What middle children need

February 10, 2015

A lovely blog article from an American blog written by a mother of four boys on middle children. Take note Mrs G. soon to have three!


Details of the 7 ways to help middle children, as taken from the blog post above, listed below.  Number 4: Buy them decent clothes!

Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who falls into the trap of handing down to my middle boy and then buying new for my number three. All too often I get sucked into thinking, "he's my last one so I'll let myself be a bit indulgent," as we navigate out of pre-school territory and into the land of three full time school-goers.

1.  Unconditional Love and Attention

Middles usually feel compared to their  (typically over-achieving) older, and (often attention-seeking)younger siblings.  Giving them your time and focused attention without any expectations is really important.  They need to know that they are loved simply because they are.

2.  A Listening Ear

Middle children are known to feel overlooked and ignored.  Over time they often learn to just step back and let the older and younger sibling get all of the attention.  Setting aside time to just listen to your middle child will meet them in a very special way.

3.  Standards/Expectations

If you have a more typical first-born, chances are that they have proven very capable.  It is easy to let them own  this role, while the middle and younger kids ride on the benefits.  Don’t do it!  Make sure that you are teaching that middle child to do just as much work and contribute to the home as much as the first born has done.  (It may be different tasks or roles, but make sure they do something!)  This will communicate to your middle that he or she is not only a part of the family, but that the family actually depends on them.  It will also help your middle child to grow up managing responsibilities well, which is a character trait sometimes lacking in the more free-spirited middle child.

4.  Some decent clothes!

Middle children are typically the hand-me-down kids of the family.  It goes like this;  First borns take good care of things, so we think it only logical that the next in line gets them:  But, by the time the second born has worn them, they’re too worn out for the spoiled fortunate baby of the family, who then gets to start afresh with brand new clothes.    There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs–I’m a big fan.  However, taking that middle child shopping for some of his or her very own (new!) clothes now and then is a really good idea.

5.  Options

If you do take that middle shopping, let them choose their own clothes.  In fact, let them choose as many things as possible!   Let them choose what movie the family will watch, what restaurant to go to, or any little thing possible.  Middles need to know they have a voice.

 6.  Help Finding Good Friends/Direction in Life

If middles are going to find friends and work away from the family, then we are wise to offer plenty of counsel while they’re around.  Talk to them often about friends, school, and job choices.   Give loving counsel about their future careers.  They will appreciate your interest in their life, and who knows–maybe they’ll feel so loved they’ll stick around after all! :)

7.  Communication

Even in the healthiest family setting, a middle child will at some point wrestle with the role of being sandwiched in the middle.  Talk about it!  Personally, I talk openly to my middle son about his position, both light-heartedly, and more seriously.  I tell him that I understand it is a tough position sometimes, but I also remind him of the benefits.   Talking openly  may allow the middles to understand their own feelings better, and to respond to those feelings wisely.


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