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How do you make a middle child feel special?

(29 Posts)
annieapple7 Wed 19-Sep-07 22:32:17

Hi all,
I have been reading Psychologies magazine in the bath and have realised I have practically ruined DS2's life by making him the middle child!
They are mosre likely to do worst at school, and to find it harder to do well in later life.
I have a DS1, 5, DS2, 3, and DD1, 8 months.
Come on mums of 3, how do you make your middle child feel special?

annieapple7 Wed 19-Sep-07 22:37:32


funnypeculiar Wed 19-Sep-07 22:38:07

<<lurk as considering a third - like about half of mn>

fingerwoman Wed 19-Sep-07 22:40:32

I don't have 3 children. But I am pretty sure that if you treat them all the same (ie, not singling any of them out), give them plenty of love and support then they will all turn out fine.
You shouldn't have to make him feel special any more than you do with the other 2, because that's like saying "i think you aren't, and we needc to make a special effort" if that makes sense?

sazzybee Wed 19-Sep-07 22:46:45

I dunno - the eldest is always going to have had time on their own, no one else via for their mummy and daddy's attention. And the youngest is always going to be the baby. So I think you do need to make a special effort with the middle child - not so as they'd notice especially but so that you make sure you don't overlook them.

But speaking as the middle child (can you tell? ) who did get shoved to the back of the queue in a lot of ways, I did the best at school of the three of us and am 'successful' in the sense of having a good job and all that. So don't worry too much

Isababel Wed 19-Sep-07 22:49:24

From my personal traumas (sorry! grin) of being a middle child I may suggest the following:

- Spend some time alone with him. Even if he doesn't seem in urgency of it. Middle children grow up to be independant because mum is very busy helping first child with all their "firsts" or dealing with the more immediate needs of younger children.

- Be fair, if you are going to have a rule be consistent, you can not bend it because poor older child is to start secondary school tomorrow, or poor little one needs a night story. If you set it stick to it or bend it for everyone.

- Do not ever asume that he is like he is because of being a middle child/sandwich syndrome or whatever. He is like he is because someway he is not getting the attention he needs.

- I have to say that eventhough I was the middle one of 3 children I think I have been the one that did best at school, and found it easier to do well in life. But that was because I spent half of my life trying for the proverbial aproval of my parents. I can not say that I have succeeded regularly in that, but in a way I'm grateful as I would have never been the person I am, if I had not learned to fight for my own dreams rather than expecting mum to serve them on my plate.

pointydog Wed 19-Sep-07 22:49:56

I agree with fingers. Don't go pandering to them just because they're middle. Love them the same, no big deal

yelnats Wed 19-Sep-07 22:52:23

mmm watching with interest as a 3rd has crossed our minds - though not for a while yet dd2 is only 7months.

ProjectIcarusinhercar Wed 19-Sep-07 22:54:06

Middles can be too small for stuff and too big for stuff (toys, adventures behaviour etc) all at once which is a bit crap. I would keep an eye out for that I think.

annieapple7 Wed 19-Sep-07 22:55:17

Thanks for the feedback, esp Isababel - it is a difficult one, by making an effort to make him feel special, it could be as though I am making a problem that isn't really there. But I am sure that going from being the baby, to not, must have an effect. I think some time one-on-one is the best idea.

annieapple7 Wed 19-Sep-07 22:58:28

Oh and according to the magazine a 2 or 3 year age gap is the worst for this....wah wah.
We have beeb guilty of taking the eldest out on his own on his bike now he is stabiliser-free, we need to do the same with DS2.
And he has just started nursery school, so he can start carving out more of an identity for himself, without always being with DS1.
I am probably worrying too much. hmm

unknownrebelbang Wed 19-Sep-07 23:02:39

It's a balancing act between treating them all the same but also as individuals.

You have to be consistent, but you have to ensure that their individual needs are being met.

We find that whilst DS2 gets to do more activities (he can do things with both DS1 and DS3) he gets little individual attention.

Individual attention with three can be quite difficult sometimes anyway, but somehow it's easier to get time naturally with DS1 and DS3. We have to make time for DS2.

LittleBella Wed 19-Sep-07 23:05:29

LOL I read this as "how do you make a middle class child feel special" and was looking forward to a classic mumsnet thread. "Buy him a wooden bike" "Christen her Jocasta" "Let her choose a boden accessory for every 10 minutes of piano practice she does".

Sorry, I'll get my coat.

cat64 Wed 19-Sep-07 23:06:51

Message withdrawn

sazzybee Wed 19-Sep-07 23:08:01

Sorry, I meant no one else vying for their mummy and daddy's attention.

gibberish Wed 19-Sep-07 23:08:08

Okay, when I was growing up, my brother got to do lots on his own as he was the oldest. Occasionally I would go with him to places. My sister, being the youngest, would do lots of 'little girl' kinds of things and I would usually have to tag along with her. I seem to remember resenting that I rarely got to do things just for me... perhaps that is completely wrong and I am being unfair to my parents, who were completely impartial and loved us all individually, but that is the memory I am left with. So I would say, make sure the middle child is given individual attention at times, and allowed to take part in activities on his/her own without either sibiling. This will make him/her feel as much an individual as the others as I think that one of the hardest things about being a middle child is the lack of position or identity in the family. Sorry for the rambles...

gibberish Wed 19-Sep-07 23:09:07

Sibiling??? See, I'm so traumatised I can't even spell the word grin

ProjectIcarusinhercar Wed 19-Sep-07 23:19:41

<Nods along with Gibberish>

What a fabulous sentence grin.

gibberish Wed 19-Sep-07 23:25:38

Thanks grin

clutteredup Wed 19-Sep-07 23:28:41

MIne are the same age as yours annieapple, we worry too but DD1 the middle one, has nevr wanted to be little so being a big sister rather than a little one was goof for her when dd2 came along. we tend to remark that she has the advantage of being both whereas the other two have only the one position, big brother, little sister. we give ds priviledges for being older which dd1 will have too when she's older so i feel that dd2 has the raw deal as she'll always be the youngest, te first to have lights out etc. I think that the advice to love them the same and treat them fairly is the best, its how you love them and what you give them in terms of time which is important not their position in the family.

ELF1981 Wed 19-Sep-07 23:32:42

I'm a middle child (there is a funny thread on this btw) and I actually did better at school than the others.

older sis - did GCSE and two A Levels
me - GCSE, A levels, OU course and now studying to be an accountant
younger sis - did GCSEs

I personally (as a middle sibling) think that you have to let the middle one use their voice - it is easy to get lost between the two others iyswim.

dolally Wed 19-Sep-07 23:33:44

my middle was the first to get an mp3 (for her birthday) out of our three...just happened like that and I was quite glad as I occasionally have the odd pang of guilt about her being in the middle.

One bit of advice I would echo is try to make them ALL feel special in their own way. Being one of 3 is hard work sometimes and a REAL TREAT is for each one to have time on their own with you. You could start this now with the older two.

As they get older you can make it into a family tradition. Every couple of months I take one of ours, in strict rotation, for a weekend at grannys's/friends/relations. They LOVE it, I'm relaxed, we can do things particularly suited to whichever child it is...real quality time.

You could do absolutely anything ...a day at the sea, in town, whatever your budget allows, so long as its a day totally out of their usual routine...without having to compete with their siblings....and that it's a regular thing.

We always bring back a little gift for siblings so the two left at home get a little pay-off too!!

Ettenna Thu 20-Sep-07 07:51:53

I'm a middle but the only girl which probably helped a bit.
I do remember having to be the peacemaker quite a lot. Did well at school though. I don't think there's a whole lot in it, tbh. I think it depends more on the individuals, the age gaps and the genders.

gess Thu 20-Sep-07 08:14:13

We've always tried to make sure that ds2 (aged 5) has some of his 'own' stuff. So he does Stagecoach and goes to granny and grandads alone overnight. Do feel we have to make a bit of effort with him at the moment as he has a stroppy 2 year old brother and a severely autistic 8 year old eldest brother, so he often has to act as the eldest/be the most sensible/help me despite not actually being the eldest.

As ds3 grows up I'll probably treat ds2 and ds3 as a kind of mini unit (this is beginning to happen) and ds1 as separate (so both ds2 and ds3 will have to help their brother/me- actually ds3 loves telling ds1 what to do so it might work well). Hopefully that will work. DS2's position is difficult and I do kind of feel we have to actively keep an eye on him.

juuule Thu 20-Sep-07 08:14:28

My sister was the middle child of 3. Did the best of all three of us

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