It’s official! Middle kids are more SUCCESSFUL than their siblings

Science backs it up

Content Editor / May 01 2019

While middle children are often believed to get the short end of the stick when it comes to family dynamics, researchers say that they actually have a strong advantage over their siblings.

Caught between older and younger siblings, middle children are believed to be neglected, overlooked, misunderstood and underestimated.

There are even TV shows dedicated to the phenomenon of the middle kid – such as Malcom In the Middle and The Middle. The Brady Bunch and 8 Simple Rules also portrayed middle kids as missing out in some way.

However, educational consultant and author of The Secret Power Of Middle Children, Katrin Schumann, says the stereotype does not reflect the reality.

Getty Images

Getty Images

“Middle children are more likely than their siblings to be successful and enjoy strong social lives and flourishing careers,” she told the Daily Mail.

“The apparent disadvantages they endure in childhood turn out to be beneficial, in many cases giving them the attributes of empathy, independence, articulacy and creativity.

“Many of our biggest celebrities, such as the film star Julia Roberts, are ‘middles’.

“One of the most successful entrepreneurs of modern times, the Microsoft genius Bill Gates, is also a middle. His remarkable ability to think outside the box and take moderate risks are attributes often found in middle-borns.”

One study published in the The Journal of Genetic Psychology found middle children do better in group activities than eldest and youngest kids do, and a review of birth order research projects concluded middle kids have high social scores and the least issues with acting out.

Schumann also goes on to point out that many US Presidents were middles, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

Researchers also found that middle children have a high degree of patience, perhaps because they spend so much of their childhood waiting their turn.

“They learn the art of delayed gratification, one of the true measures of civilised behaviour,” she explains.

“Interacting with those older and younger than them, they also learn the art of compromise.

“Less egocentric than the pioneering eldest or the coddled youngest, middles generally have a high degree of empathy, loyalty and the ability to see other people’s point of view.”

So if you are a middle child, or you have a middle child, don’t fret. It seems there’s plenty of benefits to being in this position.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.