What is middle child syndrome?

The role of parents during the early stages of children's development is important, regardless of the number of children they have. Nevertheless, when parents have three children, a particular situation arises worth a thorough discussion. What is middle child syndrome? In this article we will answer that question.

It is natural for parents to show affection differently to their children. This can happen because of the way they interpret the reality of each of them. For example, the first child is linked to the emotion they felt when they were parents for the first time (it is associated with experience). The second and third children are linked to other emotions and subjective realities.

In the case of the second son, he occupies for a moment the role of the minor, but the arrival of the third one displaces him to an intermediate position. It is an affective limbo that generates doubts in the child as it grows. For his part, the third son retains the label of minor and defenseless for the rest of his life. Let's see what happens to the role of the middle son.

Is the role of the middle child overshadowed by that of the oldest and youngest?

The roles that children play are determined by the order of their birth, a situation that is most noticeable in childhood. To explain what the middle child syndrome is, it is necessary to establish that the second child must make a greater effort than the first and third to adapt to their environment.

The reason? It must be considered that from birth there is already someone who also needs parental care (situation that did not happen to the first one). Then, with the arrival of the third child, he must manage again to adapt.

For the first there is usually no problem, since it is naturally covered by a blanket of sentimentality from the parents. This situation can cause the second child to feel less loved, and look for maladaptive alternatives to get their attention.

In most cases, the middle children show a behavior opposite to that of the oldest and youngest. The intent of this is to stand out in some way; They may even have rebellious behaviors.

In many cases, the children of the middle adopt rebellious behaviors as a way to attract attention.

Over time, and under normal conditions, the children of the environment generate a certain tolerance for frustration, which helps them to adapt to society better than their siblings. While it can never be generalized, this is what tends to happen most often.

From the parents' perspective, the role of the middle child is not overshadowed by that of his siblings; to ensure that would be to fall into stereotypes and make a value judgment. What happens is that, within the parenting styles of parents, the ways of showing affection may be different; but in emotional terms, neither brother would be overshadowed by the others.

Tips and Considerations for Parents

Now we will look at some adaptive ways to manage parenting and prevent discord between them. Ideally, parents can dissipate inappropriate feelings that may occur at home. Incorporating these recommendations can generate changes in the medium and long term, but consistency is important.

1. Make sure the rules are the same for all children

The fundamental pillar of an egalitarian environment are the rules. When children grow up with the awareness that the rules apply equally to everyone, they often do not have intense conflicts with their siblings. Parents should ensure that there is a sense of equal justice in the home, despite the age differences between the children.

Read this article: Parenting Styles: What Kind of Parent Am I?

2. Recognize the effort of the middle child

To the extent that parents value and recognize the effort of their children, they achieve the proper establishment of self-esteem. Therefore, special care must be taken with the children of the environment, who often go unnoticed by the parents (unconsciously). It is convenient to congratulate them when they do their activities well and encourage them to do things that motivate them.

3. Dedicate quality time to each child

The time that parents spend with their children strengthening the affective bond is a protective factor against maladaptive behaviors. What is recommended is to distribute the time equally with each one so that no one can feel overshadowed by their brothers. It's a good idea to tell each one separately that they are valuable.

4. Avoid sibling comparisons

Drawing sibling comparisons is a source of resentment for children, and should be avoided at all costs. Some parents often compare the performance of some with that of others, with the intention of generating a "healthy competition." However, this is counterproductive. There should be no competition between siblings, but freedom so that each can express their unique abilities.

As parents it is important to dedicate quality time to all children. In addition, for no reason should one fall into comparisons between these.

Read this article: How to fight sibling confrontations

What to remember about middle child syndrome?

The middle child syndrome can be defined as a maladaptive behavior pattern on the part of the children who are in the middle of the first and third. It is important that parents manage to properly manage their children's behaviors by implementing functional parenting styles.

Now that we know how this syndrome manifests itself and that we have the tools to manage it, it is necessary to emphasize that both parents must work as a team to obtain good results. If the parents are separated, they should communicate assertively to establish an equal parenting method.