Middle Kids Make Better Social Navigators

Image source: S. Bielanko Private
Image source: S. Bielanko Private


A recent article in Psychology Today, The Secret Powers of Middle Children, makes some riveting points about sons and daughters who live their lives sandwiched between other siblings.

According to the piece, middle children “… become more independent, think outside the box, feel less pressure to conform, and are more empathetic.”

If you happen to be like me, and have a very cool and uniquely interesting middle kid like my Henry happens to be, you probably agree with that statement as much as I do!

But wait, there’s more:

“Middles are more oriented to principles and concepts, like justice, over earning power or prestige,” the article continues,”They are trailblazers … They are focused on fairness; they perceive injustice in their family and are attuned to the needs of others as they grow up.”

This fantastic piece of writing literally had my jaw dropping as I carefully took each little insight that it offered  about middle kids and compared them to my own middle, Henry.

So much of it made sense.

Which proves my long-standing theory that middle kids have secret powers!

The article also offers up the notion that middle children learn to be very good at dealing with other people, which — let’s face it — is a trait we could use more of in this world. And when you think about it, it makes a ton of sense given their circumstances.

As the article points out, “This gives them great skills as employees and also makes them excellent team players and partners.”

I kind of love that.

Henry’s actions to younger brother Charlie and older sister Violet prove all of this to me over and over in our family dynamics. I see him navigating complex scenarios constantly, with aplomb. He makes judgement calls on the fly, often knowing that it’s sometimes better to fulfill his younger brother’s ridiculous needs than deal with the fall-out.

And he does the same thing when it comes to his older sister’s place in the pecking order. When I see him simply walk away from Violet even when he really wants her to play with him, this is street smarts, plain and simple. And I think that’s something else that middle children tend to be good at.

Often he even knows how to get what he wants in the end. For example, the moment he gives up on begging Violet to play with him and starts walking away … BOOM. She will pop up and announces that she is ready to resume their game.

I stand in awe as I watch a sly smile flash across Henry’s lips.

Like I said, middle kids are magic.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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