Make sure your middle child feels loved.

How to Raise a Middle Child

by Kathryn Hatter

Middle children: they’re usually the first be lost in the fray of family life. If your middle child needs some reassurance that you love him just as much as your oldest and the baby, step up the lovin' as you raise your middle child. Pay close attention to everyday struggles and accomplishments so that your middle child grows up feeling like an integral part of the family.

Tune in to your child to get a feel for how she’s doing and what’s going on inside her little head. It’s common for middle children to blend into the scenery behind the oldest one’s achievements and the youngest one’s cuteness. Ask questions that require more than “yes” or “no” answers, like “What was the activity in preschool today?” or “What did you do during circle time?”

Get excited when your little one has successes. Don’t forget, he lives his life in the shadow of an older sibling and may often feel like he’s not as strong, coordinated, smart or handsome. Celebrate when he learns to tie his shoes or make his bed like a pro. He’s trying hard and needs your encouragement and positive reinforcement.

Look for the special traits, skills, talents and gifts possessed by your middle child. Everyone has interests and gifts that set them apart from everyone else. Make it a point to learn and celebrate your middle child’s unique personality.

Expect your middle child to chart her own course. It’s common for a middle child to strive to do things in a completely different way from an older sibling. Understand that she’s just exerting her individuality and the extraordinary traits that make her different.

Resist the urge to compare your middle child to other siblings. Comparisons never end well when you’re talking about kids; someone always feels inferior and someone else feels superior. This negative situation can set you up for nasty sibling rivalry with even more competition and comparison than there would naturally be.

Take lots of pictures of all your kids: the oldest, middle and youngest. It’s a guarantee that they’re keeping track and noticing who’s got the biggest photo album. While it might not seem like a big deal to you, kids often equate how many photos were taken of them over the years with feeling valued and loved.

Splurge for new things for your middle child from time to time. Sure, it’s handy and economical to hand down that winter jacket and bicycle from the oldest to the middle kid. Everyone deserves something new once in a while, though. If your middle child never receives anything brand-new that he can call his own, he may internalize this into feelings of inadequacy and unimportance.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

  • Steve Baccon/Photodisc/Getty Images