Say it ain’t so: Is the middle child really becoming extinct? A recent New York Magazine feature deems the American middle child an “endangered species,” and middle children everywhere are not pleased. But they’re not surprised either.
Sure being the middle child comes with some stigma – you’re not the oldest and wisest, and you’re not the “baby” of the family, either. Plus, thanks to the dreaded ” middle child syndrome,” people assume you’re more likely to feel left out or neglected (and now, endangered).
Just look at quintessential middle child Jan Brady from “The Brady Bunch”: She had to create an imaginary boyfriend (George Glass) to garner attention from her big family. Stephanie Tanner, the middle child from “Full House” may not have had many story lines devoted to her, but at least she got her own tag line (“How RUDE!”).
Though pop culture loves to poke fun at middle children – being one is actually pretty great. Just look at the roster of famous middle children who are doing pretty well in life: Natalie Morales, Bill Gates, Jennifer Lopez, Warren Buffett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts and more.
Here are nine reasons why being a middle child might make you better off than your siblings.
1. Your parents were probably more laid back with you.
We all know how it goes, parents are super strict with their first child. As a baby, they wouldn’t let just anyone hold their precious firstborn. Then you came along … And it all changed. That means you maybe had it a little easier than your big bro or sis. A fact they probably never let you forget.
2. You actually have a secret power.
At least according to Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann, authors of “The Secret Power of Middle Children.” According to their research, middle children are more open to experience and more willing to develop different abilities while searching for their own niche in the family.
Further, they found that middles are agents of change in business, politics and science. They’re team players who know how to deal with everyone.
3. You can keep a secret.
So, yeah, maybe you don’t get as much attention as your baby bro, but according to birth-order experts, that means you’re able to keep things to yourself.
4. You know how to go with the flow.
After your parents had their third child, you had to find your own way. Today, you’re way better at compromising and negotiating than your older and younger siblings, who typically got their way.
5. You have stronger bonds with friends.
Your parents had a looser leash on you, which means you were able to form stronger friendships at younger ages.
6. You’re probably not your parents’ favorite – and that’s OK!
You are probably the favorite of your grandfather, aunt or uncle, and they had no problem letting you know that.
7. You’re JUST as smart as your siblings.
A 2015 study debunked the popular myth that firstborns are the most intellectual of the family. Though they do have higher IQs, the margin is extremely slight.
8. You’re more independent.
Like we said before, your parents were a little more lax with you, which means you were able to do more things on your own. You’re not afraid to try a new sport, activity or career – you’re used to tackling things solo!
9. You might live longer than your younger sibling.
A 2015 study found that mortality risk in adulthood increases with later birth order. So while you might not live as long as your older sibling, you could outlive your younger brother or sister.
Today, celebrate your uniqueness as the middle child – and hey, maybe the “middle child syndrome,” isn’t such a bad thing after all.