So I have 3 kids. I have been worried about the middle child feeling neglected and somehow being permanently affected by that. I am also a middle child of 3. I was not affected by middle child syndrome because I am an only boy. But my kids are all girls, so no chance of gender favoritism to help me out.
To guide me I mostly have my experience watching my parents raising us. I remember growing up; I felt that my sister’s got more attention than I did. My dad seemed so in awe of my elder sister and then of course he dotted on the baby. I just kept getting told how a boy or a man was supposed to behave. My mum on the other hand was neutral. If you messed up you got the treatment. It did not matter if you were the middle child or the baby. She was somehow also able to give everyone equal special treatment.
Then I watched the Carmicheal and Shane. It was a very thought affirming video for me. As an allegory on life, it is brilliant. But I find that it is relevant for my dilemma too. The solution for me is to choose the middle child.
From the video the advice is to try and figure out which of the kids is more likely to make it and back that one. But I believe all my kids will make it. However the middle child is likely to fall through the cracks if I do not make a conscious effort to help her succeed.
So when I get into the house, I walk to the middle child and sit with her. When I get into their room to read a bedtime story I sit on her bed and read it from there. If I have a profile picture that is not the 3 of them, it will be just her.
But before you shoot me for favoritism, let me explain. Think about this as affirmative action rather than favoritism. Its like giving the plant in the shade extra fertilizer. It’s like putting an extra line in your advertisement saying, “Female candidates are encouraged to apply”. My middle child is getting preferential treatment because she has a natural disadvantage from being born in the middle.
I am not an idiot.