Should I be worried about having a third child? My husband has concerns about what he calls “middle child syndrome.” Do you think his misgivings are justified?
You can tell your husband that his fears are largely unfounded. The good news is that middle children often grow up to be unusually well‐adjusted, easy‐going adults. Dr. Kevin Leman, who has done a great deal of research in the field of birth order studies, says that, on the whole, middle kids tend to do quite well. Their “in‐between” position teaches them to be flexible, balanced, and good at coping with a wide variety of situations. They also tend to be good negotiators.
Of course, there is a downside – as with anything else. The middle child’s unique experience of life sometimes inclines him to avoid conflict at all costs. Because of this, he often learns to keep his real thoughts and feelings deep inside. Parents need to affirm these children and encourage them to appropriately assert their Personal Power (Asset #37). Under certain circumstances, these characteristics can lead to problems later in life, particularly in marriage. That’s because in order to have a healthy, thriving marriage, couples need to be able to communicate their deepest feelings to each other. But this is not an issue that is likely to impact you, your husband, or the rest of your family during your kids’ early years.
To counteract some of these tendencies, Dr. Leman suggests that parents make an intentional effort to spend plenty of one‐on‐one time with their middle child – enough time to listen carefully to his heart and make him feel special. Parents need to be intentional to shower children in this position with Positive Family Communication – they may need extra support to feel as though they aren’t “lost.” It’s especially important that mom and dad avoid comparing the middle child with an older brother or sister.
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