Is middle child syndrome a thing?

Have you ever wondered why you are different from your siblings? Why sometimes you would feel like your eldest sibling is more composed and outspoken than you are, or your youngest sibling is the most carefree and does not bother about anything until the time comes? Unlike you who are always extra anxious for new things, easily annoyed, and feeling less important, you can’t help but wonder whether the birth order actually affects the shaping of the child’s personality.

One of the good things about staying at home often these past 2 years (almost and hopefully will end soon), is being able to spend time with your family. Yes, you definitely have to juggle between work, school, and helping out your family, but it’s not too bad since you still have big moral support by your side. Not to forget, staying at home also means spending A LOT of time with your siblings. You’ll probably feel like getting to know them again, now that you’re stuck with them 24/7. You get to observe them doing their work (and probably getting angry and annoyed almost every day), going for online classes (losing focus after 15 minutes), and getting hungry all the time.

Seeing the differing personalities between you and your siblings (as in why you are easily stressed whenever you face a conflict about work but your elder siblings handle theirs like a pro), may then make you wonder AGAIN about how birth order affects one’s personality. Does it though? As a middle child and knowing some with the same birth order, I somehow noticed that the middle child is quite different compared to the other siblings and can’t stop wondering if it is actually a thing. They sometimes feel that they receive less attention and are misunderstood.

Alfred Adler, an Austrian medical doctor, and psychotherapist had developed an interesting theory back in 1964. He mentioned that although the children are born in the same household, their psychological development may be significantly impacted by their birth order. The highlight of his theory is that each child has some personal characteristics and traits associated with them depending on their birth order. According to his theory, the firstborn is more strict in adhering to authority and empowered due to the high expectations from the parents, while the youngest is more carefree and often pampered. The middle child on the other hand is often associated with being even-tempered with trouble fitting in.

As years passed, more researches have been done relating this theory to further understand the relationship between birth order and one’s psychological development. Turns out, some of the results were conflicting with the claim made by Adler. Therefore to some extent, middle child syndrome is real and there is a relation between the birth order and the way their personality is shaped.

Would like to read further on this topic? You can head to this parenting page here to know more about the commonly associated behaviors of middle child syndrome and the tips on handling them.


Mira Rhyme is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Mira Rhyme
Author: Mira Rhyme

27 years old yet still discovering my interests and passion 🙂