Middle Child Syndrome

Whether you have a middle child, are a middle child, or know a middle child, everyone seems to understand that when it comes to placement in a family that’s the worst place to be. People have so many reasons for believing this; some think that the middle child simply gets forgotten for no reason, others believe that the eldest is the leader and the youngest is the baby, but the middle child has no real place. Other still believe that parents love the eldest child because he was the first, and the youngest because he is the last, but that the middle child has no real special place.

How much of this is true? Possibly none of it and possibly all of it; it could just be an idea that has continued to spread over time, and whenever a middle child happens to feel left out, they determine that it must be because of their birth placement. It could also be very real which would mean that something needs to be done to solve the problem. The question of whether this middle child syndrome is real or not is very debatable, but here are some of the facts that have been found so far.

What Are the Characteristics?

It’s important to keep in mind that just like with any other syndrome, these characteristics are general; just because your child shows different symptoms or doesn’t show any of these does not mean that they are not suffering in some way. Some of the most common characteristics include low self-esteem, jealousy, feelings of emptiness or inadequacy, unfriendliness, and a tendency to be introverted.

Middle children tend to feel that they are unseen, so they may suffer from low self-esteem. Even if they are capable of doing something, they may constantly ask for your help in order to get your attention. That old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” tends to be something that middle children live by. They tend to beat themselves up over the tiniest of failures and do not set goals for themselves.

For some reason, if you look at most families one parent tends to bond with the oldest child while the other tends to form a bond with the youngest. The middle child takes notice of this and feels unloved. This leads to their feelings of inadequacy and that empty feeling that many of us often experience. Jealousy also comes into play here because they resent everything that the other children do. In extreme cases, middle children even act out with what some would call “psychotic” behavior. All of that jealousy and resentment just piles up inside of them until they just lash out in anger or violence.

Middle children are often described as a little, “off,” as they just don’t seem to know how to fit in. The self-esteem issues that they have lead them to be very introverted and somewhat unfriendly. They are not necessarily incapable of making friends, they are just too shy and insecure to try and do so.

As you can see, it’s very difficult to catch middle child syndrome right away because there are two completely opposite and extreme personalities that your child could take on. The angry and aggressive child is definitely more extroverted and voices his anger very clearly. On the other hand, there is the introverted child who is quiet, lonely, and a little weird.

What Are Some Possible Causes?

So far, the causes of the middle child personality have been narrowed down to two main ones; an identity crisis and a lack of support.

Identity crisis is self-explanatory and after reading the characteristics, it’s easy to see that this is clearly a big issue. The middle child has no idea where he fits in, what is expected, or how to gain approval. They feel unimportant, unseen, and unheard; this leaves them wondering where they belong in the grand scheme of things. As previously stated, the oldest and youngest children tend to be the “favorites,” meaning that they form a closer bond with one parent or the other. While parents may not realize it, the middle child is very aware of this favoritism and is left feeling like they never get any attention.

Parents do not mean to be unsupportive towards the middle child, but it appears that it happens anyways. The middle child silently suffers and parents are unaware of it, which only leads to more and more issues. If anything, the middle child needs a little extra attention to ensure that they know that they are loved, appreciated, and heard.

Are There Any Solutions?

In all reality, the solution for middle child syndrome will vary greatly from family to family. In some cases, taking the time to talk with your child and allowing them to express their feelings may be enough. You can find out what it is that they need and then be sure to give it to them. In other cases, there may already be serious damage done, and the child and family may require counseling or other professional help.

One thing to be sure of though, is to not baby the middle child. Putting more emphasis on this syndrome than necessary will only take the issue to a whole new level and cause your child to be even more dependent on you and your approval. The key is to treat all of your children exactly the same; there is no reason to dedicate more time and attention to one child than another (unless there are special needs involved, and then the entire situation changes dramatically), and there is no reason to exclude a child. Take your children’s feelings into careful consideration before speaking or acting; weigh the possibilities of one feeling left out, and do what you can to ensure that things are always as fair and equal as possible.

Whether middle child syndrome makes an appearance in your home will depend a great deal on your parenting and family atmosphere. While you cannot dictate the personality that your child will have, you can do your best to make sure that the middle child does not become invisible.

Comments 53
  1. I feel like nobody loves me in my family. My little sister, she gets by with everything. My older sister, she just does nothing. She stays in her room all the time. But me? I have to take care of my little sister because my older sister dives and I get in trouble all the time. There's not one day I don't get smacked for something or yelled at. Sometimes I wish I could run away so I won't feel the pain but I just can't. Sometimes I wish I were never here so they won't worry about me.

  2. I feel the same. I am the middle child and I was frequently teased by my father and my youngest sister, who gets most of the love from my father. While my mother puts most of her attention to my eldest sister, I could not get any help from my mother to get away with the teasing from my father and youngest sister. I feel no one understand me in the family and I am always the abandoned one. Although I am already trying my best not to be a rule breaker in the family, I still got blamed or being asked to do something that no one wants to do in the family. I have really low self esteem when I was young and I got isolated by my peers because they thought I was really quiet and weird.

    However, things changed when I was becoming prettier thus boys and girls at school admired me and I became popular at school. I have more confidences and self esteem just because I got respect and appreciation from the outside world but not at home. Now I have graduated from the university and I got a job from a bank. I feel like I am the lucky already as I know there are some middle children who are facing the same situation but their futures are just depending on whether they could have their confidences back from the outside world. Even I have a good job and I got good results at school it doesn't mean that my family have changed their attitudes towards me. I still feel alone and being tortured spiritually sometimes and I just want to get away from this family as soon as possible. I know I am always the outsider in this family and I would give them what they need in the future. When my parents get old I would still take care of them or look after them, but it doesn't mean anything. It only means I have the responsibility to take care of them just because I am one of their children, but the hatred of me towards them world never change.

  3. I am a middle child. This article feels forced, like it was something they HAD to write about. Middle Child Syndrome is not made up. No one intentionally wants to suffer from depression, have abandonment issues, or feel unloved. I bet that 99% of us have had our birthdays forgotten as middle children. I have been to counseling for many issues and it boils down to being a middle child and how I was seen (or unseen) by my family growing up and into adulthood.

  4. Such a good article, as a middle child I can relate to every single one of these symptoms and signs, and I have to say I personally believe middle child syndrome is VERY REAL, and can have very serious effects on the child if not addressed properly. I'm now 21 and from the age of 3 (when my younger sister was born) I've subconsciously felt left out l, confused, unloved, different, forgotten about. It's only in the last few years when I've looked back at my ridiculous behaviour as a child/teenager and with the help of a doctor who is helping me with my depression and anxiety issues that I realised a lot of this has stemmed from my placement in the birth order. Even now as a young adult, everyday situations throw giant signals out to me that I will never be 'the favourite' as one of three girls this has absolutely killed my self-esteem, confidence and ability to have friendships or relationships with just about ANYONE, so much so to the point of being suicidal at 19 years old, and openly admitting I have no interest in ever having children and putting another life through this. The hardest part (which I know is not right but this is the way it can make you feel) is the resentment towards your parents for bringing you into this world, and I then in another breath, feeling guilty for feeling this way! It'll never happen, but I think it would be nice for it to be made a bit more known that in having 3 children, you do need to spend a bit of extra time with your second born! Good luck middle children!! There is hope for us!

  5. I am a middle child and can say that BAD PARENTING is the bottom line cause of ALL sibling rivalries.

    My parents FAILED to teach and train my 1 yr older brother to lovingly, happily and enthusiastically WELCOME me into HIS family when I was born. Due to this inexcusable FAILURE of my parents, my poor brother had to view me as a menacing INVADER who was stealing his parents love, attention and time and (later on) invading his toys and personal space instead of as a WELCOME and respected family GUEST and set about to punish and reject me at every opportunity. He hated my guts because nobody let him know that I should be loved and welcomed as a FRIEND!

    For me, my brother was a beloved, interesting, exciting friend and my personal hero for the first few months UNTIL I realized that he was not going to treat me very well and that I would have to get tough, mean and fight back to survive in HIS world. Our dad thoroughly enjoyed our toddler skirmishes and even taught us to FIGHT as little kids! We were given boxing gloves early on!

    I can completely understand my older brothers feelings now based on our IGNORANT parent's failures but at that time I never understood why we were such bitter, hateful enemies and our fights became very serious and dangerous by our early teens!

    Neither of us would have ever guessed that our hatred of each other, as little kids, was totally due to our parent's failures BUT even if we could have figured that out, we still would not have confronted our own parents about their pathetic FAILURES because we both adored and DEPENDED on them for everything. They were our GODS and there was no way we would have ever found fault with them or turned on them for their MISTAKES. We saw them as perfect, which simply left us with HAVING TO hate and blame each other (and our sister) for the unhappiness in our lives. We were actually VICTIMS of bad parenting but saw each other as the villains!

    My brother hated me for invading his world and I hated him for abusing me. The sad thing is that our parents could have and should have seen that our hatred of each other was coming directly from THEM. It should have been glaringly obvious to our parents that my brother’s bad attitude towards me was caused by their FAILURE to teach him to love and accept me! They should have known, the first time my older brother ABUSED me, that they had somehow FAILED to teach and train him to be good to me. They should have asked them selves: “Where did we go wrong?” But they, like most of you, stuck their stupid heads in the sands of DENIAL and pretended that it was just an unavoidable “kid thing” and we'd soon out grow it but we just got worse while they just got STUPIDER and STUPIDER!

    Then, when our little sister was born 4 years later and our STUPID parents did not prepare us for her entry into OUR family, both of us resented and hated her too but didn't dare treat her so bad cause dad & mom loved her more than either of us boys and protected her.

    Later on, our parents made the further STUPID mistake of making our older brother the BOSS over us kids when they were away from home! Since our older brother didn't like either of us, he was the worst and most dangerous “boss” imaginable and he and I had our worst fist fights while he was in charge of us kids.

    Now that I am grown up, it just kills me to realize that us kids could have been best, most loving and respectful friends our whole life IF ONLY our inept parents had made it possible by training us to happily accept each other from day one. We are currently distant, uninvolved and “cool” friends all because our parents FAILED to teach us to get along and love each other from the beginning.


  6. Every day I get more of an indication I'm not wanted in my family. This started way back when I was 11. I started noticing that all the biggest presents under the Christmas tree were for my older brother, and that the most presents were for my younger sister. Yet I had the smallest and the fewest presents, and many of them usually just cards with money in. I'm now 19. And after seeing my dad pay for my brothers first 125 motorcycle and half of his 600. And not need to pay him back all of it. I thought I would get the same treatment. I didn't. My dad paid for half of my 125, and then half of my 600 which I then had to pay him back for in full as soon as I was able to.

    I am usually unknowingly insulted and teased by both my parents and siblings.

    The only attention I ever get is after they have hurt me and I ask them to stop all they do is mock me for a few more minutes, call me a recluse and then tell me to get over it, it was just a joke.

    The last 2 Christmas' I have bought my parents and siblings the most expensive things they want that I can afford to get some attention. My sister got her 50cc Ped just before Christmas, as her present to help get her around. She had to pay nothing for it and won't have to pay anything for it. She doesn't even pay for the petrol in it. I got books I don't even like, a car sponge and gloves that don't even fit. And what did my older brother get? A £400 brand new snowboard.

    My mother has actually forgotten my name on more than one occasion and my father told me in front of my girlfriend and her parents I wasn't planned, they wanted a son and a daughter.

    My mother seems to be getting better at treating me fairly and treating me like a man, yet my dad still acts like I'm a 3 year old baby GIRL if I get any attention at all. He fails to hear me even when I'm asking for attention at all and won't see me as his son, that has now grown up.

  7. Middle child syndrome is real. I am a middle child and like I tell everyone "The oldest gets the attention because they were first and will be the first one to go while the youngest one gets the same amount of attention because they will be the last to go. The middle child is neither first nor last and the parents think they wouldn't really need that much attention. I have formed a hard shell and nobody but my closest and bests of friends can get through and that is I am not a very nice person and I am not really outgoing around my family but once I'm with friends I'm so outgoing and I can be nice. I am the problem child and when I was younger I was beat 3 times a day whether it was needed or not. I did the dishes, vacuum, feed the animals we have every morning and night no matter how cold, I have to do my sister's and brother's chores. I have become cruel towards people but it has also opened my eyes to let me see that sometimes there is evil intent behind some people's actions. I'm a loner but very creative. I ride horses often because I love my horses then my family and if asked would I take a bullet for my family I would say "A BB pellet." When asked if I would take a bullet for my horses I reply every time "I would die a thousand times over for my horses and not think twice even if when I die I shall rot forever in hell." I was then asked why I loved my horses more and I replied "They know I show no favoritism and they show none either. I love them and they love me and no matter what if I had to choose between them and my family it will always be them." I am careless but their options mean a lot to me and it always hurt when they say hurtful things but I never breakdown or at least not informs of them, I always go off and ride one of my horses and just cry. Another thing that upsets me is my sister got a brand new car well I have to wait for her car to be paid off before I get one but by the time it's paid off my brother will be driving and he has been promised a brand new truck. Middle child syndrome is real and parents don't realize they are showing favoritism but they are and if the middle child points it out they are called jealous and sometimes worse. My parents nor my brother and sister realize it but the first chance I get I am gone and I don't want to come back because of everything they have done and called me but for now I put on a brave face and count down the days until I'm gone.

  8. I'm a middle child and I agree with all the above, I no-longer talk to my mother. There is no love lost there at all if anything I hate her. I do adore and love my dad who tries to stay out of it all bless him.

  9. Hey, I just did a speech on the topic middle child syndrome n boy was I nervous phew but I did well thanks to your information which was credible 😀 so THANKKKKKKKKKKKKKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I'm the middle child in my family and I always feel left out… But when talking about trouble they always blame it on me, even if it wasn't me who did the wrong thing or what… I'm full of anger I feel that no one, NO ONE loves me at all!!! My big sister's always stays in her room and my baby sister just do whatever she wants to do… And me, I always get bossed around… I'm the one who get teased in my family… I used to wish that I could just die but there's no point, they might not even care…

    I tried to imagine every night that I could just have a different family and have better life but no way it would happen…

    I just hope for now that everything changes…

  11. I had known about this MCS when I was 16 and when I googled it up, it broke my heart to realize there was actually a term for what I've been feeling since young. For 4 years now, I have suffering in silence because yea, my parents adore my bro cuz he's the only son (traditional Chinese family) and my mum just loves my younger sister to pieces. These 4 years was hell, trying to get thru by myself without trying to show the hurt I felt. I guess my mum noticed and tried to help alleviate the loneliness I feel (and it pains me to see that she has to go out of her way for my stupid feelings) but she can't help sometimes and slip up and return to my sister's side..

    It hurts so bad. Sometimes it gets better when I don't think about it at all and time eventually helps to let me forget about it. But it takes just a tiny reminder from my tactless family to make it all come back with a vengeance.

  12. I have 3 siblings and I consider myself, the 3rd child, as the middle one. I have an older sister, an older brother and a younger brother. I believe I possess the middle child syndrome even though we are even in number because although my older brother was born second, and only a year before me, he is still considered as a first child along with my older sister. This is because he is male. My sister gets to feel the glory of being the first-born female and my older brother gets to feel the glory of being the first-born male. Obviously, the last child gets to be showered with unconditional, blind love. More so because he is an ADHD child. Apparently, he, in the eyes of my parents, could do no wrong and we are all encouraged, no, EXPECTED to feel the same.

    I hate birth order with every fibre of my being. If I said now that suicide has crossed my mind only once or twice (and that should already have been plenty a number for a child to want to die), I would be lying. No longer can I count the times I have wanted to cut my wrists, jump off a building, take my father's guns and just shoot myself (but that would be quite messy, I thought), and I tell you all I have thought of a hundred different ways to die. But no. I was too smart for that. Too religious. Too knowing that in my faith, one believes to be damned for eternity if one killed oneself. Only those thoughts keep me from my death bed. Not my family, not my friends, nor my dreams, and not even because I was afraid of dying.

    As a middle child, I was always the disappointment. Always the one who cried the most because she could never make her parents proud. I remember dreading the end of school ceremonies because I have no achievement to show my parents (I never was good at contests). I was always in the top 5 in class, almost never missed a step, but for some reason, I can never win a medal. Just one, measly medal, was all I ever wanted. They hated certificates. I had a lot of certificates… I wanted to burn them all. I am very smart, that I know, but I am always reminded by them that when they were younger, they were smarter. Wiser. And always I am reminded that I am a failure. Once, I scored 99 out of a hundred. I showed them my test paper thinking that finally, I can show them! But instead, they just frowned and told me, "So you got a 99. If you managed to do that, you should have managed a full score!" I was crushed. That may just be one of the lowest points in my life. I should be okay with all these, really. But I'm not because my sister, older brother, and younger brother get treated with more favor. My older sister is smart, a leader, but she is a demon. At least, acts like one. My parents say to leave her be because she is older and I have to respect her. My older brother is fair enough, but everyone treats him as if he can handle things better. I am only a year younger than him. I am smarter than him. He hasn't ever been an achiever in class, but he is good at speaking, so he gets a lot of medals. So much praise. My younger brother is just abysmal. He is stupid. He is lazy. He spends too much time playing games. He talks back, and he is psychologically incapacitated. But everyone's love for him ranks way above me. (Do I even HAVE a rank?) Once, he got a medal for being best in computer. That award is given almost in random or as a pity award. I got 5 certificates, and I was compared to him. "Why can't you follow your little brother's example? Look! He has a gold medal!" I am compared to absolutely everybody my parents can think of. I am compared to themselves, to my siblings, to my classmates, to our relatives, to THEIR siblings, etc etc etc and I absolutely hate it. Whenever I voice something out, I am not taken seriously. I have no opinion that matters. I say something, their minds drift off until I just stop talking. Then my siblings say the exact same thing and they are glorified. I try and take credit for my words and actions, and I come off as conceited. They are such gigantic hypocrites. They scold me and make me feel bad about something, and 5 minutes later they do the exact same thing. No one tells them off, of course. I mean, who would want to pick on them? Noooo. That is wrong. She was born 3 years earlier, he was born a year earlier, he was born 4 years later, that just can't be right. They are angels, the lot of them.

    There are a lot of things wrong with my family. My parents fight. Every. Single. Day. Oh, no, it is not normal. It is not normal when they are always on edge. When objects are thrown around, doors are kicked, threats of separation always, always there. I say I have grown numb to it, but my emotional wound grows each day. We also never communicate with each other. Everyone avoids talking about emotions, but everyone is just so openly brutal about their opinions in one's faults. I have pent up so much inside, it is eating me alive. I have no one to talk to. I can't tell my friends because they just have that look in their faces. I have always been good at reading people. That certain look that says, "blah blah blah your needs. How can you complain? You have the good life." So I never dared tell anyone again. No one understands. I am so, so envious of my friends. I have known them and seen their family cultures, and they still complain even though they are so, indescribably lucky.

    I have now grown enough to understand that this should never happen to any child. That my parents are far from perfect. Even far from just 'good'. They believe themselves to be adequate enough, though. I don't hate them. I appreciate everything that they have done. I am fed, clothed, sheltered, educated and disciplined. But I am not what I would have wanted myself to grow up into. I am broken, cold, and scared. Scared that I will commit the same mistakes if I were to raise children of my own. Also, I would have held my parents in higher esteem if for once, I felt loved.

    This is a real problem people. Don't turn a blind eye.

    Salute to middle children.

  13. I am only 12 and am a middle child myself, I seem to think all of this is true because it is how I am and how I behave… sometimes, I also believe that I have been treated too much like this "middle child" and I want it to stop, I am sick of all of the bad things that are bad with me or the way I am always mistreated or when I feel alone I feel like no one comes to me, they might come to me for 5-10 minutes and then go, like mum. I think it's because my older sister (14) has to look after me and my brother (8) and I believe that she is always trying to boss me around! And my little brother is still being treated like the baby! I mean he still scks his thumb for god sake! And whenever I tell him to stop in the one who gets in trouble and that is not the only thing I get in trouble for! I try to help and it always turns around on me and I get in trouble once again or I end up hurting someone else because of my idiot mistake! I just wish that middle child syndrome didn't exist and that I was treated equally like my brother and sister!


  14. I'm a middle child, and I'm turning 15 tomorrow, August 12. My parents forgot until last week. My dad had a big trip and so we're short on money, and my mom was busy. I have two little sibs; they have birthdays in the spring and autumn and get lots of big presents, for example I-pads, phones… and so on. I have an older brother with a winter birthday who gets HUGE presents because that's when people have money. I have a summer birthday, and that's when we're short on money. I get it I swear I do, but it hurts, my big brother gets a gaming computer that cost about eight hundred, maybe a grand, and then my mom says that I should be grateful for a $60 hair dye. It hurts, and I don't think they realize it.

    I have a lot of artistic talent, and my parents use that to impress they're friends, but I feel like that's the only time I get recognition. My dad makes fun of me as a joke, even when I ask him to stop, my mom mocks me when I feel horrible, and my older brother does nothing, NOTHING and my parents love him.

    They'll promise my brother 'you get all A this year and we'll buy you a laptop' I get all A's run three clubs, and even join sports teams although I'm not a team player, and I get a, 'good job' and then to my brother who got B's and C's if you do better in senior year…

    On top of this I lash out A LOT. Mainly at my brother, things like 'you did this a while ago' or 'why do you continue doing ___' and I'm sure it hurts him, and I only do it in front of my parents. I'm probably doing it to show them I'm better, they'll tell me my thoughts are unfounded and they probably are… but at the same time… it's one of the few times my parents have a ligament conversation with me. I want to stop doing this to my brother, and when I make him angry, he beats up on me psychically. My parents don't really do anything.

    I build walls of to protect myself like fake confidence and bravo but… it still hurts and I want it to stop. How, how do I do it?

  15. I am a middle child and I suffer from middle child syndrome. I am only nine but I have still noticed the impact of the situation.

  16. I am the eldest child, but my younger sister exhibits many of the characteristics. She gets the best grades but tries way too hard, and was constant tantrums. I'm closer to my mother, and my youngest sister to my father. I feel like this article fits perfectly with the situation, and I will try to make my sister feel more included and to get my parents to do the same.

  17. This article was exactly how I feel right now. I am a middle child, yes. I'm 13 yr old and I feel that my mom likes my big bro because my big bro likes to play around and knows a lot of things. Then my dad likes my little brother, I feel that no one takes time and enjoy their company with me. They would rarely do that I mean it they did it to me last year about 3-4 times. They talk to me but I see that their not enjoying what I'm talking about and doesn't even care, I guess. They took care of me last year because I was sick? I don't remember well now but I feel that they don't care about me because I'm the middle child. My sister died, she was the middle child and I was the youngest. So before she died, our family had another kid! So, when my sister died, I was the middle until now. My sister died on year 2007? And I feel really sad about my place in this family now.

  18. I feel the same way. In my family I have an older brother and a younger brother, I'm the only girl. You might think that being the only girl would give me more attention. No, it's actually the other way around. My parents say that they love me but never showed any affection. They always scream at me for not doing what they want, while my little brother plays video games all day. My mother absolutely adores my little brother, and I have no idea why. My father loves my brother, my brother is studying to become a doctor. I can't remember the last time my mother or father hugged me and told me they loved me. Sometimes I feel like leaving forever. I usually isolate myself from others because I'm scared they'll judge me like my parents did. This led to my really low self-esteem.

    To simplify: My older brother gets all the awards, my little brother gets all the love, while I get nothing.

    I know my parents care for me, not the same way the care for my siblings but in another way. I know I have a responsibility to take care of them when I get older, and I will.

  19. I suffer from Middle Child Syndrome. My mother cares more about my eldest sibling while my father cares most about my youngest sibling. My mother never pays attention to anything I say but when my eldest or youngest says something, she listens. My youngest and oldest siblings recently found out that I have middle child syndrome when I tried to tell them about it. My older sibling hasn't said anything about it and I feel she understands but my youngest sibling always teases me about it, blurting it out when I am at my most angry/upset.

  20. I suffer from middle child syndrome and it has never been easy. Feeling like you don't belong, like no one is listening. I also suffer from severe anger issues. I get the most angry about the littlest things. If you suffer from either of these things, it will get better. You, will be heard. There's this quote that gets me going and I hope it will help.

    because I know my weaknesses

    because I am aware of my flaws

    because I learnt to recognise, illusion from real

    because I learnt from my mistakes

    because I have felt hate


    because I have known sadness…

    Good luck x

  21. I am a middle child too. It seems that nobody in the family likes nor loves me. I was an introvert at first but I think I suddenly became an extrovert type because of the too much emotions that was compressed at an early age up until now. I wish my father and mother were that smart to read of some articles like this one. I wish that someday they will notice of my presence… there was a time that I left the house and I didn't tell them where I was… they kept on texting and calling me but I was just like ignoring them. When I returned home it seems like there's nothing happened. I was invisible again. They always blaming me for everything. For example, when my brother and I were fighting, they will blame me. When my younger sister and I were fighting they will blame me. When my father and I were fighting, they will blame me. When mother and I were fighting they will blame. I'm so tired. I'm always thinking that I should commit suicide, that I must die. My mother is also a middle child but why is it that she don't realize about my condition? I am crying right now because my mother is blaming me for something that doesn't require the word "me". At first, I was the baby until my mom got pregnant so now, I am in the cursed position :'(

  22. I am a middle child and I suffer MCS. It’s hard to know that you’re never supported. Last year no one wanted come to my dance recital. My dad favours my younger sister because he wanted a boy and she is a tomboy. My mom favours my older sister because she was her first born. It feels like my mom and dad don’t care about me even though I work hard to keep all a's on my report card. There is never a day when I don’t get yelled at for something she told one of my sisters to do. Sometimes I want to just run away. Some of my friends are middle children to but they talk about how fun it is to hang out with their family. We never get to do that. The only thing keeping me from running away is my friends and teachers that are so supportive to my dance and soccer career.

  23. Wow! This explains a lot. I wish I had heard of this before I got to be 60 years old and my parents are gone.

  24. I am a middle child. I am 59 yrs young. I have read the article and everyone's comments. I am sorry that we all have gone through this.

    Be the best you can be. Be happy and learn to focus on your attributes and interests. Ignore those who are mean. I am fortunate that my wonderful loving husband how awful my family has treated me. We love being together and doing fun things for nearly 40 yrs. If I could, I would give each of you a big hug. Be happy and focus on what makes you your best!

  25. My mother loves my younger sister. I mean she's a Girl Scout she's a cheat leader she's adorable. My father loves my older brother he's smart he's athletic. Meanwhile I have no friends I hate all of that girly girl stuff I can play sports or sing or dance I'm only an average student I literally have nothing to make me special. All day long the girl I hang out with so I'm not always alone complains that her little sis is a brat and eventually I just looked her in the eyes and said. You may have a younger sister divorced and remarried parents but u will never no suffering unless u have an older sibling a younger sibling and parents that treat u like a mistake or a problem they don't want to deal with. I feel so left out in life. I go into school with bloodshot eyes because I cry myself to sleep after my sister comes home from a Girl Scout meeting and talks about it and my brother praises himself over his latest race results.

  26. All of this is so true – it's taken me years to figure it all out, to look, learn, feel the hurt and pain, confusion, anger and sense of loss and not belonging. As so many have said, one day, I'll walk away and never go back. HOWEVER can I just say to you all, because of being a middle child, I am now strong, emotionally intelligent, independent, confident and celebrate my individuality and sense of 'self' every day. I feel free of the clingy, incestuous, inter – dependent game playing that goes on – "she said this, he did that, I want it, she said it" – I'm out of that and use it to my advantage, on the outside lookin in, I feel I'm in the best place. Honestly, life is too short, I'm in my fifties now, but feel liberated by understanding that I'm the free one. I am creative, expressive, generous, loving and FREE! Come on 'middleies' – assert, celebrate, LIVE!

  27. So true, I am a middle child I was always too young to be bothering my older sister but then too old to be childish like my younger sister. What the hell was I supposed to do? I am in my forties now and just had the one child who has turned out to be an amazing young adult, as I and his father have given him a wonderful childhood with none of all that bull.

  28. I am also middle child and I feel all the same as given in the article. But I googled through the article to know how to get rid of this feeling. I am very much aware of my feelings and the condition and also I know very well how they affects my decisions in every aspect of my life. I want to know how can I get rid of these feelings on my level. I know everything but still can’t come out of it.

  29. I'm the middle child to a family of 5 kids. As I can see how this article may describe how some other middle children think and feel, I disagree with it. Maybe it was good parenting? Maybe it was because I had so many friends as a child? I don't know, every situation is different. All I'm saying is, don't let this article label you and hinder your progress in life. I'm a successful marine, and don't let 'middle child syndrome' slow me down. F*$% the other siblings, anyway.

  30. "The key is to treat all of your children exactly the same; there is no reason to dedicate more time and attention to one child than another."

    This is pure non-sense… different children at different ages do not require the "exact same treatment." To imply that a two or three year old should be treated the same as the sixteen years old is not rational. The sixteen year old has more maturity, can handle more information both rational and introspective in nature, has more responsibilities placed upon them by society etc… whereas the three year old isn't even expected to understand the true gravity of "right" and "wrong" , truth v lying, harm from biting or hitting someone; thus, to expect the three year old to receive the same treatment for such behavior is ridiculous – should the three year old be treated like the sixteen year old and possibly incarcerated for biting someone or should the sixteen year old be treated like the three year old and given a "stern talking to" being careful not to "diminish their self-worth?" Rubbish.

  31. I am a middle child. My older brother got the most punishment because he was the first but he also got the most support from my mother. My little brother got the most love. My parents decided whatever I got that my little brother could get it also even though he was 3 years younger. My big bro and little bro would team up and pick on me. I would get in trouble for little things even though both my brothers got arrested constantly. I haven't spoken to my parents in 3 years and don’t believe I will ever see them again. I look back at my life and see them raising me as an obligation and not a son. Just an extra wheel.

  32. This is so friggin true, parents failed to show their love only to the middle child! Whenever I see my younger sister I can't help but get jealous the 8 years of me being the youngest before she came, is nothing compare to her, I am lonely hearing them laughing and joking at the other side of the room having a nice bonding with each other. I just can't help but wonder why I am like invisible to them when I'm trying to do my best for them but visible when I did something wrong… I feel depressed every night sometimes having a bad dream that I don't have a family to share awards, I am always the bad kid, the stupid, the lazy one but they don't know I was the one doing everything behind their back. It's okey to keep it a secret at least I did my best. I just need to get out of this house full of sad memories. I want to travel and forget worst things happened to me I also want to try to consult to some counsellor to spit out the heavy feeling s I have.

    Thank you for reading this, It makes my heart feel lighter than before knowing that I am not alone experiencing this kind family and environment btw, I love my friends because they are my PRECIOUS Family!

  33. This article is so accurate for middle children like me. It tells everything how a middle child feels and reacts to things. A useful and helpful report.

  34. I don't know sometimes. What to think? There are so many positive things about my life. I am very healthy, pretty athletic, attractive enough, part of the upper middle class.

    I mean, on the surface, I look like an it girl. Many are jealous of me. But there's really no need to. If they knew, they would not want to. Sometimes on the inside, I just feel so so terrible.

    When I was a little kid, I was always quite sick. Bad allergies and horrible asthma, and a small little girl. So I got a lot of attention. I got away with more things. (When I was younger, I was always a bit devious, manipulating, as I am, in many ways, now.) Even when my younger sister came along when I was four, I was still a lot like a youngest child.

    Then, when I was around 9, my problems faded away. I had learned to avoid my allergies, my asthma was SO much better, and though I was still small, I was pretty healthy.

    That's also around the time they stopped caring about me. It was very gradual. Basically, it snuck up on me. When I was about 11, things were terrible, terrible. I thought about running away periodically, every week. What the news would say, the look on my parents' faces as I left in the wind. I sometimes wondered what running away to live with a friend would be like.

    It was a silly sort of idea. My parents were very controlling. It wouldn't have worked.

    My imagination got the best of me. When I was in 4th grade, I started to escape into daydreams and special worlds I created, of princesses and ginormous mansions with five floors. Then there were boys, and hanging with friends, and fun gossip like that.

    These days, I don't even try. (Just pretend to on the outside.) Too old for such games.

    Instead, I plan. One day, I definitely want to have kids. 3 of them. But I know for a fact that I will be a better parent than mine ever were.

    I feel like I just barely cling to hope sometimes. I wish it were over so many times a day… Of course, now I wouldn't. Too much to lose. I am really really close to my little sister. My dad's nice enough, anyway. (The monster, the shower of favoritism, the horrible one, is my mother.) Love God too much. Most of all, I want to survive to one day get revenge on my parents. I will be very successful one day. It drives me. So what if they don't care about my all-100s? Someday Yale will. Then I can get out of Alabama, and away from my mother. Even if it hurts my little sister, it is what I must do.

    One day, I will be independent, successful, wealthy. Show them, all right. I am counting down the years until the glorious day comes.

    For now, I will be patient. As I have been for so long, and must continue to be.

  35. Middle child here too. I love my parents and family but sometimes maybe too much because all I can think sometimes is why I wasn't as special to them and I become upset because I shouldn't care… they loved me enough I guess. The outside world didn’t help at all… made it worse actually. I’m worthless I guess… anyone who sticks around long enough probably notices that and I just get used when I’m convenient.

  36. I just wanted to say this article helped me a lot, I'm the middle child and I often feel left out. My parents never take time to listen to me because they are too busy with the younger ones, so I relates to this article a lot. Thank you for the support. I sometimes feel like I should run away to just escape, so thanks!

  37. Thank God among my siblings I excel the most in academics. If it weren't for my accomplishments in school, my parents would've looked beyond me. But sometimes I feel like they remember me only when I achieve something… its kinda good because it inspires me to do better in school, but no child should work hard for his/her parents' attention. 🙁

  38. This is so true. I'm a middle child, and I have twins for an older brother (that just adds up my burden on not having the spotlight), and a younger brother, and an even younger sister.

    I had always felt as the odd one out in our family. Despite of garnering better grades and more achievements compared to my siblings, I still tend to feel unappreciated.

    Well, the fact is that we are truly invisible to our parents eyes. I had always felt unloved, inclusive of my 20 years living. I had always felt sad, jealous, and hate towards all of them. Why? Because they could never understand me. I even bet that they don't who I really am.

    My dad forgets my birthday, and my mom never attended to my needs.

    Eventually, I stopped talking/communicating to all of them. I have that much hate to them that I sometimes wish that I belong to another family, a family that I wish could've been better to me.

    Right now, I'm living miles away from all of them. And somewhat that made me appreciate who I really am and it has also made me hate them more.

  39. I am a middle child and am always forgotten it's gotten to the point where I can say I'm used to it but it kills me inside because I always compare myself to my older and younger sibling. My mum just doesn't seem to understand how much it hurts to be forgotten by the one person I look up to as a 'good influence' 😣😣

  40. I think the middle child syndrome is very real…. when my family was still together my older sister Mya (currently 15) and my younger sister Olivia (currently 6) were the favorites, Mya got all the rewards and medals, she was a star in sports and a genius in class, at home her room was always perfectly clean, homework always done, you know the perfect child.

    Olivia was the baby she could do nothing wrong and EVERYTHING she did was cute even when she threw a fit and broke stuff my father and relatives would coo and give her candy and toys in attempts to calm her down, she wasn’t all that bad though.

    Then there is me, Elle, a simple name that was often forgotten, I always felt from the age of 4 that I was different, it didn’t help that I was brown haired and brown eyed and my sisters were both blond blue eyed angels. I never won a medal, my grades were consistent Cs, Ds and Fs, I sucked at arts and sports (still do) I am mediocre in band, not exactly the good child, I love to get dirty, dirt is my friend whereas my siblings HATE getting dirty, Olivia freaks out if dust gets on her hands, she tolerates mud but only until it dries, Mya won’t even get near it, I’m the only child willing to take risks (for example I recently died my hair purple simply because I wanted too), I am currently the strongest out of my family I can take down my new dad, I began forcing myself to grow stronger in attempts to fight back against my older sister, she liked to hit me, not just playful smacks, her punches, kicks, smacks and bite would leave marks, I never ate much in my single digits (Mya either got the bigger helping or stole mine, but in the past year she has been staying out at my grandmas) now that I am 13 I inhale food like it’s an addiction, hence my sudden bulking up, I used to be scrawny and twig thin but if you saw me now you wouldn’t believe how much I have grown, I have a lot of anger issues though from being ignored through my life but now that the family has split up I have my time in the spotlight my mother, my ex step father, my biological father and my new dad finally recognize my strength and abilities, because of how I grew up I have a more primal mindset, The strongest survive, I learned that when I was 8 and I got knocked to the ground by my sister, now I am proud of how strong I am, recently me and my sister (along with my biological fathers family) went on a weeklong cruise ship, on That cruise my sister tried to hit me for telling her to shove off (I’m being kid friendly I assume you all know what I really said) for the first time in 13 years I actually hit her first surprising her enough for me to walk out and slam the door, that was the first day of my cruise the remaining six I stayed out as late as I wanted and I did what I wanted it was the best week of my life, from then on a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I’m growing more confident, I have my own dog (we are very close), and my own life now that my older sister moved away I miss her not the hitting I just miss the older sister figure.

    I have advice for the middle children that read this – DO YOU trust me, if you want pink hair get pink hair, if you want a tree house build it, if you want to become a world famous athlete you got this! If you want to discover a cure for cancer, don’t give up, ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE, live it to the fullest, no matter what comes your way you will pull through.


    Sincerely Elle~

  41. This article really hits home. I just turned 13 11 days ago. My parents have never EVER missed a single one of my siblings birthdays, not even an hour without being around them. But guess what day they decided to go on an overnight date, ya, a day before my birthday. They didn’t get back home until after 3 o’clock and when they did, no, they didn’t say hi to the person who was SUPPOSED to be the center of attention that people would infer from seeing my sibling birthdays, no, it was, of course, my little sis, the “angle”

    Now, I have to admit, my life isn’t horrible, I have clothes, food, a dog, and my parents even decided after 7 years that I could get a cat. Yay right? Sure. A kitten makes up for all the years I spent being forgotten and left out. Totally makes up for it.

    Now, my older brother wasn’t that bad. In fact, he pretty much was the person that took care of me from when I was 4 years old (when my little sis was born). I hung out with his a lot even before that. But because of this, I grew up as a tomboy. My mom wanted a girl she could dress up in pretty dresses and skirts and show off to people how sweet and innocent her little girl was. But no, I turned out only wearing jeans graphic tees and HATING dresses and overall having to dress up. Even now for band concerts, I dress more like the boys do. So naturally, when my little sister was old enough to make some of her own choices and she very strongly hated jeans and loved fancy stuff, my mother took to liking her.
    My dad, well he’s not as bad, he I think gives me some attention because I’m the first girl, but not as much as you would think. Mostly he plays shooter games with my brother, where they bonded. I wasn’t allowed to play shooter games until this year, but of course, I suck at them because I’ve only played like twice.

    Both my siblings get attention because they are both emotional people. I started my life like that, but soon, I learned that when one of my siblings and I were hurt at the same time; I would be the one that would get ignored. So, because of this, I learned how to take care of myself. I started bottling up ever emotion and hiding the fact that I was alone at school because at school because I acted younger than I actually was because I didn’t get to have a childhood at home. I hid this and tried to fix it myself. The end result? 1 friend when I started middle school. I had no classes with her so it was like having no friends at all.

    Because of all this, I don’t let people see me cry, I always want people to see me as happy go lucky because I don’t want anyone to have to deal with my pain. I bottle up all my emotions and pretend everything is ok and never ask for help because I don’t want to be a bother. I even feel horrible making this comment but I feel like it’s so so SO important for people to hear actual stories about people going through the same thing as them, or to see the effects that being ignored has on a person so that if they have a middle child in their family they can try to right things… but I have to be honest, the chances of things changing is sad, very small if the damage is dug too deep. The damage to me and my family is too deep to be fixed but I know there are still people out there that can be helped. Going through this is not something that someone should have to do alone. So please, if your reading this and you either are the sibling of a middle child or know a middle child or even are a parent of a middle child, talk to them, maybe the damage isn’t too deep and the bond that middle child has with their family can still be fixed. Middle child syndrome is completely real, and it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked. We want the love we deserve, don’t ignore us.

    If your friends with a middle child, give them a little love, they don’t get much at home, that little bit of love could save them, I know it did for me. So even though she will probably never see this, but who knows I might show this to her so she understands more, I want to thank my best friend, she’s the greatest and made me feel like I actually had a reason to be on this earth again.

    1. I am not a middle child myself but am friends with one. Your comment really helped me help her. Thank you for opening my eyes up to this real problem, and I hope you are able to recover. Stay strong!

  42. As a middle middle a middle child #5 in birth order of 7 kids and and the middle out of 3 girls I totally get your pain! However I am 52 and of course not a teen anymore. The points you make are valid and understood. Please remember you will be stronger as an adult and the tomboy part is quite real, but will eventually give way to loving your femininity at least mine did! Hang in there sister! Birth order is a strange thing but very natural. Glad you wrote about it!

  43. Why do people constantly make it seem as if being an introvert is bad? People really need to do some research. What many call introverted really isn’t.

  44. Few days back I came to know how our early childhood affects our personality and how we keep repeating the things unconsciously, how our behaviour is direct consequence of this things. I realized I was compared with my older sister all the time… This comparison wasn’t done by my parents but my grandparents and my relatives. Both of my parent’s father and my mom’s father lived with us for long time. These people always treat us like she is much superior to me. My dad’s father treated me as if I never existed he used to ask for my sister all the time, it was me helping him for all his chores but I don’t remember he ever asked for me. I always kept pleasing him by being good girl (maybe I was so stupid)… When my younger brother was born my grandma treated him as king, since he was the only son. I remember I used to think that I am favorite of my mom’s father. He was neutral to all of us so I fooled myself that I am his favorite… My relatives always made me feel like I’m inferior. May be she is good at few things but it doesn’t mean that I am worthless as they behave.

    My parents know we are not same but we all are equal for them. May be I suffered from mcs but when we shifted to city, just my parents and my siblings, it was like recovering from it. My parents favoured our own personalities. Even if I’m not as good as my siblings at few things they never made me realize that.

    Whatever happened has its share to shape my personality. We should be able to know where their roots lie, and find best possible way to be yourself without getting affected by your comparison with others, how stupid people treat you without knowing you. You are king of your own empire.

  45. My brother is a genius and my sister is good at math, but I just sit in my room and watch anime.

  46. Seriously, this whole Middle Child Syndrome is nothing more than sh1tty parenting. The comments especially show how terrible these parents are.

    There shouldn’t be any excuses for how they treat any child. There are tons of parents who make time for each of their children and make sure they know they’re just as important as their siblings.

  47. Our family consists of 6 members:

    Oldest brother 30y, oldest sister 28y, youngest sister 24y, older brother 21y, me 20, youngest brother 18.

    And I have to say that I do feel the MCS. When I was younger my parents always used to fight every day mostly about financials, and other problems now I don’t remember, sometimes the problems got so serious that my mom threatens my father by suicide and she attempted suicide few times but we always stop her, either by taking the knives out of her hind or by making her expel rat poison pills, at one point we had to hide all knives in the house for days, and she (always after the fights) used to hide in a room and look herself for a couple of days and my sisters were tasked to talk with her from time to time and my dad sometimes does the same… now my oldest bro is a doctor and my oldest sis is a pharmacist and we all got good to near perfect grades in our education (I and my other two youngest brothers were enrolled into the gifted program) and now I’m studying in uni. Now the relationship with my mom is good she doesn’t fight anymore and she stopped getting involved my father’s business. All my older siblings resent my mom and my older brother doesn’t speak with her at all.

    Not to misunderstand, most of the days my mom is a completely normal caring mother and she takes care of everybody’s needs, she does the chores and buys us clothes, etc, etc… the fights are strict with my father (and sometimes oldest brother) and always escalate dramatically.

    To me, yes in all normal day to day life neither my mother nor my father gives any care or attention to me when I was younger, all my siblings even my younger brother and my father used to tease me, and they still do sometimes. but when I think about it, I’m truly grateful for being the middle child, my older brothers and sisters took care of all the problems my family faced and they in a way protected me (and themselves) when I needed protection. AND I was always free to do whatever I want and say whatever I want (I used to talk back to everyone including my father, but a good thing he never cared to take me seriously).

    So by being the middle child, I was free, protected, provided for, and I was able to truly be my true self and now that my parents are older they are relying more on me and my younger brothers for support… and I’m happy to help. I don’t resent them for things they didn’t know or couldn’t do.

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