"From their personality traits to their success later in life, birth order can play a big role in a child's development. And scientists have spent significant time looking at just what it means to be a middle child." Here are some of those surprising and scientific facts about middle children.
1. They are emotionally A-OK. In a 2013 study, researchers at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid found that middle children who lived with both biological parents were less likely to develop emotional disorders or be diagnosed with ADHD than their siblings. Why? They're constantly surrounded by family and siblings. The doctors determined that's a surefire way for them to stay healthy.2. They're team players. A 1966 study in The Journal of Genetic Psychology (and it still holds true today) found that middle children tend to do better in group situations. This also sets them up to be good employees, as well.
3. They take risks. When analyzing the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, researchers at the University of Colorado at Denver found that first-borns tend to be milder in their actions, but middles throw caution to the wind. This can, of course, have both good and bad consequences.
4. The middle child is seldom the favorite one. Australian researcher Julie Fitness outlines her shocking study results: middle children are rarely considered the "favorite child." Now, yes, you might be shaking your head and demanding that you "don't have a favorite child," but science would say otherwise. Maybe a preference? Either way, it looks like it's definitely either your first or youngest child.
5. They're the good kids. All right, so they're maybe not the "favorite," but that doesn't mean they act out. In fact, a 1964 study done by the Texas Christian University and the University of Minnesota looked into peer acceptance and rejection in relation to birth order. Ultimately, researchers found that middle children, who are surrounded by both older and younger siblings, do not "act out." In fact, they're the most well-adjusted of the bunch.
6. Middle children aren't as smart as their older siblings, but there's still good news. A 2001 study published by the American Psychological Association found that the more siblings a child has, the less intelligent they are. This is the "dilution model" and it exists because parents naturally can spend less and less time with each child to help with learning and comprehension. So for middle children, they're less intelligent than their older sibling but more intelligent than their younger brother or sister.
7. They're successful. Katrin Schumann, the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children, notes that middle children have come out on top in many ways. Take this fun fact, for example, 52 percent of all American presidents have been middle children. Add Bill Gates, Julia Roberts, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela to that list and you have a pretty successful roster of middles. Schumann notes that since middle kids tend to be more independent and creative, that's a perfect recipe for a thriving future.
8. They're great negotiators. Drs. Jason Kaufman and Daniel Eckstein looked into famed psychotherapist Alfred Adler's individual psychology theory and researched how birth order affects personality. In their 2012 studies, they found that since middle siblings may have to negotiate between the oldest and youngest children, and always have to be articulate to be heard, they're excellent at eloquently presenting their points.
9. They're attracted to other middle kids. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Individual Psychology finally looked into birth order and romantic partnerships and found that middle children tend to fall in love and grow romantic relationships with other middle children. Like attracts like and this is another excellent example of that in action. And finally,
10. They're great marriage material. The same 2009 study on birth order and romantic preferences looked at 2,500 individuals and their partners and determined that middle children end up in much happier relationships and choose to stay faithful to both romantic partners and friends. There's one thing you can know for sure, middle children are devoted and true.
No matter what the personality tests and therapists say, this day directs us to focus on the middle child. Parents and siblings should pull out all the stops and make today all about middle-born family members. Do something special for them. Prepare a favorite meal. Or call them and remind them just how much you love them. Spend the entire day doing things they enjoy.
And here's a brief history of this day. National Middle Children’s Day was created by Elizabeth Walker in the 1980s. It was originally intended to be observed on the second Saturday in August, however, along the way it has become generally accepted to celebrate it on August 12. In a newspaper article submitted by her grandson, Litton Walker, III, Walker stated that she wanted to create a National day to honor those children “born in the middle of families” who she felt were “left out.” The name was later changed to National Middle Child Day.
I'm going to remind my dad to hop over to Aunt Ima's pad on his way home from work today and remind her just how special she is...maybe even bring her some flowers or a box of her favorite chocolate-covered insects.
I hope you'll join me back here again tomorrow for a look at the new, hot-off-the-press list of the Seven Wonders of the World. I think you'll be surprised! Until then,