I’m a middle child (thus the Riddle from the Middle blog name) who grew up experiencing both the joys and sorrows of following a sister and leading a brother. Apparently we even have a national “day” now – August 12th has been designated National Middle Child Day, an occasion for celebrating the child without a role.
Well, until they decide someone else needs it more.
Something called the Child Development Institute laid out common personality traits for birth order, and I thought it’d be fun to check out the ones for middles. Well, fun for me, anyway, you might find this boring as hell. Sorry. It’s stream of consciousness day.
I guess my only cheat here is pulling a website reference but hey, I didn’t want to just make this stuff up.
“Has neither the rights of oldest nor privileges of youngest.” Um…duh? Why is this not the least bit surprising to me? Maybe because I’m a middle. Not getting the rights of the oldest makes sense because only one kid can be the oldest; not getting the youngest’s privileges follows because there’s only one “baby” of the family. Boo hoo. Moving on.
“Feels life is unfair.” Okay, I can’t say this wasn’t true growing up, but doesn’t every kid feel like life’s not fair? I’ve found that to be a pretty typical trait in my own kids (neither of whom is a middle). Sure, my sister got to do stuff because she was older. Yeah, my brother experienced certain perks being the youngest (and the only boy). But I’m betting there were ways they thought life was unfair, too.
“Feels unloved, left out, ‘squeezed.’ ” Seriously, I’m drawing a blank. Sometimes I felt left out, but I don’t remember it being because I was the middle child. Unloved? Squeezed? This one doesn’t feel as true to me for my birth order traits.
“Feels doesn’t have place in family.”
Okay, per SoCS rules I’m leaving all that mess up there and saying I call shenanigans on a group created in 1999. Well, no, mostly I’m calling shenanigans because their traits are totally failing this experiment. Let’s use one from a psychology based website.
“They [middle children] avoid being boxed in and have a more go-with-the-flow attitude than their older siblings.” Agreed. I’ve always hated getting painted into a corner, and the only way to survive as a middle is to go with the flow.
“They tend to be unbiased and levelheaded and are good at negotiations.” Okay, not so much. I’m opinionated and sometimes that interferes with being unbiased. BrightSide is laughing his ass off at “levelheaded” (although I’m way better than I used to be). I am a good negotiator, though.
“Middle-Child Characteristics: people-pleasing, somewhat rebellious, good friend, peacemaker, social.” Yes, yes, yes, yes, and not really. I can be social, but it’s not something I really enjoy these days.
And sure enough, Education is listed as one of the top five careers for middle children.
So what have we learned about birth order? A lot depends on your source. Also, a lot of it can be spot on. Plus apparently my family is supposed to recognize me on August 12th. I suppose I should feel left out and forgotten because they don’t…
Linda’s stream of consciousness Saturday prompt this week is berth/birth.