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National Middle Child Day

National Middle Child Day is dedicated to all middle children who felt left out while growing up, and to those middle children whose activities always seemed to be limited because they were told they were either too young or too old. The holiday was started in 1986 by Elizabeth Walker and originally was known as Middle Children's Day. The day was initially celebrated on the second Saturday in August but has since shifted to be held on August 12.

The day rests on the assumption of the validity of the middle child syndrome, which is the belief that middle children feel neglected and excluded compared to their siblings. Middle child syndrome posits that the birth of a first child is an inherently special occasion, which draws parents close to this child. Furthermore, the first child has all their parents attention to themselves until the next child comes along. The youngest child is special for being the baby of the family and may keep that title throughout their life. They also may get all the attention after their siblings leave the house. In essence, the middle child doesn't have a special role and never has their parents' attention solely focused on them.

There are a multitude of stereotypes that accompany the middle child syndrome, such as the belief that middle children are negative, resentful, and don't have any drive. However, it has been shown that being a middle child doesn't mean that one will do worse off in life. Birth order matters a bit, but not as much as some think. Other factors such as genes, environment, and peer group may be more important.

Still, being a middle child may have some effect on a child, and they sometimes have to work to overcome notions people have about them. It is largely accepted that birth order affects personality a bit. There are what are known as the Big Five personality traits—extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness to experience—and they may all be affected. The first and last children are typically more extroverted and outgoing, while middle children tend to be more introverted and quieter. They may have lower self-esteem, which can be seen as being positive, however, because it means they also don't have large egos. It is also accepted that birth order can affect IQ and mental health. The firstborn tends to have a higher IQ, but this is not always the case.

Middle children are often good team players and team leaders. They may be more neglected when growing up, but this may benefit them eventually. It helps them become more independent, resourceful, innovative, and empathetic. They become good negotiators, and can compromise, argue successfully, and practice patience well. They generally don't like conflict, and they are often cooperative, possibly because they were not used to getting their way when they were growing up. Being that they were in the middle, they may have had to negotiate to get what they wanted. Their older sibling may have been bigger and been able to take what they wanted, while their younger sibling may have been able to whine to get their way. Thus, they may have learned how to negotiate.

Middle children are seen as being driven, although not as driven as first-born children. They also are associated with being devoted to and motivated by principles and social causes like justice and fairness, which stems from them being an underdog while growing up. Studies have also shown them to be more creative and artistic than their siblings, but also the most envious of all children, and the least talkative. Some studies do seem to be contradictory, as one says middle children are less bold, while another says they are more likely to take risks and more open to new experiences—so there is no final word on what it means to be a middle child. The bottom line seems to be that middle children may have some obstacles to overcome, but those obstacles allow them to learn skills, and they are just as likely to be successful as the other children in a family. National Middle Child Day is dedicated to all middle children who overcome obstacles to lead successful lives.

How to Observe National Middle Child Day

Celebrate middle children today! If you have a middle child, do something extra special for them today, and let them know how important they are to you. You could do the same for the middle children of others as well. If you are a middle child, take pride in your position in life and celebrate yourself!

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