The Biggest Complaints Every Middle Child Has

The Biggest Complaints Every Middle Child Has

Being the middle child can be pretty rough. Sitting right in the middle of an older sibling and a younger one, you're the bridge that draws them together. In some ways, it might feel like you have to be a chameleon, changing to fit whatever needs your older or younger sibling (or even parent!) needs. That's why we're giving you all a voice today - here are 20 of the biggest complaints every middle child has.

1. Invisible Child Syndrome

It's not uncommon to hear a middle child complaining about being the family's camouflage expert. When you've got an older sibling getting support as they venture into new experiences, and a younger sibling getting all the attention because they're "the baby," where exactly do you fit in?

Zakaria-Mohie-06Badk2Dlf8-UnsplashPhoto by Zakaria Mohie on Unsplash

2. Hand-Me-Downs Galore

If you're the middle child in a family, prepare to see your wardrobe...look exactly like your older sister's or brother's from about a year ago. Because all you're getting are hand-me-downs. Why would your parents spend extra money if they can just pass on perfectly good clothes to you?

Bipin-Saxena-Pe Nl 9Msoe-Unsplash (1)Photo by BIPIN SAXENA on Unsplash

3. Negotiation Skills Master

Being the middle child is exactly like being the middle man - you're the mediator of the family, the one to keep your siblings in place when fights go awry. Whether it's helping decide who gets the last slice of pizza or who's turn it is to play with a toy, you're always there to calm down the fight.

Juliane-Liebermann-Ci8Mtffjkwk-UnsplashPhoto by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

4. Emotional Independence

Compared to your younger sibling who has you to lean on, and your older sibling that has you to vent to, being the middle child can sometimes feel like you're stuck. Who are you supposed to go to when you want to talk about your feelings? It can be difficult for middle children to express their needs, which is also why they're commonly noted to have stronger emotional independence.

Hermes-Rivera-Naqskuysyfy-UnsplashPhoto by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash


5. Expert at Being Blamed

Whenever something goes wrong, your brothers and sisters are likely quick to point the finger on you - you're the middle child after all! The youngest is too innocent to get yelled at and the oldest is supposed to be "too responsible" to get in trouble. Sadly, that just leaves you left.

Jaikishan-Patel-Erauug2J5Fm-UnsplashPhoto by jaikishan patel on Unsplash

6. The Car Seat Squabble

For every road trip or quick drive down the street, middle children know exactly where they need to sit when it's time to jump in the car - the middle seat. Arguably the worst seat in the car, you have to deal with both siblings on either side, elbowing you and intruding your personal space. Maybe you get the best view straight down the middle, but that's just grasping for straws.

David-Emrich-Lcspq36Q2Us-Unsplash (1)Photo by David Emrich on Unsplash

7. Old Enough Yet Too Young

Too young to hang with the oldest, but too old to play with the youngest. Being the middle child is pretty rough, eh? It always feel like you're stuck in this weird limbo where you're never "at the right age."

Ismail-Salad-Osman-Hajji-Dirir-V7Ft5Ngiefa-UnsplashPhoto by Ismail Salad Osman Hajji dirir on Unsplash

8. Social Comparison

Conversations with family friends or other relatives always turn out the same: the middle child always gets compared to their other siblings. Whether it's bringing up achievements or goals, why do people love putting pressure on siblings to compete so much? 

Nathan-Dumlao-Kfdrrt0Exq8-UnsplashPhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

9. Permanent Babysitter

Being the middle child means that you're older than the youngest, which means you're capable of being the babysitter. When your parents want a fun night out and your older brother or sister is "too cool" to babysit, you're left to defend the house on your own. Why pay for a babysitter when you're right there to take over the task?

Juan-Pablo-Rodriguez-7F Gsuxmioq-UnsplashPhoto by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash

10. Achievements Overlooked

Having the role of the middle child means you're stuck in this awkward place where your achievements aren't the first in the family, but they're also not the last that needs to be celebrated. While your older sibling is celebrated for being the first to graduate, get a car, and so on, you're kind of just seen as following suit.

Ashwini-Chaudhary-Monty-0Zaiknp J10-UnsplashPhoto by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty) on Unsplash


11. Permanent Peacekeeper

Who wants to be stuck in the middle of arguments all the time? When your oldest and youngest sibling is busy screaming their heads off at each other, you likely step in as the referee. That's because when the age difference gets too big for them to understand each other, you're right dab in the middle. You're good at seeing both sides of the situation.

Vitolda-Klein-Nru3Pmn8Tji-UnsplashPhoto by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

12. Consistently Compromising

Sometimes, it's too much work trying to fight to get exactly what you want. Besides, when you're the middle child, you're likely the one always compromising. Whether it's picking out a movie to watch or choosing what to have for dinner, it's really just easier to say the usual, "I'm fine with whatever everyone else wants."

Rachel-O3Tiy5Piork-UnsplashPhoto by Rachel on Unsplash

13. 'Middle Child' is Your Personality Trait

A lot of people see being the middle child as a defining trait. For some reason, when others find out that's your role in the family, it's like it becomes your entire personality. "Do you only get hand-me-downs?" or "Is it true you always get ignored?" always seem to be the only things they care about.

Allen-Taylor-0Cmjrw5Roj8-UnsplashPhoto by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

14. The Experimented-On Child

This might also apply to your older siblings, but everyone in the family is basically fair grounds for testing as parents try to perfect their methods for the youngest. It's thanks to your efforts that your youngest sibling gets such a smooth ride - your parents are too tired by the time the last baby pops out!

National-Cancer-Institute-Vjvsenr Vne-UnsplashPhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unspla

15. Lack of Privacy

With so many siblings around, when can one ever find the time and space to have some good ol' privacy? Worst case scenario is when there aren't enough bedrooms for everyone - guess who's the one that's going to have to share with either the oldest or youngest. That's right, it's you. The middle child.

Lucia-Macedo-Uw9Vksfrfxg-UnsplashPhoto by Lucia Macedo on Unsplash

16. Generic Gifts Collector

For some reason, parents just struggle with gift-giving for the middle child! Do they follow the path of what they got the oldest? Do they try something different? This struggle might lead to a mishmash of gifts over the years.

Kira-Auf-Der-Heide-Ipx7J1N Xuc-Unsplash (1)Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash


17. High Expectations

Living in the shadow of your older sibling while trying to make a name for yourself and stand out from the youngest is truly a challenge. How do you live up to standards set by the oldest while also trying to set a good example for the youngest? Being the middle really is a juggling act.

Max-Titov-Qjcpk6Pi8Se-UnsplashPhoto by Max Titov on Unsplash

18. Less Parental Supervision 

After the first baby, parents likely become a lot more relaxed with their second child. And that second child is you unfortunately. This can affect you in a variety of ways. Maybe your parents just put less effort in, provide less supervision, or leave a lot of the guiding up to your older sibling instead.

Myles-Tan-Wnao036C6Fm-UnsplashPhoto by Myles Tan on Unsplash

19. Confusion Over Family Stories

The more children in the family, the harder it is for parents to remember who did what exactly. Was it you who tried to draw over the TV? Or was it your brother? At some point, it becomes easier to just smile and nod. 

Zahra-Amiri-Jbcxo430Pkm-UnsplashPhoto by Zahra Amiri on Unsplash

20. Mismatched Milestones

By the time you start reaching certain milestones, being the middle child simply means you're not the first. While your older sibling got all the glory and affection from your parents, you graduating doesn't seem as shocking or awe-inspiring when someone in the family already did it.

Gabriel-Tovar-Y4Qnpmsyofe-UnsplashPhoto by Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash