The Blog

Can We Please Stop Shaming The 'Middle Child'?

If you begin to type "being a middle child" into Google, your first three suggestions include "being a middle child disadvantages", "being a middle child syndrome" and "consequences of being a middle child". How very optimistic. So what are these disadvantages?

I'm a big fan of Imgur. I scan it every day for work and always find a right corker that I then send on to other people because it's just really funny and everyone can do with a laugh, right?

But this morning was a bit different, because this morning I came across this.

It's a photo of a newly-described 'middle child' looking very grumpy. The caption? "That moment you realise you're now the middle child".

The photo surfaced something that I've always believed and yet never really voiced: why is being the middle child always described as being a bad thing?

If you begin to type "being a middle child" into Google, your first three suggestions include "being a middle child disadvantages", "being a middle child syndrome" and "consequences of being a middle child". How very optimistic.

So what are these disadvantages?

According to website, the middle child has a "lack of attention", fewer expectations from their parents, low self-esteem (sorry, what?) and sibling rivalry.

Carry on reading on the internet and nothing really changes. The middle child is described as being the "neglected second-born", and references the oh-so-dramatic struggles such as people "forget you exist", you are "forgotten about" and you have to learn independence at a very young age.

Frankly, it's all a load of crap to me.

I have no idea what studies or research years ago showed that being a middle child was such a disadvantage but I firmly believe it's pretty damn great.

If you hadn't guessed: I'm a middle child. I'm 25, with a 27-year-old sister and a 15-year-sister and I have never once felt at a disadvantage for being stuck in the middle. In fact, I think it's the best option. Here's my take on the whole shebang.

As the second-born my mum and dad knew the drill, they expected the worst. They knew babies cried and poo'ed for the first month of their life, they knew I'd probably be hard work for the first couple of weeks. All the bad stuff was expected (and in fact, I was a much easier baby than my sister so I guess that was a welcome surprise). They had this parenting thing down, I mean, they'd done it once over already.

When I grew up I always had someone there to play with. She taught me stuff, we (unwillingly) shared clothes and toys and ridiculous made-up games. We would wear matching outfits, go to the park together, wake up early and watch TV on the weekends. She'd teach me about life and boys and make up when we grew up. Not that I would admit it then, but I had a role model the whole time. She did everything before me, I watched her go through school and college and university and she always had the answers. I could base my decisions on what she did, because she had been through it, she knew what it was like.

I mean of course we fought and no doubt drove our parents mad, but we had each other and luckily, we sort of like each other.

At that point, I was just the youngest child.

When I was 10, my mum and dad decided to pop another one out. I remember family members telling me I was going to be a "middle child" and it just went over my head.

Why? Because I was absolutely in awe of the fact that now it was my chance to be an older child. I was going to play the role of looking after her and playing with her. Teaching her things and knowing stuff before her. Having her ask ME questions, having her watch what I was doing in my life and looking up to me.

I doted on her and carried her around, sung B*Witched (C'est La Vie) to her to try and stop her crying (true story), dressed her in cute clothes and tried to teach her words. I watched Teletubbies with her, watched her first steps and smiles and words, watched her start school. It was brilliant.

Fast forward 15 years and my opinion hasn't changed. I love being the middle child.

I have my older sister to talk to about work and grown-up stuff. She tells me why I should definitely start paying into my pension, what time of the year she turns her heating on in her flat now, how to sort out bills, what to do when things aren't going right and that it's totally acceptable to feel ridiculously hungover and stay in bed all day after a night out. It happens.

Yet my younger sister brings out a different side of me.

She reverts me back to being a teenager and turns me into someone who wants to teach her and look after her and remind her that all the crappy teenager stuff happens to all of us and say 'it's okay, because it worked out fine for me'. I do stupid dances and watch her favourite YouTube videos with her, we laugh at funny cat gifs and both love baking cakes. She loves that fact that yes, I also know all the words to High School Musical and will sing along with her. We talk about teenage gossip and who she fancies, what options she should choose for her GCSEs, what she might want to do when she's older.

I bloody love them both.

My older sister will never be a younger sister and my younger sister will never be an older sister but me? I have the best of both worlds.