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6 Reasons You Shouldn't Underestimate the Middle Child

As the middle child of three growing up, I swore I'd never have three kids. I never wanted a kid of mine to have that dreaded middle child syndrome where they feel they're the odd one out. I complained how I was ignored, neglected and it was never my "turn." I wasn't the mature, older one doing something cool for the first time, or the cute, funny little one.

Whine, whine, whine.

As I've gotten older and had kids of my own (two), I've realized it's actually a really awesome thing to be the monkey in the middle of the birth order, especially as an adult. Here's why:

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1. You're not a spoiled brat

It's sort of impossible to spoil the middle kid. They aren't the first baby that comes along and forever alters life as mom and dad once knew it, nor are they the "last little baby," destined to be petted and coddled.

Instead, the middle is the recipient of hand-me downs, parenting honed to a sharper point after kid No. 1 and a childhood of second places. This is a good thing. After all, spoiled kids can turn into spoiled adults who continue to act entitled wherever they go.

2. Sharing is not an issue for the middle kid

With a sibling on either side, the middle kid is pretty much never alone, so they learn to take turns and understand nothing is really theirs. They often share a bedroom with another sibling (I put in 17 years with my big sis!), not to mention the back seat of the station wagon and, of course, outings with mom and dad.

This skill may not be evident in a preschooler, but it'll come in handy later on, like freshman year of college when the pampered react in confusion and then horror upon realizing they'll be sharing that bunker-like dorm room with another student.

Middle kids rock that birth order thing like a boss.

3. Strong negotiation skills

Early on you learn to be a mediator and a negotiator among your siblings. You develop a talent for reading situations and tuning in to others' needs and emotions. After all, no one's listening to a whiny middle kid.

4. Independent streak

While your parents were busy gushing over the first-born's latest trophies or holding the hand of the baby, you were doing your own thing. OK, no one's paying attention to me, fine, I'm going to make up my own games.

5. Middle kids know who they are

A middle kid might initially feel unsure of their place in the family, because there's no automatic superlative attached to them. They're not first and therefore often not considered the smartest, fastest, tallest. And they're not last born, so they're not the youngest, smallest or neediest.

Instead, a middle kid learns to differentiate from siblings and establish an identity of their own to stand out from the pack.

6. BFF to all your siblings

While sibling rivalry can be fierce growing up, the middle kid is often closer in age to their other siblings, which can translate into a closer relationship to each. It helps that the middle child also knows what it feels like to be both the older sibling to someone and the younger sibling.

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So, basically middle kids are awesome because they grow into well-rounded adults who rocked that birth order thing like a boss.

Images via Rose Gordon Sala

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