Tutor Doctor | Aug 31, 2015

Overcoming Middle Child Syndrome

Categories: Elementary School, High School, Middle School
Photo By Angela GS

Middle children do have it tough; they have to live up to the achievements of their older sibling and compete with the cuteness of their younger brother or sister. Middle children really do tend to get less attention simply because your oldest child had you all to themselves for a while there and the younger one’s needs are greater.

Middle children can feel left out and may act up to get your attention, becoming competitive or demanding. While some middle children suffer from a lack of self-esteem, they also have some positive traits that count in their favor. Middle children tend to be more independent, flexible and generous. You can avoid the usual behavioral issues of middle children with a few simple techniques:

There’s nothing like attention

This seems like a no-brainer, but life gets in the way sometimes and the middle child may very well be overlooked. Ensure that you have ‘special’ times in each day that you spend with your middle child individually. Incorporate this into your chores or you may find you don’t have enough time. Read a bedtime story together, help her with her homework or walk the dog together – just a couple of minutes a day that belong only to them will help them feel included and special.

Bill Kaye is a busy professional who felt like he wasn’t spending enough time with his daughters, so he started the tradition of Sunday morning breakfast. Each week, he takes on of his three daughters to breakfast. The girls love their time with dad and it has improved their bond with him.

Be fair

This is a tough one as your children will be very different from each other. Always try to give each child an equal amount of love, time and affection. Reward achievements, but don’t compare your children to each other. “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” only fosters resentment.


The gap between the your youngest and oldest is a big one and this may mean that you rely on your middle child to be the peacekeeper when disputes arise. This is your job, and while you may not always have the time, try not to get your middle child involved in arguments that aren’t theirs.

Celebrate individuality

Your middle child will want to emulate their older siblings, but this may breed competition and resentment. Instead, encourage your middle child to find their own voice, their own interests and their own extra mural activities.


Of course this is a great money saver and hand-me-downs are inevitable, but do let your middle child have some new clothes and toys once in a while. After all, you can hand these down to your youngest!