Whether you're the oldest child, the baby, or smack in the middle, birth order matters. Being the center, but not the center of attention, can be an especially polarizing place in the sibling hierarchy. When middle children share their stories about what it was like growing up, middle child syndrome seems like a genuine issue.
The idea that parents treat middle children differently from their siblings ties into the belief that parents, subconsciously or deliberately, change their parenting behavior for individual kids. They might pamper or treat the youngest sibling like a baby, or allow them to get away with more. Parents might pressure the oldest child to excel, meanwhile. And they might be more easygoing with middle children, but at the same time pay less attention to them.
Middle children who share their stories on Reddit help shed light on what it's like to occupy this midway family position.
- 5192 VOTES
Nothing You Do Is New Or Exciting
From a former Redditor:
As a middle child, I definitely see myself as the black sheep, but anecdote is not evidence, so I can only speculate. The youngest often gets mollycoddled to an extent while the elder children pass milestones first. The first kid to pass his driving test is a great feat; by the time it's the middle kid's turn it's old hat.
For the youngest kid who will always be the baby, it becomes a special event again.Do you relate?
- 6186 VOTES
You Spend A Lot Of Time On Your Own
From Redditor /u/Trebreezy36:
Being too young to hang out with my brother and too old to hang out with my sister. My brother is 2 years older than me and our sister is 7 years younger than me, so I was always too old to do things with her and her friends, and when I turned 18 she was too young to do anything with me.
My brother and I are closer in age but when he turned 18 I was left on my own. He could go and do whatever he wanted and I got stuck baby-sitting our sister. That’s what sucked the most.Do you relate?
- 7190 VOTES
You're The Peacemaker
From Redditor /u/Far_From_The_Fame:
You're the family peacekeeper and you mostly just do your own independent sh*t because the oldest and youngest are the ones who always have eyes on them.Do you relate?
- 8145 VOTES
Your Complaints Are Dismissed
From Redditor /u/Tu_stultus_est:
I was middle of three, and any time I complained about anything, my parents claimed I had middle-child syndrome. It sucked.Do you relate?