When it comes to birth order, the oldest and the youngest children are often the ones who get all of the attention.
The oldest is supposed to be the natural leader, while the youngest is universally known for being the baby of the family.
Ask any middle child and they will probably tell you that they felt underestimated or forgotten, which led them to act out in certain ways for attention.
One of the most famous middle children of all time, of course, is Jan Brady from The Brady Bunch. She was always jealous of her older and younger sisters, a feeling many other middle siblings might relate to.
But every person is different, and you can’t trust everything you see on TV. In fact, research has found that there are plenty of perks to being the middle child that are often overlooked.
One of the main reasons why middle children get such a bad reputation is because of a little something known as “middle child syndrome.”
According to Psychology Today, many middle kids deal with negative stereotypes, such as having no drive and being envious.
While this kind of talk about birth order seems to apply exclusively to families with three children, don’t be fooled.
A study found that in families of six or more, the biggest personality differences depended on whether they were in the older or younger half of the family.
Either way, every family size presents interesting birth-order characteristics.
Despite all of the negative press about middle children, there is actually significant research that shows just how exceptional these people are.
For instance, Katrin Schumann, the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children, answered some questions on the subject for readers.
First of all, she points out that oldest children usually get all of the credit for being the most driven. However, middles tend to just direct their efforts slightly elsewhere.
This means they might be more concerned with fighting for social justice or giving back to the community than earning personal power and prestige.
Most importantly, Schumann says that middles have plenty of skills that the other birth orders don’t easily come by.
They are excellent negotiators, which makes sense if you consider their position between the oldest and the youngest growing up.
Middles didn’t always get what they want, so they learn creative ways to do so, and utilize the social skills they developed by necessity to meet their goals.
One of the most exciting things about middle children is that they are more likely to actually practice what they preach. In fact, Psychology Today says that 52% of American presidents were actually middle children.
Dr. Catherine Salmon also tells Business Insider that middle children tend to be more independent than others as a result of having a slightly less “parent oriented” upbringing.
Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist, tells Parents that middle children might even get the best of both worlds because they can play off of their other sibling’s behaviors.
For example, a middle child may learn leadership qualities from their older sibling, and also learn how to be a little bit manipulative from observing the behavior of the youngest child. Of course, this depends on how close in age everyone is, and also has to do with gender.
If you’re a middle child, you most certainly aren’t alone. Other than the presidents, there are plenty of famous middle children who have left their very strong mark on America and the rest of the world (among them being Susan B. Anthony, who helped pave the way for women in the US to vote).
Martin Luther King Jr., who we all know was a champion for civil rights, was also a middle child.