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Effective parenting tips for middle child syndrome

If you have a middle child who is neither as happy nor as responsible as the oldest and youngest kids, and you may be wondering whether it has something to do with your parenting, then yes, you are right. But, it’s not a problem with just your family because it is a problem for most households, and this specific disorder is called middle child syndrome. So, keep reading if you wanna know why it happens and how to treat it!

What is middle child syndrome behavior?

A psychologist, Alfred Adler, introduced the idea that birth order affects the development of the child, and in that idea, he introduces the middle child syndrome, which states;

“The middle child doesn’t get as much attention as oldest or youngest children, so they feel lonely in the family.”

Let us study the facts about middle child syndrome from 3 different aspects;

i) The middle child’s place in the family

ii) Common middle child characteristics

iii) Middle-child relationship dynamics with siblings

i) The middle child’s place in the family

The oldest has always had importance, especially in the old days when the firstborns were the rightful owners of the throne after the king. Even these days, when a couple gets their first child, they have fantasies, immaturity, and a lot of love, which makes them spend a lot & buy everything new, and give as much time as possible.

middle child syndrome behavior

For the secondborn or middle child, the parents have already fulfilled their dreams with the first child. As a result, their love diminishes slightly, and they do not spend as much time with the second child. Moreover, the middle child gets everything second-handed, i.e., from clothes to toys. So, the middle child feels kind of less loved, second best, or always trying their best to become as good as the firstborn.

In contrast, the youngest also get lots of love because parents think the older ones can take care of themself so they give the last one a lot of freedom and love.

ii) Common middle child characteristics

Here are some of the characteristics that may be seen in most middle children;

  • May or may not work well with others.
  • They are less religious and more scientific
  • Have less love & second-best inferiority complex
  • They are good negotiators and mediators between other siblings, parents, and friends.
  • They don’t follow in their older sibling(s) footsteps as they want to stand out by doing something different.
  • As they don’t get much love they don’t fight as much as the oldest & younger ones because they want to look good.
  • When they get old, they blame their parents for not loving them so they are the first ones to move out and farthest from the home.

iii) Middle-child relationship dynamics with siblings

The oldest children were always given attention and then responsibilities, so they got both love and respect. Similarly, the youngest one gets love as they are the weakest among siblings. However, the middle-class doesn’t get that much attention or responsibility ( respect ), and they are always treated second.

So, middle children develop an inferiority complex, which makes them work hard and compete with their siblings. In addition, they also act as peacemakers between the oldest and youngest siblings.

Causes of middle child syndrome

Causes of middle child syndrome

The main psychological, social, and environmental causes of middle child personality syndrome are;

  • Favoritism. The oldest and youngest are loved more by their parents, and the middle ones always get criticized.
  • Responsibilities. The oldest children are considered the heads of the house after their parents. The middle ones are always treated like kids and given no chance to prove themselves.
  • Social: Family worsens the condition indirectly by only praising the oldest/youngest child, making the middle child jealous, and friends directly worsen it by supporting their thoughts.

An experiment was conducted on 200 families. It suggested that birth order is only one factor among the many that define how a child’s personality develops. The other factors include gender, family norms & values, culture, community, friends, monetary condition, etc.

How to handle middle child syndrome behavior?

Middle-child syndrome starts developing at an early age, but it begins showing signs after age 7 or even earlier as it differs from person to person. As this is a psychological condition that develops over time, it will take months, years, or even decades to treat it fully.

Below are some tips to overcome the effects of this syndrome;

  • Parents must give more love and responsibilities to the middle kids so they feel loved and attached to the family. This also includes spending time playing, talking, cooking, watching TV, or doing what the kids like. This alone can make them feel as if they are an important part of the family.
  • Journal writing. Middle kids can develop a habit of writing a diary so they can express themselves deeply, which will help them understand their problems.
  • Stand up. Middle children must be taught to stand up for their beliefs and develop their boundaries with other siblings and parents. This will help them feel proud and eliminate their inferiority complex.
handle middle child syndrome behavior
  • Stop comparing and start celebrating. A jealous person can never live a happy life even if he/she has all the riches and facilities in the world.
  • Care about yourself. Middle children have an inferiority complex, so they think rest is not for them as they have much to achieve, but it’s wrong; everybody needs rest.
  • Outside help. The middle child needs more care so they can join groups like gym, art, and anyplace else where they have good friends, or they have excellent talent so everybody can praise them.
  • Parental controls. If parents think that their kids are sad and have developed bad friends or habits, they might consider using parental control apps. This can help them intervene and provide support in a timely manner.

How parental control apps can help middle children?

Parental control apps like FlashGet Kids have many features that can save middle children from many harms, such as;

FlashGet Kids
  • Screen Time Limit: Middle children feel detached from family, so they use mobile at an addiction level to ignore their problems. You can control it with FlashGet’s kids’ screen usage limit feature. This feature switches off a certain app or the whole screen when a limit is reached.
  • One-way audio & Camera access: Middle children often fall on bad friends to feel loved and end up getting used. So, to avoid that, you can use a One-way audio feature to listen to the surrounding music when they are in school, park, or away from home. You can also access the camera of the kids’ phones to see what they are doing, like smoking, sipping school, etc.
  • Location tracking: Parents can track their kids to know that they are where they must be, like in schools, friends’ houses, parks, gyms, etc.
  • Screen Mirror: With this function, you can mirror kids’ screens to your mobile and see to whom they are talking on WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.


Middle-child syndrome is not a scientific fact but it can be seen in many families. Well, the short key points are that parent must love their children equally and give the middle child more time & responsibilities. Moreover, parents must never compare their children to one another as everybody has their own growth speed. If you do all that then there is very little chance that the kid will develop harmful middle child characteristics.

But if time has passed and your middle kids have already developed this, then you need to do some extra work. Keep an eye on them using parental control apps like FlashGet Kids.


Why is the middle child always hated?

Parents often fulfill their dreams in their firstborns, and the youngest ones are always the cutest. As a result, the middle children naturally get less attention. But parents must realize this and give middle children more attention & care.

Which birth order is most compatible?

First and last borns are moist compatible as the oldest are dependent and the youngest need someone to take care of them (opposite law of attraction). In the case of the middle child, they may be compatible with the youngest ones.

Why is the middle child the hardest?

The middle children are mostly the hardest to take care of because parents pay less attention, so they get rebellious and detached from the family.

How does being a middle child affect adulthood?

Well, on the bright side, middle children achieve many things because they have an inferiority complex due to which they work hard. However, on the downside, they feel undeserving of love and attention from others. This insecurity can lead to sadness and the belief that their partner or friends can find someone better, which can ruin any relationship.

What does psychology say about middle children?

According to the 200 studies on families, some kids do develop middle child syndrome. But it is not always due to the kids having middle birth order; there are many other factors that can make the middle child develop insecurity, and some of them are gender, family values, culture, religion, society, friends, etc.

Kidcaring, Chief Writer in FlashGet Kids.
She is dedicated to shaping parental control in the digital world. She is an experienced expert in the parenting industry and has engaged in reporting and writing different parental control apps. For the past five years, she has provided additional parental guides for the family and has contributed to changing parenting methods.

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parental control
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Parental Control

FlashGet Kids
FlashGet Kids
parental control
Free download
Free download to experience all the features for child protection.