Like most 15-year-old girls, I went through the phase of reading every single teenage romance book known to man. Sarah Dessen was among my favorite authors because her characters were so relatable. In particular, a quote from her book Just Listen changed my outlook on what it’s like to be a middle child:
“I am the middle sister. The one in between. Not oldest, not youngest, not boldest, not nicest. I am the shade of gray, the glass half empty or full, depending on your view. In my life, there has been little that I have done first or better than the one preceding or following me. Of all of us, though, I am the only one who has been broken.”
Dessen’s quote resonated with me personally. I always felt like I lived in my older sister, the artist’s shadow or people made comments on how my younger sister is pretty than me (actually, I still get that one). Like Dessen said, the glass depends on the view, so I got a new glass because research shows that there are definitely some perks to being a middle child.
1. You’re the good kid. Researchers at Texas Christian University and the University of Minnesota found that middle children don’t act out and are the well-adjusted children. So when your siblings get in trouble, you get to sit back while your parents yell and think “Good thing that’s never me!”
2. You’re successful. In The Secret Power of Middle Children, Katrin Schumann says middle children come out on top. As a matter of fact, 52% of U.S. Presidents have been middle children and so are Demi Lovato, Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway; need I say more? Schumann says that since middle children are more creative and independent, they’re the perfect blend for success.
3. You’re the perfect partner. Middle children end up in happier relationships and are more faithful partners according to a study on birth order and romantic preferences in 2009. You can always rely on a middle child to be loyal.
Even though Australian researcher Julie Fitness in The Social Outcast: Ostracism, Social Exclusion, Rejection and Bullying shows that the middle children are rarely the favorite child (It’s okay, I forgive you mom and dad), being a middle child has its benefits. My birthday may only be one day away from national middle child’s day on August 12th, but I’m still thankful for my life-long experience in being a middle child. Another quote from Dessen’s book is even more meaningful to me now:
“I am still the center sister. But I see it differently now. There has to be a middle. Without it, nothing can ever truly be whole. Because it is not just the space between, but also what holds everything together.”