Being part of a large family has meant that sibling rivalry was of course an issue during my childhood, but recently I came across an article that claims difficulties middle children experience are actually beneficial… I’m wondering if this includes the distressing time I, a middle child, felt inferior and not as loved because I was only the star of Bethlehem and my sister was the Virgin Mary in the school nativity play. Apparently, the inferiority felt by me and all other middle kids only forces us to develop certain traits that mold us into successful adults. So things like independence, because we had less attention that the beloved oldest and youngest siblings hogged- check, assertiveness in order to not be ignored by parents and attention hoggers- check.
I did feel a little bit undermined and undervalued because my older brother was a sort of leader and protector of the rest of the clan, and my little brother was spoilt rotten just for being the youngest, and arguably, the cutest. Attention would naturally go to them. But what about me?! I did have to go that extra mile to not feel invisible but that now means I have communication skills nothing short of excellent and an assertiveness which is in my book is equal to success. Who’s invisible now, huh?
There were advantages to being a middle child, it’s not that bad. As a middle child I was the favourite amongst my siblings. A bit cheeky to say, but true. I bridged the gap between the two age groups, older and younger and was the most approachable to both. For my older brother, my younger brother was too young to connect with on a level beyond play fighting in the house and pranking my mum, and my older brother was an older more out of reach figure for my little brother. That’s where my role came in, changing the Economou family dynamics for the better. I was the younger and less strict sibling that my little brother found approachable and less authoritative, and my older siblings could just speak to me about more ‘grown up’ things. Win. In this way middle child Kat did feel valued.
Even though there are difficult times that come with being a middle child growing up, as the research I spoke of earlier suggests, in the long run I feel some of these struggles have benefited me, and surely other middle children too, and I am grateful for them; they forced me to act in a certain way. Little did I know that what I thought was a curse back then has actually turned out to be a blessing.