Some children find sitting sandwiched between an older and younger sibling to be the source of much anguish. Much attention has been paid to birth order and the impact that this order may play on a child’s personality. If you find that your middle child is frequently in a depressed state, this malaise could be due at least in part to his position in the pecking order in your family.
Middle Child Syndrome
Middle child syndrome, a commonly spoken of, perhaps mythical, condition, is a real challenge for many children, reports MSNBC. Children who sit in this middle position often feel that they are not as important as the first child, yet not as doted upon as the last. This perception may make children who sit in the middle more prone to depression and sadness.
Struggle to Be Heard
Many middle children feel as if their voice gets drowned out by the louder voice of the older child within the family and the cuter voice of the family baby. This may lead the depressed middle child desperate for attention and cause her to act out in aggression or engage in negative behaviors as a method of seeking attention.
Parents may be able to reduce this depressive effect of being the middle child by making the child feel that he is still special. While you certainly think that all of your children are special, they will not know this if your behavior doesn’t show it. Try as much as possible to ensure that each child in your trio of kids has something that is distinctive to her. For example, instead of ushering all of your kids into soccer, encourage your little Picasso to engage in art activities, your track star to make running her game and your prima ballerina to put her skills to work on the dance floor.
Many middle children are left depressed because they feel that you have a favorite child — and that favorite is not them. Prevent this by putting special effort into not creating a illusion of favoritism. Try to balance your compliments evenly between your children, ensuring that it does not appear that you lavish positive attention more heavily on any one child.
Equitable Attention Division
To ensure that your middle child doesn’t feel slighted, even division of attention is necessary. If you find it difficult to ensure that you give your children near-equal attention each day, create a schedule. By posting this schedule, you can allow all children to see that they all receive the attention they desire and that they are all important, regardless of where they may fall in the birth ranks.