Do Middle Children Have The Secret to Success?
My post-partum doula told me that the world needs more middle children because they are great negotiators, mediators and make the world a better place.
Pretty astute words from someone who couldn't figure out my laundry machine. Writers Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann echo her theory with their new book: The Secret Power of Middle Children where they suggest that middle children are more successful later in life because of their skills learned as the overlooked middle.
The media hoopla surrounding the book makes me think that all journalists are middle children. But I'm not complaining because the idea that ignored middle children are primed for success comes at the exact right moment for me.
My middle child is the sweetest, most social kid around. He is full of love and fun. But he most definitely gets the least attention: sandwiched between his forceful brother and enthusiastic sister, he sometimes falls asleep fully clothed on his bed. He is a "needs of the situation" child, often the first to respond when we are at an impasse or something needs to be done.
But he is also a below the radar kind of kid who is quiet and can play on his own. I worry because I have heard from more than one teacher that they "wouldn't even know he was there", which is not something you want to hear in an educational setting. He does fine academically but really shines when he is with his friends.
Middles get bad raps - the stereotypes are that they grow up with a chip on their shoulder or are always envious and looking for attention. The flipside is that their interest in justice can motivate them to areas of justice and law.
Middle children learn to adapt to their situations and hone skills that make them good at relationships and in the workplace. Their desire for attention can turn them into hard workers and innovators: Bill Gates, Madonna, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King jr. are all middle children. The writers say: "contrary to expectations, middleborns are agents of change in business, politics, and science - more so than firstborns or lastborns."
Good communicators, hard workers, people who made a difference. Phew, I am so glad that the benign neglect is working. Now I just have to sit back and allow my middle child to change the world.
Are you a middle child? Do you have a middle child? Do you agree with the findings?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about how to talk to your kids about... you know... sex.