Personality and Birth Order: the Middle Child
“… middle children are more likely than their siblings to be successful and enjoy strong social lives and flourishing careers.”
“… of all the U.S. Presidents since 1787, no fewer than 52 per cent were middle children.”
” … another aspect of middle children’s personalities is an eagerness to please — born out of their efforts in childhood to gain attention — which can mean they are too easily influenced by friends.”
” … middle children tend to have high degrees of patience, perhaps because they spend so much of their time in childhood waiting their turn.”
Perhaps it’s because I am a middle child that I found this article so … reasonably logical! It is tough to be the middle and I sympathize with my middle child, even as I realize we are both very much alike.
I don’t need to tell her about this research from the Daily Mail! She already is planning on becoming a billionaire. I asked her if she would visit me in my old age. She told me that she’d pay for someone to watch me, and she’d try to fit in visits here and there. Hmm… thank goodness the other children are more compassionate!
The full article is here. Interesting snippets are below:
- They have to bide their time and wait while the first-born gets to star in the school nativity play, or they wait while the last-born’s paraphernalia is piled into the car. So they learn the art of delayed gratification, one of the true measures of civilized behaviour.
- Interacting with those older and younger than them, they also learn the art of compromise. Less egocentric than the pioneering eldest or the coddled youngest, middles generally have a high degree of empathy, loyalty and the ability to see other people’s point of view.
- That is perhaps why, contrary to the received wisdom, they are more successful at relationships. In one of our studies, we found that 80 per cent of middle-borns remain faithful to their partners, compared to 65 per cent of first-borns and just 53 per cent of last-borns — perhaps because the latter are used to getting their own way, which, as we know, doesn’t always happen in a serious relationship.
- Understandably, middles are less attached to family hierarchies than their siblings, probably because they may not have such warm memories of family life. They often attach more weight to friendships and to the opinions of their peers than those of their elders.
- They tend to be less close to their parents and, in contrast to their siblings, are more likely to move away from the neighborhood where they grew up.
- Tellingly, despite the experience of their childhoods, they do not favour their own middle children but instead lay a great emphasis on fairness between all their offspring. Indeed, this attachment to fairness is one of the most striking features of middle children.
- That is perhaps why so many of the more ambitious of them become reforming politicians or agents for social change — because they are determined to confront injustice.
If you want to read more, try these books
Click on image of book to view more closely at Amazon.