So, I really only have three examples I can think of for my following argument. But Imma write anyway because I’m thinking there may be some merit to my latest ponderings.
The middle child is the best child.
Now, I understand that this is already a controversial statement, as everyone knows that the middle child is the least important child in any family.
However, I stumbled across a thought that actually made sense, and then checked it against my own experience and found it to reflect the real world, at least 60% of the time.
Again, though, it was an extremely small sample size.
Oh. What am I talking about…
I was thinking about how my nephew will be upset because his stupid parents don’t ever let him do anything but all the other kids get to do whatever they want all the time and he’s always in trouble for no reason.
In response, I usually try to tell him that his parents have a hard job to do; being parents to five children. And they don’t always make the right call. But you have to respect them and listen to them anyway. Sure, you can talk to them about decisions they’ve made, but yelling at them, calling them names, or throwing tantrums is one definite way to NOT get what you want.
Thats when I had my thought.
I’m sure most people would agree that parents are, in general, the most strict with the oldest child and the least strict with the youngest child. And the middle child usually gets left behind, caught in the middle of everyone else’s life with no one focusing on their own.. This, of course is more pronounced in a family of more than three children. But, its truth, however stereotypical it may actually be, is valid enough for comedians and TV show writers to use the situation for humor.
But here’s what I think is really going on:
It might be true that the oldest is getting more mature, driving, dating, getting a job, and turning into a young adult… while the youngest is, well, young, a child, in need of constant care, cannot stay home alone, always has to be fed, changed, dressed, washed, and put to bed… and the kids in the middle are either learning to do this stuff on their own, or the parent is wishing they would learn to do this stuff on their own, or they’re trying too hard to catchup to older siblings, but its just so difficult not knowing if you’re a big kid or a little kid because there is no such thing as an inbetween kid, even though modern fashion would have you think so.
But look at it from this perspective: the middle child has an older sibling to look up to. They have someone who is watching out for them. Someone who helps them, cares for them, will fight for them and cheer them on. On the other side the middle child has someone who looks up to THEM. Someone THEY can look out for. Someone THEY can care for.
Over time, I think the middle child might learn more about being a responsible adult than their siblings. They get good and bad behavior modeled for them, and then have to choose what behavior to model for the younger siblings. They get to watch older siblings make choices and then decide what kind of choices THEY should make. And they get to look at the younger siblings for a sort of “yard stick” to measure their own maturity.
They are probably better planners, have more empathy, and overall a higher understanding of people, cause/effect, decision making, and time and money management.
The oldest has a lot of responsibility he doesn’t want.
The youngest is the baby and gets away with everything.
But the middle child has learn more than we’ve realized.
And actually, now that I think of it, they owe us! We’re the reason they’re such great people! Hold on… I have to call my sister real quick…
P.S. – if you think about it long enough, you can write a blog post about anything. 😉