance misuse and criminal activity.

But why are not all middle children problematic? Research has shown that if the middle child is on the opposing sex to the older and younger child they are treated differently (i.e- if the youngest and oldest children are boys and the middle child is a girl). However it is important to note that research has shown that individuals who suffer the middle child syndrome are more prone to mental health such as depression.

So what can you do to prevent the middle child syndrome from happening?

1) Make sure you spend equal time with each child to make them know they are special and unique.

2) Treat all your children the same (i.e – if one child receives an expensive give for his/her 18th birthday make sure the other children receive the same).

3) Make sure you always listen and acknowledge all your children’s views, especially the middle child.

4) If you notice any issues be sure to discuss them with your child and find ways to help them and support them.

5) If you feel that the middle child syndrome is happening seek help from a counsellor or therapist who can help you.