#1 More likely to take risks and be creative.
A survey of 1,000 parents and 1,000 middle children by TheBabyWebsite.com found that 1/3 of parents admitted that their second child tends to get left out. Contrary to what you may think, that’s not always a bad thing. It means middle children are more free to be creative and try new things. Like Malcolm in the Middle, who ends up being a Harvard-educated child prodigy.
#2 Proven entrepeneurs.
Many of the qualities that middle children tend to learn in childhood — such as cooperativeness, relationship-building skills and independence — are highly valued leadership qualities. It might not be a coincidence that 52% of U.S. presidents have been middle children. Catherine Salmon, a professor of psychology at the University of Redlands and coauthor of the book The Secret Power of Middle Children, said while firstborns tend to lead through dominance, middles lead through persuasion as a result of their negotiating and peacemaking skills. “In addition, middles’ ability to think outside the box, the result of greater openness to experience (which also facilitates exploring different niches in the family), lends itself to entrepreneurial approaches.”
#3 Skillful negotiators
Middle children have to constantly compete for attention and resource, Salmon said, “The negotiator role is one they typically have to take up to get what they need in competition with the needs and desires of favored firsts and pampered lasts.” It also makes great friends and social supports. A 1976 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that later-born children had better social skills and were more popular than firstborns.
#4 Great relationship partners.
In a survey Salmon conducted for her book, she said she found 80% of the middle children had never cheated on their significant others, while 65% of firstborns and 53% of lastborns had. A 2010 review of birth order literature also found being a middle child had a strong correlation with the ability to be faithful in monogamous relationships.
#5 Are firstborns smarter?
Conventional wisdom and past research had concluded that firstborns were the smartest siblings, because their parents gave them more undivided attention and encouraged them to focus on their studies. But a study by the University of Illinois published earlier this year found that firstborns’ IQs are only one point higher, on average, than their younger siblings — no too much to notice, I’d say.
#6 Less pressure.
Firstborn children constantly feel the need to live up to their parents’ expectations, which leads to them being at a higher risk of having depression than second- or third-born children, according to one study. Middle children usually don’t feel that pressure, so they’re less likely to be too hard on themselves when they encounter failure or disappointment in adulthood.
#7 Mentors and mentees.
In the end, middle children experience the best of both worlds: They learn from the wisdom of elders, while still acting as leaders to their younger siblings.Middle children have the fluidity to act as both mentors to their younger siblings and mentees for their older ones.