Growing up as the middle child wasn’t always the best experience. As the so-called “middle child syndrome” would have us believe, I felt constantly overlooked by my parents as they showered love and attention to the eldest and the youngest much more than they did to me.
Source: Whiskey River Soap
Being the middle child meant I wasn’t old enough to do things responsibly; I couldn’t stay out with friends or be given new gadgets because I had to earn my parents’ trust before I could. On the other hand, being the middle child also meant I wasn’t young enough to be coddled; I couldn’t make my parents attend to my needs because they were always busy looking after the youngest.
I never got new stuff either; it was always hand-me-downs of the eldest, or things we were told to just share because the eldest was “going to grow out of them anyway.”
What I hated the most about being the middle child was that I was the one my parents was strictest to. They kept the closest watch on me and criticized my every movement the most. When my older sibling did things to make my parents proud, I was pressured to do it just like her. But when my older sibling failed to do so, I was pressured to succeed. I had no excuse not to succeed, really. We were expected to set an example to the youngest, after all.
You’d think I would grow up to resent my family for the treatment I received my entire childhood. But all that neglect, pressure, and frustration has made me who I am today: a strong, independent, and resilient woman.
The middle children are possibly the strongest out of all the siblings precisely because of their experiences at home. Having never been overprotected, I learned to do things on my own and to look out for my own self. I learned how to commute by myself, had to walk my own college applications, and navigate the journey to adulthood without help.
I got along with different kinds of people too. When you don’t get the same amount of care and attention you’ve wanted as a child, you tend to build plenty of friendships to feel you are loved and appreciated.
Either that, or you would have to go the extra mile in your ambitions to get noticed. I hustled to achieve the things I did in school and in my career so far just so I could brag about them to my parents and see just how proud they are of me.
Most importantly, I learned to take no B.S. from anybody. I had to work hard for so many things without getting much leeway from my parents. These experiences of mine taught me how to stand my own ground and be mentally and emotionally strong.
Although I didn’t exactly have the best time of my life as the middle child of the family, my heart is still filled with gratitude. I thank my parents for not making me feel extra special because I never had to deal with the disappointment of realizing that I’m really not. And to be honest, I didn’t need to be told so anyway; I grew up and taught myself to be special — in my own awesome way.
Are you the middle child of the family? Share your experiences with us in the comments!