Archive How to Fix My Middle Child Depression?

Everything Parents Need to Know about the Middle Child Depression

Rana Mazahernasab

Rana Mazahernasab

Table of contents:

    As a parent, you may have noticed that your middle child seems a little down lately. Maybe they’re withdrawing from family activities, or feeling left out. It’s not uncommon for middle children to experience what’s often referred to as “middle child depression or syndrome”.

    The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to help your middle child overcome these feelings. In this blog, we’ll explore the signs of middle child depression, understand its causes, and most importantly, discover effective strategies to support your middle child’s emotional well-being. We’ll also discuss if the middle child syndrome really exists.


    What Are the Middle Child Characteristics?

    Most middle children have unique characteristics that can be influenced by their birth order and family dynamics. However, it’s important to note that middle children traits come not only from the birth order but also the family culture, parents’ behaviors, and other factors. Therefore, not every middle child has all the characteristics mentioned below.


    • Peacemaker: Middle children often maintain harmony within the family. They may act as mediators during conflicts and try to lessen tension between siblings.
    • Independent: Due to receiving less attention from parents compared to the eldest or youngest child, middle children may develop independence and self-sufficiency early on. They learn to fend for themselves and find their own interests.
    • Adaptable: Middle children learn to adapt to various situations and environments. Being sandwiched between siblings of different ages, they become flexible and open-minded individuals.
    • Seeking Attention: While they seem independent, middle children may also show some attention seeking behaviors.
    • Social Skills: These children often develop strong social skills. They learn how to interact with both older and younger siblings, which can enhance their communication and interpersonal abilities.


    The important point is that if your child shows these traits and behaviors, you need to address them immediately and handle the situation properly. Learn how to react to your middle child’s actions and choose the right way to treat them. These unsolved problems are the reason we see the signs of middle child syndrome in adults, resulting from childhood traumas and parents’ negligence toward them.


    three siblings sitting on the ground


    Why Is the Middle Child the Hardest?

    The idea that the middle child is the “hardest” or faces more challenges is a common stereotype. However, there are a few reasons why some people believe being a middle child can be tough. Due to the lack of attention mentioned earlier, they may tend to compare themselves to their older and younger siblings. Since the oldest child often gets special treatment as the firstborn and the youngest child may be seen as the “baby” of the family, the middle child might feel overlooked. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, as well as sibling rivalry.

    Moreover, society often perpetuates stereotypes about birth order, considering middle children as rebellious, overlooked, or misunderstood. These stereotypes can influence how middle children perceive themselves. All in all, it’s important to recognize that every family dynamic is different, and not all middle children will experience these difficulties. With understanding and support from their parents and siblings, middle children can thrive and find their place within the family.


    Is the Middle Child Syndrome Real?

    The concept of “middle child syndrome” is a widely recognized idea, but does it exist in real life? Some experts argue that being a middle child can lead to feelings of being overlooked or overshadowed by siblings, which may impact self-esteem and behavior. Others believe that birth order has little influence on personality and development.

    A study by Lotte Elton, Melissa Palmer, and Wendy Macdowall in 2019 shows that middle children are less likely to build a strong and comforting relationship with their parents. This article that focuses on birth order and parental and sibling involvement in sex education also claims that these children often don’t feel comfortable talking about sex with their parents. This can lead to intensifying the stereotypical characteristics of middle children, such as feeling left over and lack of attention.

    On the other hand, the article that Patrick R. Cundiff published in 2014 focuses on the effects of birth order on delinquency. Based on this study, by looking at the differences within families, such as parents’ interactions with each child, the birth order didn’t matter much. This means that we should focus more on understanding how families work together rather than considering birth order. In addition to these findings, this study by Rodica Ioana Damian and Brent W. Roberts also reveals that the impact of birth order on personality is small.


    How to Fix My Middle Child Problems and Depression?

    Addressing middle child issues is all about understanding and supporting the needs of your middle child in the family. While individual experiences vary, here are evidence-based strategies you can try.


    Provide Individualized Attention

    Studies have shown that middle children may feel they receive less attention from parents compared to their siblings. To address this, ensure to allocate one-on-one time with your middle child regularly. Also, engage in activities they enjoy and offer praise and encouragement for their achievements.


    Foster Positive Sibling Relationships

    Sibling relationships significantly influence children’s social and emotional development. As a parent, you should encourage bonding activities among siblings, such as collaborative games or shared interests. Teach conflict resolution skills and promote empathy and mutual respect to strengthen sibling connections.


    Avoid Comparisons

    Whatever your children do, do not compare them to each other! Middle children often struggle with comparisons to their siblings which negatively impacts their self-esteem. Stay away from making direct comparisons or favoritism. Instead, focus on recognizing each child’s unique strengths and talents.


    Encourage Open Communication

    Research emphasizes the importance of open and supportive communication within families. So, create a safe space for your middle child to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns without judgment. You should also listen actively and validate their emotions to strengthen the parent-child bond.


    Seek Professional Guidance if Needed

    If your middle child is facing ongoing emotional or behavioral difficulties, it’s wise to seek guidance from a child psychologist or counselor. They can provide specialized interventions and catered solutions for your child’s requirements, offering extra support for your family.


    three siblings are hugging each other and one of them is kissing the middle child, creating a special bond between them


    Final Word

    Understanding and addressing the challenges of middle children is crucial for fostering a supportive and nurturing family environment. Make sure you give them individualized attention, develop positive sibling relationships, and strengthen their talents and creativity. This way, you can help your middle child have a strong sense of self-esteem and belonging within the family.

    However, in today’s digital age, parenting can be overwhelming. Because you need to ensure your children’s safety in the online world, as well as in real life. How about monitoring your child’s online activities and tracking them using only one app?! This is where Safes, our parental control app, comes into play.

    Safes offers parents a solution to monitor and manage their children’s online activities, providing peace of mind in an ever-connected world. With features such as content filtering, screen time management, and real-time activity tracking, Safes lets parents create a safe and healthy digital environment for their children. So, you won’t need to use the built-in settings in your devices, such as Macbook parental controls, as you’ll benefit from all the necessary features in just one app!

    So, why wait?! Don’t hesitate to download Safes for Android and iOS and use our free trial to test the app in advance.

    Rana Mazahernasab

    Rana Mazahernasab

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