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Old 07-17-2013, 08:50 AM   #1
MickeyMom2Boys
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Middle Child Syndrome??

Can anyone recommend any resources to help with raising a middle child? I have three boys and my middle one (6 years old) is the classic middle child. He needs more attention, is very sensitive, has meltdowns and temper tantrums when things don't go his way. It seems to be a constant battle lately. I don't know if the summer break and change in his routine is to blame or he's going through a phase or what, but I want to get a handle on this and stop butting heads with him. He's also the type of child that gives up as soon as things get difficult. I think that's an attention thing too. He wants to try everything his big brother does (football, lacrosse, wrestling, guitar, cub scouts), but I'm not sure these things are for him. I think he's doing them because he sees the attention his brother gets from these activities. I want him to find his passion - whatever that may be.

Any suggestions?? Personal experience, books, anything! I want to build a bonding relationship with him, not a relationship where I constantly have to battle him!

TIA!
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:58 AM   #2
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I don't think it's middle child syndrome, it's just how this boy is. My youngest has some of those traits too and it's just his personality. he should grow out of it, My DD did. Sometimes they just need more sleep. The more attention you give these meltdowns, the more he will have them.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyMom2Boys View Post
Can anyone recommend any resources to help with raising a middle child? I have three boys and my middle one (6 years old) is the classic middle child. He needs more attention, is very sensitive, has meltdowns and temper tantrums when things don't go his way. It seems to be a constant battle lately. I don't know if the summer break and change in his routine is to blame or he's going through a phase or what, but I want to get a handle on this and stop butting heads with him. He's also the type of child that gives up as soon as things get difficult. I think that's an attention thing too. He wants to try everything his big brother does (football, lacrosse, wrestling, guitar, cub scouts), but I'm not sure these things are for him. I think he's doing them because he sees the attention his brother gets from these activities. I want him to find his passion - whatever that may be.

Any suggestions?? Personal experience, books, anything! I want to build a bonding relationship with him, not a relationship where I constantly have to battle him!

TIA!
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:09 AM   #4
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I have a middle child syndrome child. We have always said he was born a middle child even before he became a middle child.

What helped us was to find something you can do together. Our thing was that he took guitar lessons on friday night for 7 or 8 years. That was always our night. I would take him to guitar and then we would go out to eat and then go to a movie. He is now 22 and we still do movies together. He had a girl comment once that she envied us because we had something we did together. He would call me from college sometimes and we would talk about movies he had seen. He took a film class and he would tell me what movie he was watching and I would watch it and then we would talk about it. He is home for the summer and we have been watching film noir together.

BUT, the bad news. It has taken years to develop a relationship with his brother and sister. I was really worried that he would always hate them. I mean he really couldn't stand either of them. What is strange is they aren't close age wise so there was never any competition and the oldest and youngest get along great. This is the first year he has really gotten along with them enough that they can be in the same room together and have a conversation. They are now 30, 22 and 17 and its taken this long for them to get along, but it has happened. They will never be best friends, but they are at least friendly.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:20 AM   #5
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Wonderful to realize there are support groups and tools, more importantly parents like you whom want to spare some of their child's hurt. Make no mistake, it is hard to deal with as the child. I was a Middle child, a GIRL, with a brother younger, a brother older.

In my time, it was thought to be nonsense. Today, putting middle children together to talk about it, especially when they are young teens, probably an idea. I say this because, my DDIL's family back in Germany, were still going through anxiety with emotions, (anger) of their Middle child, that was now an older teenager.

I think it was hard for her because, she had an older sister (DDIL) and a set of twins, a girl and boy younger than she. Twin boy only male child with 3 females to boot!

I was able to talk to DDIL here in Canada so she could understand.

She in turn could talk to (Middle) sister, siblings and parents at home in Germany.

I was able to reach out to Middle sister, and today after many tears and hugs, they are all very happy.

Best wishes for you, and your family.

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Old 07-17-2013, 09:26 AM   #6
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OP, my middle child had some of those traits, but that was before he was a middle child, so it might just be the way your DS is and/or that he wants to be like his big brother.

Once our third child was born, DH & I decided to make sure the older kids got special one on one time with each parent. Every once in a while DH & DD do something together, or DS & I do something together. DH & DS do a lot of stuff together because of sports and Boy Scouts, so they don't need as much extra together time, and the same thing goes for DD & me.

The kids really enjoy doing something fun and not having to share mom or dad with their siblings. DH & I really enjoy it too. Life is pretty busy with three kids, so it's nice to have some time to chat and just spend time together. We don't really do it too much with our youngest though, being the "baby" of the family, he gets lots of attention from everyone and doesn't seem to need any extra.

DD was 7 and DS was 5 when my youngest was born. DD and DS have always been super close, and when youngest DS came along, it was actually a good thing for our older DS. He loves that his little brother looks up to him and wants to do the things he does.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:43 AM   #7
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My oldest child has middle child syndrome. He's just never been easy. I do parent him differently than the other three. You have to treat each kid as individuals, especially this type of kid.

I've learned standard discipline techniques don't work with him and never really have ( he'll be 18 soon). Forget timeouts, 1,2,3 Magic and punishment in general. Natural consequences have been the most effective thing for him and even that I cant really say '"worked".

Don't feel pressure to employ parenting techniques that everyone you know is using, but doesn't seem to work with your child.

Good luck.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:03 AM   #8
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I also have 3 boys 3 years apart from each other. My middle son has/had middle child syndrome. I will admit that he was my most challenging child. What we did (and I'm not saying this works for all, it just worked for us) was gave him just a few minutes a day of one on one time. For example, at bed time I would read just him a story or let just him help with baking the cookies/dinner, just talking for a few minutes. Life was not perfect and I will fully admit that he got jealous a lot of his younger brother and tried to keep up with the older but they are now 22, 19 and 16 and the middle son is the most ambitious, focused and self disciplined of all. Hang in there. It will get better.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PUZZLDY5 View Post
I also have 3 boys 3 years apart from each other. My middle son has/had middle child syndrome. I will admit that he was my most challenging child. What we did (and I'm not saying this works for all, it just worked for us) was gave him just a few minutes a day of one on one time. For example, at bed time I would read just him a story or let just him help with baking the cookies/dinner, just talking for a few minutes. Life was not perfect and I will fully admit that he got jealous a lot of his younger brother and tried to keep up with the older but they are now 22, 19 and 16 and the middle son is the most ambitious, focused and self disciplined of all. Hang in there. It will get better.
KUDOS to your whole family! I truly believe it takes a whole family, to raise a Middle child!
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:16 AM   #10
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As a mother of 3 (dd, dd, ds), my middle child is different.
She and ds were actually very easy to raise, although she loves to claim the middle child syndrome (oldest dd is my toughie). My middle child is actually quite independent and self-sufficient and ambitious, all supposedly because she is the "forgotten" child so she's had to fend for herself pretty much all her life. Her words, not mine!
I do believe there is such a thing as middle child syndrome, but the outcome will probably be different due to the specifics in a family.
(For example: mine are REALLY close in age, dd#1 always felt she had to compete with dd#2, the "baby" is the only boy, etc)
But IMO all children are individuals and should be disciplined and treated as such, although basic ground rules should apply. One on one time is important too.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:19 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the comments! It helps to know I'm not alone here! The biggest trend I see in these comments is to make sure we have some one on one time. This is something I have wanted to do with my two oldest for a while now. Our sports schedules and my husbands work schedule (he gets home around the kids bedtime) has made it difficult but I do think it may help. I also think he had the middle child syndrome before he was the middle child! This is his personality. I need to figure out how to work with that and build and make sure it's not a constant battle and pushes him away.

We do have a no tolerance policy for the meltdowns. I don't give in to them and try to cut them off before they start. Luckily, they only get bad when he's over tired. I remember one year in Disney, standing in line for Buzz lightyear. We were all hot and tired and I was 6 months pregnant. He lost it because I wouldn't hold him in line. He cried for about 30 minutes straight! I finally had to put him in the stroller, strap him in and turn him away from us so he couldn't see us. I sat with him facing away from me while DH and my oldest DS went off to do a couple of things. He finally calmed down when the attention stopped!

Thanks for the suggestions and just for letting me vent! I really hope he finds his "thing". Preferably something that he can do on his own that he truly loves. Something that is truly "his". He starts football next week. He'll either love it or hate it, but right now insists that he wants to play it. I guess we'll just keep trying things until he finds his place.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:33 AM   #12
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OP/. His place is a treasured member in your family.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:43 AM   #13
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OP/. His place is a treasured member in your family.
Yes, it is and I know that, but I need him to see that too! I love him dearly and he has some amazing traits that are his own. His is the craziest, funniest one of the bunch! He's tons of fun to be around when he isn't melting down. It just seems like whatever I do to make him see that isn't enough for him. I think he if had his own activity that he truly enjoyed and was passionate about it would help him find his way. But I feel like he's stuck trying to do what his big brother does instead of doing what he wants to do. He has said he wants to play the drums. He's taking electric guitar lessons now - again because his brother started taking them so he wanted to do it also. I'm thinking we need to switch him to drums and let him be able to do something his brother doesn't do.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:47 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by MickeyMom2Boys

Yes, it is and I know that, but I need him to see that too! I love him dearly and he has some amazing traits that are his own. His is the craziest, funniest one of the bunch! He's tons of fun to be around when he isn't melting down. It just seems like whatever I do to make him see that isn't enough for him. I think he if had his own activity that he truly enjoyed and was passionate about it would help him find his way. But I feel like he's stuck trying to do what his big brother does instead of doing what he wants to do. He has said he wants to play the drums. He's taking electric guitar lessons now - again because his brother started taking them so he wanted to do it also. I'm thinking we need to switch him to drums and let him be able to do something his brother doesn't do.
What about a martial art or individual type sport? I have heard so many good things about taikwondo.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:50 AM   #15
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I can completely relate to what you are going through. My only son is my middle child and he has the same issues. He is twice as hard to parent as my girls and some days I am at my wits end trying to figure out what to do to make him feel better about himself. He has terrible mood swings and no self confidence, despite being extremely bright and talented. In the past he has tried several different sports, only to quit because he decides he isn't good at it and doesn't want to try any more. He's also had art and music lessons, but he constantly criticizes his work. (Right now the only things that really interest him are playing Minecraft and reading).

Wish I had the answers on what parents can do to help their middles become better adjusted!
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