7 Science-Proven Facts About Middle Kids

7 Science-Proven Facts About Middle Kids

Do middle children really have it the hardest? Birth order studies know.


By Kelly Bryant

Traditionally in pop culture, middle children are portrayed as the neglected family members, caught in the shadow of the oldest sibling and unable to work a room with the charm a younger brother or sister possesses. While middle-borns are hardly the worst off in the long run, there are elements of truth to this stereotype. We’ll let science explain …

1. They’re not easily defined – in a good way. “The middle children are the toughest to pin down of any of the [birth orders] because they play off of what’s directly above them in the family,” explains Kevin Leman, author of The Birth Order Book: Why You Are The Way You Are. But he describes middle children as fiercely loyal, big on friendships, and excellent negotiators.

2. They tend to be self-starters. Middle-borns have an excellent entrepreneurial success rate. “Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and Steve Forbes are all middle children, to name a few,” says Leman.

3. They’re social butterflies. Career-wise, you’ll find a lot of middle children in the social sciences. “Middle children are your teachers, your social workers,” says Leman. “You wouldn’t be surprised to find a middle child who is doing very well in middle management, because they’re relational by their nature.”

4. They also drive a hard bargain. “[Middle children] negotiated for everything in life, so they end up being pretty good negotiators,” explains Leman.

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5. Middle children tend to be more independent. “Middles lose out somewhat in terms of parental attention,” says Catherine Salmon, author of The Secret Power of Middle Children. “That has sort of positive and negative aspects to it. They might resent not having as much attention, but they also tend to be quite independent, because they are often left on their own, to their own devices.”

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6. Middle children tend to be risk takers. But Salmon notes that they aren’t reckless risk takers. “I think they’re open to experience but perhaps not as reckless as the baby of the family can be.”

7. They may have lower self-esteem. This is partially because they don’t get as much attention within the family, says Salmon. “On the other hand, there’s a lot of concern these days that we have people with excessively false high self-esteem,” she says. “It may be, in fact, that they have the more accurate or less enhanced sense of self value that may actually benefit them in their actions with others. They might not come across as being quite as full of themselves as some others might.”

Do these traits match up with your middle child?


Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/CaseyHillPhoto


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