Thursday, October 2, 2014

MIDDLE CHILD SYNDROME, FACT OR MYTH?


I often hear people say there is a, "Middle Child Syndrome." Saying the term out loud is often accompanied by an eye roll or shaking of the head. It is said that a child that falls in between other siblings in an odd numbered set of children, is the middle child, and this child displays specific different behaviors due to his or her placement. Many people will laugh at this saying, "being the oldest is the toughest" or "being the youngest is by far the worst." Well today I will see if this so called, "Middle Child Syndrome" exists or not. As a middle child myself out of 3, I am the perfect person to do this study as I will not be bias in anyway, as middle children are never biased towards being middle children.

It has been said that second place is first place loser. As a middle child you were at one time the youngest but you were NEVER the oldest. Coming in second after the original child is a tough spot to be in, after all, we didn't pick that slot and we sure couldn't do anything ourselves to change the order. Yet we have to spend our lives being the NEXT child, the remake, not the original. We don't get all the hype and glamour as the first child did for their pregnancy. The excitement is there yes but it is nothing compared to the excitement of the news of the first born. In fact, "First Born" is a term, have you ever heard anyone say, "That's so expensive they want your middle child!" Of course you haven't, I suppose our value just isn't as high or important as the first born jerks in this world. I apologize for saying jerks, they also didn't pick the order to be born in........not that you could tell if you've ever spoken to a first born child, but nevertheless, I will say they don't complain about the order as much as the baby of the family. Again, people will yell at this point and say we middle children complain the most and how dare I say otherwise? Well, true, we sure do complain the most but FOR GOOD REASON! Let's discuss the differences between those who came sliding out first, last, and somewhere in the middle.

FIRST BORN
How convenient for you. The special treatment you guys get is just ridiculously unfair. I will list all of the common complaints you people whine about and then I will promptly debunk all of them. You love to say how you were mom and dad's "guinea pigs" well that's a nice way of putting it but don't dumb it down like that, the second child has it ten times worse because our parents do a complete 180 with us after they've screwed you up! Even the good stuff gets turned around! They let you out until midnight, you screw that up so we had to be home by 10! Guinea pigs? If that's what you call a mother and father's pride and joy and just trying to do the very best at raising you. Also moms and dads are the LEAST burned out when they have you. The second we middle children are born they both sigh and say, "Here we go again!"

The Eldest loves to say they had the most responsibilities. Oh did you? That was  a bad thing was it? Do you know what the people who have the most responsibilities in the real world are called?? THE BOSS. You got to treat us like slaves and we were FORCED, against our will, to listen to you and do what you say. And the whole time, as we stood in your shadow, we admired and idolized you. Did you care or show appreciation for that admiration? No, you just laughed at us with your friends and looked down at us and tortured us and made us your slaves because you were bigger than us, you were smarter than us, and damnit you had the power handed to you to do so.

 I'll also point out how if it ever came down to our word verses your word, mom and dad ALWAYS picked the older child because they are older and MUST be telling the truth. How did the lamp get broken? Let's ask our suspicious first born child, they would never lie to get out of anything! Parents you suckers, do you realize how many times a punishment was given out to a child that didn't deserve it? The few times you were caught you pouted worst of all, acting like it was so undeserving and so unfair. You avoided many spankings because YOU told mom and dad we did it!!! Also, how did those clothes fit and feel for you guys? Nice? They should have, they were BRAND NEW. Wish we middle children knew what that was like considering all we got were your hand-me-downs. Good thing we wanted to dress like you because once you were done with those filthy rags, we were wearing them!

Face it, you had the newest clothes and toys. You had the latest bed time. You had the biggest room. You crawled out of your big kid bed every morning to go off and do what you pleased as we stood there stuck in our cribs like caged animals. You never wore a hand-me-down in your life and you got to do EVERYTHING first. You never got pushed around by your siblings and you got the power, YOU WERE THIRD IN COMMAND BEHIND MOM AND DAD for crying out loud! You had it wonderful and you STILL complain! I didn't even have a baby book made for me, but my older sister sure did! You were the first. First place. How is first place ever a bad place to be? In some countries the first born child is the most important thing in a family's life, not the middle child, the first born.

As you stole our toys we stole your thunder didn't we....the new kid in town and down the hall getting all the attention and presents and love showered down on us. It was great, I'm not going to lie, being the baby DEFINATELY has its perks, we were newer, cuter, and more relevant but you couldn't take sharing the spotlight and you spent your childhood resenting us. Everyday you'd get a little revenge on us, by picking on us, making us feel stupid, making us do something we didn't want to do, beating us up and why? All because we were born after you. Sounds like a jerk to me! If you first born kids were jerks there was one trick you couldn't pull that only a true master could, being a cry baby....

THE BABY
Fitting name for you group of whiny little brats. I admit that the babies do complain the most about their spot in the family but unjustifiably I have to say. Don't forget babies, we middle children were the babies at one point too, we know exactly what it was like and I think I speak for all of us middle children when I say, IT WASN'T SO BAD!

The youngest, the cutest, the smallest, the last child. Our parents held a very special place in their hearts for you. Ever hear a parent say, "They are special because we knew we wouldn't have anymore." Of course you have but you know what you never heard a parent say? "We plan to have more, so this one isn't that special." Sure they never said that but they didn't have to.....a middle child already knows.

We literally watch as our baby title is stripped from us and given to you. I suppose we can relate to the older child for the first time. Unfortunately for us, the older child is a seasoned veteran by this time and it doesn't phase them as much as it does us. Anyone console us about no longer being the baby? Nope. We get told we are now going to a big sister or big brother and that sounds great to us because we know what that comes with! But wait no, it comes with all the negatives and none of the positives. Not surprising considering the life we lead, or should I say follow because we never got to lead.

What are your biggest complaints? Don't try to say hand-me-down clothes,  you know damn well that by the third round those clothes wouldn't cut it so you got everything brand new, just like the eldest child. Speaking of them and their hatred for us youngers, they hated you less because after so long of being angry and resentful towards the middle child for taking their thunder, they let it go and could enjoy you as a sibling. Older kids also had something that we didn't when the third kid comes along, maturity. That maturity helps their hatred of a younger sibling grow less bright. The middle child, on the other hand, is left to just deal with it.

Mom and dad always believed you over the older middle child. For whatever crazy phenomenon, parents will look at the middle child and say, "You should have known better." Odd that it was turned around on us with our older sibling, but not in this case! Before you were born they used to say, "The older child knows better and must be telling us the truth, so you're getting a spanking." The baby is always right. The baby always gets what it wants and they KNOW IT. They love to complain and say mom and dad make it so tough on them because of the first two, but we all know that just isn't true. The truth is your parents are so tired of trying to be good parents by the third child, that they let you do whatever the hell you want! The baby definitely has it the easiest. No responsibilities, no worries, and no cares. You sit at home as we go to school, you play with your toys when we are forced to do homework. You learn from the mistakes of the older two and you use that as a weapon to get what you want saying, "Mom and dad, I'm not them, I won't do what they did, I saw what it was like!" Freedom is what you gain. You also have two examples to learn from and are by far the smartest, craftiest, and sneakiest child mom and dad has because of it.

The baby. Always protected, always right, the last one and crowning achievement of our parents. So special because you mark the end of an era. You also signify the end of a long slave-like labor our parents have been enduring but once you're 18, that all ends, and you remind them of that everyday when they look at you, which makes them happy. You also love to say how mom and dad stopped having kids after you because they finally got it right after 2 failed attempts. Sometimes you're bigger jerks than the first born siblings! And can you stop with the fake crying??? Mom and dad fell for that every single time.

THE OVERLOOKED MIDDLE CHILD (notice no bold or underline for ours)
So what do we get? Let's review shall we? We don't get anything brand new. We don't get to stay up late because that is based on age and the older child gets to stay up later than we do, and the baby doesn't have to get up early plus they take naps during the day so their bedtime is later. I literally laid awake in my bed at night staring at the ceiling trying to figure out how the hell I was the only one in bed while the rest of the family was downstairs. (true story) We aren't old enough to do fun things but we are old enough to know better leaving us in the perfect spot to get in trouble. We are never the first to do anything. Mom and dad try to correct all their mistakes they made on our older sibling so they really crack the whip with us, but by the time they get to the baby they've given up and let them do whatever they want. Being the first born child is an honor and a title. Being the baby is a privilege and a title. What title do we get? The title of complainer??? Do you see why yet?

IN CONCLUSION
I will say that having siblings is great and I wouldn't trade it for the world. The middle children are also the most understanding and compassionate out of the 3. I know there are still some first borns and babies out there that will disagree with these findings and refuse to say we had it the worst but go ahead and be like that, prove us middle children right for the 1,000,000th time. First borns can't say they know what its like to be anything other than the first born. Babies can't say they know what it's like to be anything other than the youngest. BUT.....a middle child can!

Unfortunately my findings fall short for one simple reason....I get to go through life as a big brother and a little brother and THAT is one thing the other two can never say. So here's to me and the other middle children out there. Surely there is a Middle Child Syndrome but it isn't disease, it's a learned behavior.


3 comments:

Tamshaw said...

You are hilarious! Seriously,and sincerely said ~ but your accurately spoken article has been the tipping point in my mental decline. This is especially true regarding my life long question,'Who the "Dickens" LIVES like this?!!? '
Among many other weird occurrences in my life, I have been youngest,next to youngest, middle, only,and eldest. All before becoming throw away and emancipated finally, so then,an actual adult child at fifteen. I''ve been a little screwed up, but it's funny and wisdom producing eventually, and what you've written put a new,laugh out loud (for real) experience. Thank you so much! You have a new fan,and I will be reading what you've shared.
Tamshaw

Andrew said...

Well thank you very much for the kind words and glad you enjoyed it!

Talya Morriss said...

Well, that was entertaining and as a middle child I would have to agree with MOST everything you said.
There are catches though, you called yourself unbiased, when that clearly isn't true. And, I'm certain there are more downfalls to being the oldest and being the youngest of three than you listed.
As the oldest my sister was expected to set a good example, so if she got in trouble, she got in trouble twice, they gave up on that when my brother was born, so they expected no such thing from me. My sister was expected to baby sit and help out with us no matter what her feelings about it may have been, and that obviously never fell to me because she was the oldest so clearly to most responsible. The only possible downside I can think to add for the baby is that he had two old sisters. We did pick on him sometimes, which probably sucked, but overall we thought he was just the coolest thing since sliced bread, so even when he was picked on it didn't even compare to how the eldest treats the middle child. Those hand me downs did suck though! My sister was into that whole punk/emo/goth thing and I was a lot smaller but only a year younger than her. So my clothes were about three years old, baggy, and overall just ugly by the time they fit.