The Middle Child Syndrome: Life as the Cream in the Oreo

By: Salma Mourad

Comes after the oldest, shortly followed by the youngest. Caught in between. It’s the middle child – aka the sandwich child.

“Maf3oos mabein ekhwato ya haram”

Ok, let’s go to where it all started. After a long and exciting wait, finally the first child is born. The birth of the family is based on them, they’re the beacon of hope and a future representative of their family. Through the passage of time, the parents’ fatigue and lack of enthusiasm clearly show when the 2nd and 3rd child are born. It gets a bit harder to offer all 3 of them the same amount of attention and be able to control them. Especially the 3rd child, since they’re the youngest and have to be taken care of the most. The youngest needs affection, love, and as they’re, well, the youngest. They’re also the hardest to take care of, therefore they’re the one all attention is directed at. That leaves us with our beloved sandwich child.

What’s their purpose then? The oldest is expected to be the Einstein of the family, and the youngest is the doted upon, valiantly precious baby. That practically leaves us no role for the one in the middle. I guess they came to be entertainment for their siblings or something.

They’re certainly not appreciated enough, though some might say they’re the cream in the oreo. They’re different than their siblings, and give the otherwise boring chocolate its great taste 🙂

Let’s be serious now. As years pass by, the middle child starts to develop something known to scientists as “middle child syndrome”; it’s kind of like a disease the child builds up over time. They feels unappreciated, excluded and oppressed. All that is a result of both their siblings normally being the center of attention. They starts to constantly victimize themselves, even when it’s not the case. They’re usually stubborn to prove their position between their siblings, and they’re more likely the troublemaker, to draw attention to themselves for once. Not only that, but they’re much more prone to jealousy than their other siblings. They gets jealous very easily, which is never a good thing, especially in future relationships.

Even though there are lots of negatives, the middle child has many good qualities. First of all, they’re very responsible and have a strong personality. They know how to depend on themselves, and not rely only on other people. They know how to argue, because they usually don’t get what they wish for. Lastly, they’re more sociable due to their being in the middle, they know how to deal with all age groups. When it comes to kids, they love and treat them as their own babies. When it comes to adults, they’re wise and know how to act around them. 

If middle child syndrome actually exists, I think it depends on the mindset of the child, and how their parents are dealing with them. If they ignore them, surely they will feel left out and start doubting themselves. That happens to every human being. It’s up to the family to show their child how valuable they are.

As a “black sheep” myself, I think I’d never want to change my position as the middle child. What’s wrong with being different? Isn’t that the whole point? Not to be ordinary? 
I admit, when I was younger, it wasn’t easy. I’d get jealous and feel victimized a lot. But then, as I grow I realize that having all the attention isn’t as great as it seems (you wanna have freedom, don’t you?) and being spoiled doesn’t end well. If you’re a middle child and you ever doubt yourself, just remember that Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Martin Luther King Jr, Jennifer lopez, Abraham Lincoln and Britney Spears (how influential, am I right?) were all sandwich children too!!! 

Happy now aren’t ya 🙂

your fellow middle child,
Salma Mourad

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