breaking news

Boynton police ID man, 21, killed outside community center

Five surprising strengths of middle children


Some time in early March 2018, Britain’s Princess Charlotte will become a middle child.

Her mother, Duchess Kate, is around 12 weeks pregnant with her third child. We know this because Buckingham Palace and the duchess’ husband, Prince William, announced last week she was suffering from acute morning sickness, as she did with Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2.

Being the middle child was a sorry state for Jan Brady of “The Brady Bunch” — who had to play second fiddle to “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” — but Charlotte could use it to her advantage.

Middle children often develop traits that make them more resilient than either first-born children or the family baby, experts say.

Middle children find it easier to think outside the box, feel less pressure to conform, and are more empathetic, Katrin Schumann, co-author of “The Secret Power of Middle Children,” told Psychology Today.

Therapist Connie Ingram of Royal Palm Beach says 26 years of seeing clients make her a believer in the concept of birth order affecting behavior.

Middle children who are less than 5 years younger than their older siblings tend to exhibit five positive traits, Ingram says:

Independence: They’ll try to differentiate themselves from the eldest sibling via behaviors and interests.

Flexibility: Middle children are often more easy-going than their siblings.

Diplomacy: Middle children have keen mediating and negotiating skills, because they have to negotiate challenges from above and below, Ingram says. “Many times, they do this by using one sibling as an ally to get what they want and at another time, using the other. Whether that strengthens them or teaches them to manipulate can be, in my opinion, anyone’s guess because so many other variables need to be taken into account.”

Resilience: Middle children are often highly adaptable.

Sociability: They’re often generous and outgoing. Because middle children don’t always get as much attention from their parents as first-borns and babies, they tend to seek deeper relationships with their friends, or “families of choice,” says Schumann.

Of course, the flip side to every strength is a weakness, and middle children have weaknesses, too.

“The most pressing issue that middles have to deal with is that they can get lost in the dynamics between the older child, who tends to be a leader, natural achiever, know-it-all, overachiever and the youngest, whose tendencies are to be self-centered, friendly, charming and funny,” says Ingram, who runs Ingram & Associates Counseling. “Thus, they may have feelings of being unloved, being the ‘victim’ or feeling the need to differentiate themselves by being extremely competitive or even rebellious.”

Middle children can’t achieve power simply by virtue of their position, so they must adapt, mediate and negotiate.

Case in point: 16 of America’s presidents were oldest children or only children. Nine more were the oldest sons, if not the oldest siblings. Six presidents were the babies in their families. And 14 presidents were in the middle, including President Trump.

In Trump’s case, though, there’s a gap of four years between him and the sibling above him, his sister Elizabeth, born in 1942, and a gap of nine years between the president (born in 1946) and his oldest sibling, Maryanne, who was born in 1937.

This may have caused him to be treated more like a first-born child, and, indeed, he is the son who followed his father into real-estate development.

His older brother, Frederick Trump Jr., was an alcoholic who passed away at 43 in 1981.

Freddy, who couldn’t handle the stress of their perfectionist father and the tough business, was a cautionary tale for Donald, who doesn’t drink.

“He (Freddy) would have been an amazing peacemaker if he didn’t have the problem, because everybody loved him,” the president has said of his older brother.

Middles are more driven than many people think, Schumann told Psychology Today — but they focus their drive on principles and social causes, which mean more to them than money or prestige.

Princess Charlotte has a good role model for that in her grandmother, the late Princess Diana, who was also a middle child.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

SunFest 2018: Entertainment lineup to be announced this morning
SunFest 2018: Entertainment lineup to be announced this morning

It’s SunFest time again. SunFest organizers say the lineup for the 2018 festival will be announced this morning around 10.  Tell us who you’re hoping to see in the comments below.
Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'
Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'

Former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a shoutout Monday to the new Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.” “Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!” she tweeted. “Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire...
MidiCi brings cool vibe to pizza restaurant
MidiCi brings cool vibe to pizza restaurant

MENU MidiCi bills itself as “the Neapolitan pizza company,” so thin-crust pies are the star of the show. Pizza prices range from $8.45 to $14.25. MidiCi serves a standard margherita pie, along with specialty pizzas with toppings such as shrimp or chicken pesto. The menu also includes salads, cheese plates and meat plates. MidiCi serves...
Casual Italian dining makes Sazio popular spot
Casual Italian dining makes Sazio popular spot

MENU The offerings are simple — appetizers, pizzas, salads, soups, pastas and sandwiches and wraps — each category boasting traditional favorites and items unique to the house. There are also homemade desserts, like cannolis. ATMOSPHERE The half-indoor half-outdoor dining space reminds me of a small, cozy home’s front patio or porch...
3 TO SEE: Street Painting Festival, ‘Gatsby’ ballet, modernist play
3 TO SEE: Street Painting Festival, ‘Gatsby’ ballet, modernist play

There’s always something to do in The Palm Beaches! That’s why every week, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County helps you with three ideas — one that’s free, one that’s affordable and one that’s a splurge. Your events curator is the Cultural Concierge, a free service that provides customized cultural recommendations...
More Stories