Are you a middle child? We have good news for you…

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

According to scientists, big sisters are smarter, little sisters are funnier, and your ranking in the family says a lot about you. But what about the middle child?

Well, in the eyes of the middle children, they have a hard lot in life; their oldest siblings reap all the privileges, the babies get away with everything, and they feel as if they’re constantly being overlooked.

However they’re finally taking the spotlight thanks to a new study, which has seemingly proven that middle children are more selfless, are more concerned with other's well-being and tend to give back more.

Or, to put it more simply, they have the biggest hearts of all their siblings.

The research, undertaken by the psychology departments at the University of Redlands and the University of Arizona, suggests that this is all down to the fact that middle children may not get quite as much attention from their parents as they think they deserve.

“The differences in parental investment and niche differentiation that shape personality differences between siblings […] also influence[s] other social relationships,” they write. “In particular, middleborns may be more likely to prioritize non-kin relationships.”

And that’s not the only special trait that middle children all have in common, either.

Professor Frank Sulloway, an expert in analysing birth order, says that middle children are also expert negotiators – and, again, this comes to the dominating behaviour of their older and younger siblings.

“Middle-borns are the most willing to wheel and deal,” Sulloway says, adding that they are “agreeable, diplomatic, and compromising”, and they “handle disappointment well”.

Crucially, middle children also have realistic expectations, are the least likely to be spoiled, and they tend to be the most independent, too.

Linda Blair, a psychologist and author of Birth Order: What Your Position In The Family Tells About Your Character, has also penned a report about “the role birth order plays on romantic relationships” – and it is, again, good news for middle born children.

Their role as “family peacemaker” – not to mention their “communication skills and adeptness at compromise” – helps them to open up to their partner and navigate tricky situations.

In turn, their thirst for liberation ensures that they maintain their streak of independence, friendship groups, and hobbies, which means that they tend to forge incredibly healthy romantic relationships.

Being the middle child has never been so good, has it?

Images: Rex Features / The Simpsons


Share this article


Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.