Move over, Marcia, it’s time for the Jan Bradys of the world to have their moment. New research has found that middle children, long believed to be the disadvantaged members of the family, are more likely than their siblings to be successful. That’s right, Jan! Being a middle child is actually the best.
In researching her new book, The Secret Power of Middle Children, Katrin Schumann discovered that middle-child stereotypes don’t match reality. “Far from being doomed to failure and loneliness, middle children are more likely than their siblings to be successful and enjoy strong social lives and flourishing careers,” Schumann wrote in an article for The Daily Mail.
Schumann found that middle children tend to have excellent communication skills, a gift for friendship, a powerful sense of justice, and an ability to negotiate. These are all characteristics high achievers possess in spades.
Middle child stereotypes don’t match reality.
There are lots of famous middle children out there, like Bill Gates, Julia Roberts, and Nelson Mandela. Schumann also points out that 52% of all U.S. Presidents were also middle children, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy.
Patty Stonesifer, chief executive of Martha’s Table, a provider of food and clothing for low-income people, attributes her success to birth order. In an interview with the New York Times, she said, “Being in the middle taught me to use my voice. I was a talkative child, I had a lot to say, and I knew how to get my points across at an early age because there were a lot of people with a lot to say at the table. Being right in the middle also teaches you that it’s not about you. Some of my first memories were folding diapers for my younger siblings or taking somebody’s hand to go to school. It was always about making sure that the whole came together.”
So take heart, parents. Middle child syndrome might be a thing, but it’s going to benefit them in the long run.
(Image: Bob D’Amico/ABC)