Thursday, January 27, 2011

Middle Children

Interesting.....I am a middle child......I have a middle child and I see comments about middle children all the time.

It is something we don't work toward being on our own but take on this challenge (as it does appear to be a challenge) with vigor.

Besides actually being in the middle, we appear to always be in the middle of something.

We envy the oldest child as they always seem to have that special bond with their parents.  It is not that they are loved more....they just paved the way for our parents in their all important role and it does make their relationship different than ours with them. Of course when you are 2 you have no idea that is what you are in the middle of (pardon the pun) but you do know that you are different than your older sib.

We envy the youngest child as they too have a bond with Mom  and Dad as "the baby of the family".  Special privileges come with this position as you seem to have a more mellow set of parents who take life a bit easier and the youngest child reaps the benefits of this because if they do mess up it is really not such a big deal.  And again, at an early age this means trying to find many outrageous ways of getting some of that attention you are certainly due from Mom and Dad.

Clearly the oldest child always knows what they are doing and where they are going and the youngest child knows that whatever they do it will be alright because they are "the baby" but we middle children are always left wondering what our position entails.

Then, in the blink of an eye, we are parents and we see our own middle child and  it suddenly clears up a lot about the position.  Middle children need to be reassured that their position is valuable and they are not missing out on anything. They watch carefully what has happened and what is happening with their younger and older siblings and usually use this as ammunition to make us feel parental guilt.

I would suspect that their high activity at an early age really has more to do with how we are as parents than how they are as middle children.  The parents already have relaxed their ways and the middle child instinctively knows they can push the boundaries out further.  They have watched what older sib has attained and can prove to you that they can do more.....higher, faster, louder.....and the list goes on.  This happens even before we become middle children as our activity level is higher even before #3 arrives.

Then when #3 arrives "middle children" as they now have truly become have already earned their badge and now they define the true image as they have younger sib to compete with......AAAAAGHHHH!

I like to focus on all the good things we middle children hold things together.  Being in the middle is natural for us and since we are so conditioned to it we migrate to it in our work lives our social lives and pretty much in every aspect of what we are forever and ever.

So much so that at times in your life you the heck did this role happen to me....can't I get out of the middle?  Well the answer is ....Yes!  but it is hard work and you are continually egged on by those around you to lure you back into the middle.

Especially Moms love to lure you back into your role.  I actually heard my own Mother recently say to me.."You never have an opinion about anything!"  Now how ridiculous is that?  Of course I have an opinion.  I have just tried really hard to keep those opinions to myself and stay out of the middle of things.  She secretly cannot wait for my younger sibling to arrive to have a good fight with someone as I rarely take the bait.  A big disappointment to my Mom who is conditioned for  me to be the "middle child".

So stand up Middle children and have choices.....and always remember there is good and bad about our positions.

Interestingly enough the only people we have to blame in this entire situation is our parents because they really could have stopped having kids and we could have turned out to be that spoiled youngest child and who would really want that?  :)