Many middle children have had a hard time growing up.

Our families might have made us feel neglected, misunderstood, and underestimated. Some might feel their birth order is a disadvantage, since middle children often receive less attention than younger and older siblings and more hand-me-downs.

As a result, the effects of this imbalance may lead to some withdrawn and resentful adults who lack confidence.

Research has shown that middle children are far more likely to become outsiders with less success or happiness than their brothers and sisters.

As part of my coaching, I ask my clients’ birth order, and without a doubt, those who are middle children all seem to declare a feeling of abandonment by their parents, but much of this indignation is misplaced.

Further research has revealed that the stereotype doesn’t always correspond to reality. 

Far from this doom and gloom outcome, middle children are more likely than their siblings to be successful and enjoy strong social lives with flourishing careers. Apparently, the disadvantages endured during childhood and adolescence, turn out to be beneficial, in many cases giving middle children the attributes of empathy, independence, articulacy and creativity. 

Did you know about 52% of the world leaders are middle children? 

Take a look at these characteristics below and ask yourself they are reflected in the middle children you know.

- outside of the box thinkers

- take moderate risks

- strong personalities

- natural born leaders

- ability to negotiate

- great communicators

- gift for friendship

- strong sense of justice

- coolness under pressure

- strong empathy towards others

If you happen to be a middle child, take note, we all need to work on our eagerness to please others which stems from the lack of attention from our younger years. 

Birth order has been proven to be as important and crucial as genetic influences. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on the benefits of being a ‘middle’, people get stuck on all the negatives and never move the needle. 



The sense of indifference from parents and isolation that ‘middles’ feel as children can actually serve them well in later life. The trials they go through, such as having to speak up to ensure they are not ignored, are good preparation for adulthood.

Research has also shown, middle children tend to have high degrees of patience, perhaps because they spend so much of their time in childhood waiting their turn.

They have to bide their time and wait while the first-born or the last born get enough attention before they can get a hug or an acknowledgement. So, ‘middles’ learn the art of delayed gratification, one of the true measures of civilized behavior.

The art of compromise is also high on their list. Less egocentric than the pioneering eldest or the coddled youngest, ‘middles’ generally have a high degree of empathy, loyalty and the ability to see other people’s point of view.

An attachment to fairness is one of the most striking features of middle children.

That is perhaps why so many of the more ambitious of them become reforming politicians or agents for social change — because they are determined to confront injustice.

Along with fairness, middles can also be robustly independent, partly as a result of having to strive to find their own niche within the family structure.

They are often infused with a freedom of spirit, a desire to break with conformity, which is why they can be so successful and creative in anything they undertake. So, there is no need for despondency or resentment among middle children. Their position, with its road to independence, has perhaps put them in the luckiest position of all.

Be kind to a ‘middle’ today, they may just help you change your world.

You don’t need to figure it out on your own.

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