Bruce Hopman, an advertising executive and middle child, is reported as the creator of National Middle Child Day, celebrated on Aug. 12 each year. Some sites, including HolidayInsights.com credit the day’s creation to an unknown middle child.
Whatever the reason, as one of our family’s middle children, I couldn’t let this day pass by unnoticed. Middle children don’t enjoy the privileges of the oldest child and don’t enjoy the spoiling that the youngest child may experence in a family.
In large families, the perks of being a middle child are few and far between. Middle kids in big families may never have a bedroom to themselves, a new bike, new clothes or a car to drive.
But, despite being overlooked at times, middle children are often the peacemakers of the family. Most middle kids have a smile on their faces and see the world as a mostly happy place.
The middle child in smaller families may always seem to be striving to keep up with the oldest child while trying to keep the youngest child from getting ahead.
Some of the stereotypes about middle children and “Middle Child Syndrome” include feeling neglected and resentful, having a negative outlook on life, feeling like they don’t belong and having no drive.
A Stanford University study showed that middle children are considered the most envious, least bold and least talkative of all the birth orders. Psychologist Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann debunk many of these myths in their book, “The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities,” available from Amazon.
You might not know it, but middle children are very social, great team players and successful leader. More than half of our country’s presidents were middle kids, including Abraham Lincoln.
Middle kids are known to trust others and to avoid conflict, wanting everyone to get along at all costs. Because of these traits, middle kids are often taken advantage of by others. Middle kids also look for injustices in the world in their quest for equality for all.
Some say that middle kids suffer from low self-esteem and that may be true. Without the spotlight that often shines on the oldest and youngest kids in the family, middle kids may have to look within to find their sense of self-worth.
When middle kids grow up to be parents, they are often permissive, wanting their children to be free to make choices, according to a study done for Salmon and Schumann’s book.
You’ll find a collection of funny images for National Middle Child Day if you do a google search, including an eCard saying, “Sorry we can’t be with you on Middle Child’s Day. We’re having dinner with your brother and sister.”
It’s not easy to find gifts celebrating the middle child so I was pretty excited to find a Christmas ornament with, “Middle Child, Mom’s Favorite” on it. Of course, the ornament was surrounded by others with, “Oldest Child” and “Youngest Child” on them.
Happy Middle Child Day to all of the middle kids, especially my daughter Lauren, many of my nieces and nephews and several of my siblings who share middle child status with me.